When Page Six recently reported that Real Housewives of New York City star and notorious New York party girl Sonja Morgan was ejected from a Philadelphia bar in the cities Gayborhood section, many assumed this was another night out with one of our favorite Housewives, who, as she famously said during a night at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, makes sure “we always have a great time”!
The story that Page Six reported was that Morgan “was thrown out of a Philly piano bar in the city’s gay area known as the “Gayborhood.” The incident occurred after singing “Hello, Dolly!” and Morgan was seen crying and moaning, “They s - - t on me!” Morgan did confirm to Page Six that she’d been kicked out, explaining, “I was with friends who were singing at the piano, like we do at Townhouse, and the piano player said, ‘Remove her!’
There is definitely more to the story, and to get it, I reached out to Michael Duffy, General Manger of Philadelphia’s restaurant Valanni, who was also accompanying Morgan through the Gayborhood that evening. (Video of her singing at Tavern On Camac with Duffy’s partner Billy Cavallo is below).
Duffy tells the story exclusively to Instinct: I’ve been in talks with Sonja about an event. The Tuesday (before the incident) she called me and said “Duffy I’m in Philly”! She was doing a speaking engagement at Wharton, her daughter goes to Penn and #RHONY is currently filming. Luann and Dorinda were with her earlier, and they filmed in Philly, so we chatted for a while.
I later texted her to meet up for a drink so myself and Billy Cavallo went to the Four Seasons Sky Lounge and she met us there. We had a great time, the drinks flowed and I said “let’s go into the Gayborhood” & I recommended Tavern On Camac. I thought Sonja would love it based off of what I’ve seen of her, her townhouse and her burlesque skit, it seemed right up her alley. We hop in an Uber & go to Tavern.
There was a vey small group of people there. Billy Cavallo sang a song and Sonja joined him and danced as he sang. Then Sonja wanted to do a song and then Max the Piano player stopped the music, took the mic from her and over the speakers said “security get her out” She was not at all being rude or belligerent. There were several people there thrilled to see her. She was about the give them a free show, one that people pay good money for. Any other piano bar would have been extremely accommodating and it would have turned into a party as someone else told me. A patron sitting at the piano bar said “we don’t want to hear you, stop being a bitch”!
We thought it was all a joke at first, but they were dead serious and security escorted us out. Sonja left in tears; I was terribly embarrassed, as this is basically a business meeting I’m having, she wanted me to show her around the Gayborhood and bring her to “her people”. I was promoting Tavern and highly recommending it. I then called the GM of Woodys, who was more than accommodating and basically rolled out the red carpet for us.
The level of disrespect was insane. I said to the patron “don’t ever speak to a woman like that”. I get that the piano player may not have know who she was, but there were enough people there letting him know she was a pretty big deal. The manager Chris on duty, who was very excited when we came in, had stepped out as all this was going on. I had to get the bartender to go find him, the bartender Chuck was appalled at what was happening. When we were outside, the manager Chris told me that the piano guy has been there for thirty years and “can pretty much do what he wants”.
I don’t blame The Tavern Group. the owner is great guy and it’s one of the few places I enjoy going to. It was just handled very poorly and as a community we can do better!
Duffy concluded by saying: As for Sonja, she was a class act. She is so open, nice, and respectful and goes out of her way to help people out and promote people and their businesses. She is actually very smart, has a mind for business and knows how to market herself. She is exactly how you see on the show; she is the real deal!
The Real Housewives of New York City is currently filming and is poised to air on Bravo in 2020. It remains to be seen what part of the Philadelphia trip will be included in the upcoming season.
Morgan will be making a return to The City of Brotherly Love very soon. She will be joined by fellow RHONY co-star Dorinda Medley and Real Housewives of New Jersey star Margaret Josephs for Sleigh-A Miracle On Spruce Street! A Toys For Tots Takeover on Thursday December 12th.
Art/Video Courtesy of Michael Duffy