The Skinny

Delirium Trouble

Newly elected TUSD board member gets kicked out of downtown bar

Following a recent visit to downtown's Highwire Lounge, newly elected Tucson Unified School District board member Rachael Sedgwick slammed the downtown craft cocktail bar on her Facebook page.

"I'm leaving Highwire... I won't pay $12 for a 6 oz beer!" she wrote. on Dec. 22. "This place...hmmm...?!? Ew..."

What Sedgwick didn't mention was that she was leaving because she'd been 86'ed from the bar after refusing to pay for a pricey drink.

Sedgwick was out drinking with some friends and decided to order a glass of Delirium Noel, an exclusive Christmas brew imported from Belgium. How exclusive is it? Highwire bar manager John Hardin tells The Skinny that just one keg ended up in Arizona this year and Highwire was the only bar that had it. Most kegs cost him between $60 and $80; Delirium Noel cost $265.

Because of the high price, Hardin charges a premium: In this case, $12 for a snifter glass rather than a full pint.

When Sedgwick saw the size of the pour, she decided it wasn't worth $12.

Sedgwick said the bartender "kind of had an attitude and said, 'That's a $12 beer,' and I said, 'That's fine,' and it turned out it was only a six-ounce pour, so I said, 'No I don't want that,' and she said, 'You have to pay for it,' and I said, 'I'm not going to drink it but I'll order this other beer instead.'"

The bartender balked at pouring her a different beer and told her she had to leave the bar if she wouldn't pay up.

"I loudly said, I'm not going to pay for it," Sedgwick recalled. "At that point, I was feeling like it was very unclear what I had ordered. The bartender didn't clarify. And she said I had to leave. And I think I said, 'We're leaving,' but nobody else wanted to leave, so I said, 'We're not leaving, but I'm not paying for that, I'm not going to drink it.'"

Sedgwick asked to speak with the manager, so Hardin came over to talk with her. He recalled that Sedgwick "came up to me and said, 'I hear you're the one who said I have to leave, I'm not going to pay $12 for that beer,' and then I told her, 'If you're not going to pay for the beer, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. It's policy and you didn't pay for the beer.' She got very irate and started screaming, 'I just got elected to the school board. Do you know who I am?' At that point, I told her, 'You need to leave.'"

Sedgwick said she mentioned her elected post because she wanted the Highwire manager to be aware that she had a significant Facebook following who would hear about the way she was treated in the bar.

"He said, 'I don't care.' And I said, "Well, I just got elected so I have a number of followers,'" she said.

Sedgwick's status did not impress Hardin, who continued to tell her to leave and had to start calling the police before she finally agreed to go.

Sedgwick said she has since reached out to Highwire's owner and patched things up.

"I got in touch with the bar owner and we both agreed it's not really a big deal and next time I'm there, I should give him a call and we'll have a drink, because I don't imagine he wants the bar's reputation to get besmirched in any way and I'm perfectly happy to let it go," she said.

Chew on This

Lend a helping hand for Southern Arizona's hungry

The Catalina United Methodist Church, Temple Emanu-El and the Muslim Community Center of Tucson have teamed up to fill a whole bunch of food boxes for hungry folks.

Last year, the three congregations worked together to package 40,000 meals, and this year's goal is 50,000 meals to be distributed across the region.

If you'd like to help out, you can volunteer to put together 25,000 boxes of rice and beans and 25,000 boxes of pasta/tomato/basil meals, which will be distributed to the Salvation Army Hospitality House, Casa Maria, International Rescue Committee, Tucson Metropolitan Ministries, Primavera Women and Children Shelter, Santa Clara UMC, Menlo Park UMC, El Mesias UMC, Kino Border Initiative, Southside Presbyterian Church and Campus Pantry.

The packathon is from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, at the Muslim Community Center, 5100 N. Kevy Place.

For details on how to volunteer, call Catalina United Methodist Church at 327-4296.

Celebrate Local Women!

Why not nominate someone you know for a Women of Influence award?

Every year, the Weekly's sister paper, Inside Tucson Business, celebrates the dynamic women who make our community a better place with its Women of Influence awards.

There's still time to nominate someone you know for in one of the 18 categories, which include administrative champion, advertising/public relations champion, financial/banking champion, licensed professional champion and minority business owner.

Send in your nomination before 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 by visiting

Winners will be announced at a grand banquet at Casino del Sol on March 1, 2017, and recognized in a future edition of Inside Tucson Business.

Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs at 5 p.m. Sundays on community radio KXCI, 91.3 FM. You can also hear the show at

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