Portraits of Gobind Singh, Sikh Guru, line the walls of West Hollywood’s The Pikey Bar and Cafe. The portraits are the subject of controversy.
A restaurateur of a West Hollywood company – with holdings that include LA bar and restaurants Roger Room, Jones Hollywood, and Bar Lubitsch – is facing criticism from a Sikh group because of its pictures of a Sikh guru in one of the company’s bars.
The Sikh Guru Gobind Singh portraits can be found on the Pikey Café and Bar’s walls, which is located along W. Sunset Blvd. Sean MacPherson, a New York hotel owner, founded and opened the café in 2012 under his Committed Inc. company, which owns Santa Monica and Los Angeles’ Swingers Diner, and Los Angeles’ El Carmen. MacPherson also owns the Bowery and Jane hotels in New York, and recently renovated The Marlton Hotel.
Karam Grewal said the Sikh religion is anti-drinking, and to have pictures of the guru hanging in a bar where people drink is extremely disrespectful. He said the pictures of the Guru Gobind Singh are found in only two places: private houses or gurdwaras, which is a Sikh’s place of worship but accepts all people of any religion.
Born in 1666, Guru Singh is number 10 in the religions 10 religious leaders. Guru Granth Sahib is the eleventh and is deemed the living everlasting guru.
The restaurant’s decoration is similar to an old-fashioned English pub and has a Union Jack on its wall.
Manmeet Singh, the legal director for United Sikhs, said a boycott was possible of all MacPherson’s businesses if the pictures were not removed in a quick manner. He said the Sikh religion explicitly states that intoxicants are forbidden. And, to have such pictures of the gurus in an area that endorses alcohol is a show of pure disregard.
The American-based United Sikhs organized a petition that was signed by thousands.
Pikey’s manager Noam Rubin said the company had ordered replacement paintings and was waiting for them to arrive before removing the controversial portraits.
The Pikey also authored their first tweet in over 9 months, on Sept 24, in response to whether the portraits would be taken down.
@gurneetsjandir Yes they are coming down. Sorry for any disrespect. There was none meant by it as we bought them as Indian art.
— The PIkey LA (@ThePikeyLA) September 24, 2013
Abraham Beltran, a representative for The Pikey, says the portraits were removed on October 1.