Bartender punches out suspect attempting to rob DC bar

- A masked man attempted to rob a busy Logan Circle bar, but thanks to a bartender, it didn’t happen.

The Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant on 14th Street was packed when the suspect wearing a ski mask and a tank top walked in, pulled out a knife and demanded money.

It all happened early Thursday morning before 1 a.m.

The suspect walked up to the cash register behind the bar and said, "Where's my money?" That is when the bartender, Michael Cohen, sprang into action and punched the suspect knocking him out cold.

Police have identified the suspect as 34-year-old Akintola Olowofoyeku and he has been charged with robbery.

The wine bar has been at this location for less than two years. Cohen has been here since the start, but had never experienced anything like this.

“I was coming from the kitchen checking on something and just when I got to the front door, I saw a man in a ski mask rush in reaching in his waistband for something heading towards the bar,” Cohen said. “When he got to the bar, he yelled out something that I couldn’t hear and was reaching for what I thought was a weapon. So I knocked him out. I hit him in the jaw. When he collapsed, I got on top of him, held him in a chokehold and subdued him until the police arrived.”

“In the beginning, it was shock,” said Alex Curley, area director of Barcelona Wine Bar. “Once people realized what was going on, they backed away. Then afterwards, there was kind of this sense of jubilation … They were happy that nobody got hurt. They were happy that the staff responded the way that they did. Overall, there was a sense of relief too that the police responded promptly.”

The bar said it is reviewing its security measures.

Cohen said the outpouring of support is overwhelming. He also said he is trained in martial arts and it finally came in handy.

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