Thanks to a new policy, women dining at The Iberian Rooster restaurant in Florida can order an "angel shot" at the bar to call for help if they are feeling uncomfortable on a date. The order is meant to give women an out if the person they're with is making them uncomfortable or showing signs they may not be who they said they were.
A guide posted inside the women's restroom instructs patrons on how to covertly tell the bartenders what is needed.
"Are you on a date that isn't going well?" the sign reads. "Is your Tinder or Plenty of Fish date not who they said they were on their profile? Do you feel unsafe, or even just a bit weird?"
Ordering an angel shot "neat" will get you an escort to your car. "With ice" will get you an Uber, and "with lemon" will bring the police to the restaurant. The Iberian Rooster's campaign is a first, but the idea is not entirely novel; in Washington, D.C., a new program called Safe Bars trains bar and restaurant staff to defuse and prevent situations involving sexual assault or harassment.
"The goal for this place was to be a safe place where people can go on a romantic date," owner Russell Andrade told The Tampa Bay Times. "We don't want someone else to ruin a good time."
Andrade actually got the idea from The Lincolnshire Rape Crisis, which posted similar posters in English restaurants and bars that explained how "asking for Angela" could help get you out of a similar situation.
Sejal Singh, who works with Know Your IX, a student-led activist group addressing sexual violence, told Yahoo! Beauty that the Iberian Rooster's secret code could have a big impact.
"Research suggests that a perpetrator's degree of intoxication has almost nothing to do with their level of sexual aggression — but there's a strong correlation between a perpetrator's aggression and a victim's level of intoxication," Singh said. "That means bars and restaurants that are serving those drinks have a special responsibility to take action against perpetrators who are intentionally targeting drunk women, using alcohol as a tool of coercion."
Jessica Raven, who is the executive director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and helped train staff for Safe Bars, shared that sentiment in an email to A Plus.
"If bar and restaurant owners implement policies against harassment and invest in training for their staff, the hospitality industry can make an enormous impact in preventing sexual violence," Raven said. "The research shows that the environment around an aggressor can change their behavior, so if staff can foster a safe environment through policies, training, and safety messages in their bars, they'll be able to make it less likely for incidents to occur in the first place."
News of the "angel shots" is encouraging to Raven, but she emphasizes there is still work to be done. Bars and restaurants are just two of the most common places for harassment; public transit, shopping malls and grocery stores are just as important spaces to address.
"People who are part of marginalized groups are particularly vulnerable to harassment," Raven said. "In the last two months, we've seen a huge spike in incidents of anti-black, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant aggression against women, queer, and trans folks who often live at the intersections of multiple oppressed identities. It's important for every space to be a safe space for our most vulnerable community members."
The Iberian Rooster did not immediately respond to A Plus' request for comment.
Cover photo: Shutterstock / urbazon.