Creating safe spaces for women at bars, breweries, wineries, clubs, restaurants and music venues.
When my friends ask me to try a new bar and I’m usually like I’d rather go to one of my standard watering holes this is why. Because I want to feel safe. And I never realized til now why I gravitated to a handful of bars or breweries where I knew the bartenders and landscape enough to where I felt safe. Unconsciously I decided this was the best way to stay safe and do what I enjoy especially solo. Being a woman who has worked in music and alcohol, and just being a woman in general, you constantly have your guard up. You have to. You have to be aware of your surroundings constantly. Hold your keys between your two fingers in the case someone comes at you while walking to your car. Keep your nails long in the case you have to dig them into some dudes arm to get his DNA if he tries to assault you. And yes we triple check the door is locked before we go to sleep at night. Women are always on guard because society has let them down. And in light of all the stories that have surfaced from women in the beer industry, it shows you that it’s everywhere – in the workplace, at your local bar, walking down the street, getting gas or going to the grocery store. It’s fucking everywhere.
This week as things have opened up fully in Los Angeles, I went to a bar to meet my friend for his birthday and there were a few of us thankfully. We went to a bar that had been closed for a year and had staff that I hadn’t seen before but also I never really liked the bar anyway…never got a great vibe. It was filled to capacity with people of course, something you know I haven’t been around in like 15 months so already it was overwhelming. Then you add the layer of it being about 80 percent male and all the bartenders are also male. I looked around the room wondering if there were any safety measures for women dealing with harassment. I went to the women’s restroom and saw no signage of like a “text this number for help” or order this [drink] and we’ll get you help immediately. I almost put my phone number on the bathroom stalls in case anyone did need help at least for that night. I then thought about the “Ask for Angela” initiative started in the UK and thought I’d see if it had caught on here in LA yet. It definitely has not. I was reminded too late about the “Angel Shot” as I was drinking beer so my head was just thinking I was at a beer bar for a second. I stood around for another 20 minutes wondering how I could approach the manager. Given this establishment has a few locations nationally I would expect a bit more of a process in place for things like this, but I guess not. I decided to discuss with other professionals in the industry the best way to go about this and how we can spread more awareness for creating safety procedures for anyone being harassed.
Check your local bar and brewery. What are they doing to keep women safe? Ask them, discuss it with them and let’s make much needed changes! Also spread the word regarding the #AskForAngela initiative and let’s look out for one another.
I am working on resources and examples to share with industry professionals. If you’d like to learn more or share what your bar or brewery is doing, please reach out firstname.lastname@example.org
One thought on “Is Angela Working Tonight?”
Hey from the UK, and I completely agree with you. If bar staff are given the training along with the ‘Ask for Angela’ posters it 100% comes across in the way they manage the environment.
And this mostly, unfortunately, comes down to male allies – speaking as a former bartender you can do a lot to defuse tension and support someone who is being harassed, but it’s much harder to do this when female and at risk of them switching to you. Friends of mine used to call local friends when they got off shift to avoid creeps following them out of the pub.