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St. Petersburg restaurant wants to help women escape bad dates

Bartender Brandon Muske makes a Winter Daisy cocktail at the Iberian Rooster in St. Petersburg. The restaurant has a sign in the women's restroom giving code words for women to seek help if they are having a bad experience on a blind date. EVE EDELHEIT | Times
Published Dec. 29, 2016

"Are you on a date that isn't going well?"

That's the bold headline on a discreet sign in the women's restroom at the Iberian Rooster restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg.

"Is your Tinder or Plenty of Fish date not who they said they were on their profile?" The sign continues. "Do you feel unsafe, or even just a tad bit weird?"

Then order an angel shot, the sign says.

We've all been on a bad date before. But in the age of Tinder and Bumble dating apps, a new restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg is taking it upon themselves to make sure guests feel safe when meeting new people. Iberian Rooster, a Portuguese fusion eatery that opened on Central Avenue in November, placed the framed sign in the women's restroom the day it opened.

"The goal for this place was to be a safe place where people can go on a romantic date," said owner Russell Andrade. "We don't want someone else to ruin a good a time."

If a guest feels unsafe and needs help, the sign encourages them to order an angel shot at the bar or through their server at their table. That code will alert staff that someone is in need, Andrade said. The Iberian Rooster staff take this policy seriously, he added.

If a guest orders an angel shot neat, a bartender will escort them to their car. If they order it with ice, the bartender will call an Uber or a Taxi. Order it with lime and the restaurant staff will call the police.

Andrade and his staff got the idea after a photo of a similar sign taken at a bar in England went viral on social media earlier this year. The Lincolnshire Rape Crisis, a support service for women and girls in East England, created a poster campaign that was plastered in the stalls of restaurant and bar bathrooms. The posters urge women to approach bartenders and wait staff if they feel uncomfortable on a date. They also use a code word: Women can be discreet by "asking for Angela."

i saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire !!!! pic.twitter.com/oO45I7gaJL

Another sign was spotted at the Brickyard in Hitchin, England, and shared thousands of times.

Back in St. Petersburg, Andrade said, no customers have had to order an angel shot yet. He hopes they never have to. He didn't know of any other restaurants or bars in the area that had posted similar signs.

"I'm surprised to hear people are just talking about this," Andrade said. "We didn't put the sign up for any attention. That sort of goes against the point."

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

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