The bartender swung into action after someone reported spotting a person spiking a woman's drink in the crowd.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on April 13, 2021.
There's nothing quite like a bar that makes its patrons feel safe. While many men may not be able to relate to the feeling, there are way too many gender and sexual minorities who have felt vulnerable, scared, been attacked or sexually assaulted. Even something as normal as having a drink can turn into a nightmare if someone is going around spiking drinks. It was extremely heartwarming to hear about a bar that went to great lengths to protect gender and sexual minorities. Reddit user xXSlimi_Gacha009 asked on the platform: “Bartenders of Reddit, what was the weirdest/craziest thing you have overheard while making someone’s drink?” Reddit user Pinkyfitts responded with a story that surprised many.
"Was sitting at a bar with a band. It was noisy and crowded. Some girl comes up next to where I was sitting and tells the bartender 'excuse me, but I just saw that guy ( customer) right there put something in that girl’s drink,'" they wrote. Pinkyfitts was unaware if there was a protocol at the bar to handle such a situation but was pleasantly surprised about what happened next. "I didn’t see the guy she pointed to. The bartender turns around and said something, I suspect a code word to somebody and BAM. Immediately all the lights go on, the manager steps on stage, stops the band and makes the following announcement: 'Attention: We have a report that someone in this room possibly drugged a young lady's drink. We request that all women here immediately put down your drink and don’t take another sip.'
The manager also announced that he would replace the drinks of every woman for free. 'If you are that young lady, we will notify you when you come to the bar. If anyone is feeling sick or weak please let us know,' the announcement continued. Wow. Lights stayed on. The band remained off. For a long time, maybe an hour. Cheers from the crowd and nobody complained. Don’t know what the guy did because I didn’t know which guy it was," wrote Pinkyfitts, before adding, "That place rocks."
Pinkyfitts spoke to Boredpanda about the experience. They said it was the first time they had heard someone report a drink being spiked. The incident allegedly took place in 2007 or 2008. They said it was a very old bar named Tipitina’s in New Orleans. It's a music venue/bar. "It’s not fancy, but has great music and is usually crowded,” they said. “The request to discard drinks with free replacements applied to women only,” added Pikyfitts. “There was no discussion of that but it seemed assumed that they were the ones at risk. I don’t remember any complaints, but I was just a guy in the bar, not working there.” There were also many reported incidents of drug-facilitated attacks at the time. “Roofies or date rape drugs seemed to be a topic in the news at the time," said Pikyfitts.
Bar veteran Kate Gerwin’s 2016 initiative at Bismarck, North Dakota, bar Lüft had introduced a way to help people who felt vulnerable. They installed a “Friends”-themed sign in the bathroom instructing patrons to ask for Rachel at the bar if they were feeling uncomfortable or found themselves in danger. The idea was inspired by Bartenders Against Sexual Assault, a community organization formed to help protect the industry and its patrons from date rape and other related crimes through resources and education, according to Liquor.com.
A person who worked at a bar in portland said they had similar codes as well.
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)