What's your go-to excuse to quickly exit a date that's going downhill fast?
We've all got one; better yet – we've all been there.
To help guests exit an uncomfortable, unhealthy, or unsafe situation they've unwillingly found themselves a part of on a night out, restaurants and bars have a simple solution: order an Angel Shot.
What Is an Angel Shot?
What originally began as the viral "Ask for Angela" initiative in Lincolnshire, U.K – a sexual-assault prevention campaign urging female bar patrons who feel unsafe on a date or with a fellow guest to "ask for Angela" at the bar; bar staff will know to call her a cab and help her exit the establishment discreetly – has since spread to the United States in the form of the Angel Shot.
i saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire !!!! pic.twitter.com/oO45I7gaJL— izzi (@iizzzzzi) October 18, 2016
The Angel Shot is not actually a drink, but instead code for “I need help.”
When a restaurant or bar patron orders an Angel Shot, they are covertly telling their bartender or server that they feel unsafe as a result of another guests’ behavior and are in need of assistance to either remove themselves or the offending guest from the establishment.
An Angel Shot is typically ordered in one of three ways:
- Neat or Straight Up - this indicates to the bartender or server that the guest needs an escort to their vehicle.
- On Ice / With Ice - this indicates to the bartender or server that the guest needs them to call a taxi or ride hailing service (ex - Uber or Lyft) on their behalf.
- With a Lime/ With a Twist - this indicates to the bartender or server that the guest needs them to call the police.
Since the Angel Shot is an arbitrary concept, the ways in which a guest can order an Angel Shot and the expected outcome will differ from restaurant to restaurant. For example, some restaurants and bars have included additional ordering options that signal:
- The guest needs to speak to the restaurant’s management.
- The guest would like the bartender or staff member to call a friend or family member on their behalf.
- The guest is ordering this drink for a friend or fellow patron who is unable.
- The guest thinks their previous drink was spiked.
Though the semantics may vary, both the 'Ask for Angela' and Angel Shot initiatives provide a safe, subtle solution to an age old problem that has found new life in the era of online dating and dating apps – like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble – where users can't always be sure who they're meeting in person is who they've been conversing with virtually.
Says bartender Celine Chahine of The Asgard Irish Pub & Restaurant in Cambridge, MA,
"I heard about the Angel Shot from a girl who cam in early for her first Tinder date; she told me about it and said that if she asks for one it means she needs an escape route ASAP. I thought it was hilarious and kept an eye on them all night; she never needed one. But, a couple weeks later, another girl who was apparently on a date asked me if I knew what an Angel Shot was. I **laughed** and said "yes, but it may take a bit to make." I gave her a cigarette rolled in a napkin and wrote inside the napkin 'there's a cab outside, pretend to smoke this' and she smiled, thanked me, and left."
How Do I Communicate To Guests That We Offer The Angel Shot?
The Angel Shot is meant to fly under the radar, so disclosing to guests that your restaurant or bar offers an Angel Shot and the specifics around how to order one is a delicate matter.
In 2017, the St. Petersburg, FL based Iberian Restaurant made national headlines for innovative signs posted in their women's bathroom on behalf of management saying, "Are you on a date that isn't going well? 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 tad bit weird?" The signs go on to outline the what and how behind Iberian's Angel Shot.
Many participating restaurants and bars have followed suit, having found success in posting signs within the women’s restroom to alert female patrons about the existence of an Angel Shot on their menu, ways to order, and what the corresponding outcome for each order variation will be.
Here are a few examples of Angel Shot signage that restaurants and bars have created:
While the introduction of the Angel Shot into the mainstream has been met with an overwhelming amount of praise, the initiative is not without it's shortcomings.
Some have pointed out that this strategy requires patrons use the women’s restroom in order to be alerted to the Angel Shot’s existence, leaving vulnerable men and non-binary guests in the dark, as well as female patrons who may not need to use the restroom during the course of their dining experience.
In a similar vein, the publicity the Angel Shot has earned – as Snopes highlights – could be rendering it ineffective, since predators will understand the chain of events to follow when an Angel Shot is ordered within earshot.
Regardless of it's flaws, both the 'Ask for Angela' and Angel Shot initiatives have successfully helped droves of guests-in-need from coast to coast and across the pond.
Above all: If a guest at your bar or restaurant fears for their safety and reaches out to management for help, or you witness a guest being harassed or assaulted, call 911 immediately.
Protect & Serve
Want to adopt either the Angel Shot or 'Ask for Angela' initiative into your restaurant's operations? Click here to download the #NoMore campaign's Ask for Angela print out to hang in your restaurant or bar.