Online dating has been steadily growing in popularity over the past decade, but as any seasoned Tinder user knows, even if your date’s profile looks amazing, it doesn’t guarantee that they will be IRL. But by ordering an "angel shot" at a Florida restaurant called Iberian Rooster, you've got a safe way to get out of a bad date with zero fuss. The name of the secret "drink" is telling, don't you think? (Bustle has reached out to Iberian Rooster for comment.)
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Iberian Rooster, a Portuguese fusion restaurant located in St. Petersburg, Fla., has a framed sign posted in the women's restroom encouraging customers to order the angel shot from their bartender or server if they felt unsafe during a date. "Is your Tinder or Plenty of Fish date not who they said they were on their profile?" the sign reads. "Do you feel unsafe, or even just a tad bit weird? We're here to help. Just go to the bar and order an angel shot." The drink will not show up on the check; instead it sends a coded message to the waitstaff.
"If a guest orders an angel shot neat, a bartender will escort them to their car," explains the Tampa Bay Times. "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." If this all seems a little extreme, with the increase in date-rape drug use, the dangers of grabbing a drink with a relative stranger are very real, and extricating yourself safely from an uncomfortable situation is easier said than done. "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 a time."
What's more, the angel shot is happily part of a growing trend of restaurants and bars going to great lengths to protect their customers in uncertain situations. Iberian Rooster, which opened in November, decided to adopt the policy after seeing a similar coded sign gain attention on Twitter. Part of a campaign by Lincolnshire Rape Crisis, the signs request that customers ask for "Angela" if they need help extricating themselves from a date. These codes give people new ways to call for backup discretely, helping to make bars and restaurant welcoming, safe places for all.
Are these policies perfect? Of course not. For example, it's worth noting that although Iberian Rooster's sign is posted in the women's restroom, people of any and all genders may find themselves needing the help it offers. What's more, in an ideal world, it wouldn't be up to us to avoid getting harassed, abused, or assaulted on a date; the onus would be on the harasser, abuser, or assaulter not to do any of those things to another person in the first place.
But angel shots, asking for Angela, and more policies like them are worthy nonetheless; indeed, as someone who has worked as a bartender myself, seeing restaurants step up is a welcome change. Oftentimes, servers are trained to stay out of the customers’ way unless someone is clearly intoxicated or verbally or physically abusive, feeling powerless to help before a situation gets out of hand. Having a policy like the angel shot in place takes the guess work out of helping someone in need — and in a world that is routinely unsafe, particularly for women, knowing that someone has your back when you need it can make all the difference.
Over the past week, Iberian Rooster has received quite a bit of positive media attention for the angel shot, but Andrade is not necessarily excited about the publicity. "We didn't put the sign up for any attention," he told the Times. "That sort of goes against the point." If the angel shot continues to go viral, Iberian Rooster may have to change the drink's code name. However, it could set an excellent example for eateries across the country. We can only hope that one day, this type of sign will be as common in bathrooms around as the one reading “No smoking" — or even that we'll finally get to the point where code words calling for help are no longer needed at all.