St. Pete restaurant creates easy escape from dangerous dates

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Going on a blind date can be scary, but especially if the date becomes potentially dangerous.

A restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg is hoping to give women a safe way out through code words.

The Iberian Rooster on Central Avenue North posted a sign in the women’s restroom, advising female customers - if they feel unsafe, they should order an “Angel Shot” with their server or at the bar.

“This is for a situation where someone is actually feeling uncomfortable, where somebody is maybe a little bit forceful, might be making innuendos, whatever the situation is that’s making someone not feel safe,” said John Short, a server at the restaurant.

The sign reads that women can order the angel shot various ways, depending on the severity of their situation.

Order the shot “neat,” and staff members will walk a female customer out to her car.

If she road with her date or has no way home, ordering the shot “with ice,” lets servers know they should call a taxi, Uber or Lyft for the customer.

In an emergency, women can order the angel shot “with lime.” Staff members will immediately call police.

“All of our staff knows about it, everybody from the servers to the bar backs to the bartenders,” said Short. “We wanted to have a safe, discreet way for ladies to be able to go up to the bar or talk to one of our servers and for us to be able to help them out.”

The owner was inspired by a picture from a bar in England that went viral. The Lincolnshire Rape Crisis Center created and distributed posters for bar bathrooms advising women to ask for “Angel” if they feel unsafe.

Leaders at Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), a non-profit crisis intervention center in St Petersburg, are praising the concept of coded words for safety.

“I think it’s a great idea. There is somebody right there that will be able to help you immediately,” said Suzanne Horn, interim executive director of CASA.

She said CASA also provides palm-size booklets for women in public restrooms with emergency phone numbers and tips in case of emergencies.

“It’s a good way to get the message out there and make them aware,” said Horn.

Horn said she hopes other area restaurants will follow the Iberian Rooster’s lead.

Since opening in November, no one has had to ask for an angel shot, according to staff, and they are hopeful it never happens.

“With so many Tinder dates, Plenty of Fish dates, things like that happening, we just felt it was something that needed to be in place.”

Leaders at CASA recommend that anyone going on a first date should do their research in advance, for example, searching Google and social media to find out more about their date.

Meeting in a public place is best, and in case of an emergency, always have a plan in place with friends or family as a way out.