Monday, April 04, 2016

Little Miss Whiskey's Responds to Breast Milk Allegations

Version 2

You may have seen (or heard about) a post that appeared on the blog PoPville this afternoon. The post was a reader's account of a recent Saturday night out when the reader's group of friends, including a woman who had recently given birth, got together for dinner and planned to go dancing on H Street. There are two different versions of what happened next. After reading the story posted on PoPville I reached out to Mark Thorp, who owns Little Miss Whiskey's (1104 H Street), for comment. His full statement appears at the bottom of this post.
According to the PoPville post, while at the restaurant, the new mother had to pump a little breast milk, and so she had a bottle containing a small amount of milk in her bag when a bouncer examined the bag outside Little Miss Whiskey's. The PoPville reader writes that the door guy made a rude comment comment about the milk to the new mother and told her she could only come in if she turned the bottle of breast milk over to the bartender for safe keeping while she was inside.

Thorp's version of the story is different. He claims the rude statement made to the new mother came not from the employee checking IDs and bags at the door, but rather from a random person on the street. According to Thorp, his staff was polite but firm that patrons could not bring outside liquids into the bar, offering to hold onto the bottle of breast milk during the mother's visit. Thorp says a hardline ban on outside liquids is necessary, and a failure to enforce it could put his liquor license in jeopardy. He also says it was a friend of the new mother who reacted rudely, shouting angrily at the bouncer before departing...and possibly later leaving one of these two 1 star Yelp! reviews that both seem to relate to the incident.

Thorp's complete statement:

* Marc (the “bouncer") never said “No disrespect for your condition, but this is a bar. Why would you bring that here? It’s weird.” That statement was made by someone on the sidewalk not related to the business (details re: Marc below). 

* Gregg (the “manager”) was polite. He was apologetic in his attempts to explain policy. He was never “hostile”. He offered to keep the milk safe behind the bar (yes, “safe”, because contrary to evident suspicions we do not harbor any desire to tamper with someone’s breast milk (details re: Gregg below)).

* Our business licenses are common. Those licenses prohibit outside alcohol being brought in by patrons. Any kind of liquid can have alcohol in it. It is not up to us to interpret either the law or what the contents of any liquid are, and, sadly, there is no end to the nonsense patrons will attempt in order to bring their own alcohol into an establishment (yes, in a shampoo bottle, and that’s exactly why bags are checked, and exactly why we adhere to rigid policy).

* ABRA regularly sends undercover persons into liquor-licensed establishments to check on whether their laws are being enforced. That’s their job. It is our job to enforce those laws so the business doesn’t get fined or shut down, as well as so employees don’t lose their jobs.
There is no way for an employee  to *know* what bizarre circumstance calls for an exception. Therefore, there are no exceptions. 

* After the woman who wrote this letter to PoP (and also sent in her one-star review on Yelp) screamed at Gregg “YOU WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER WOMAN IN THIS BAR AGAIN AFTER TODAY”, a nearby person on the sidewalk said “oh bitch go protest somewhere else”. I write this because I anticipate she will levy more false allegations, and I want to make it clear that neither Gregg nor Marc made any comments that were embarrassing to the woman with the breast milk or her “friends", much less rude or mean-spirited. No other employees were involved in this situation. If someone made an ugly remark, it was not an employee of LMW.

* I could attempt to placate all those concerned by publicly apologizing for how Marc and Gregg handled the situation, but I will not throw them under the bus. Allegations that they were rude, or impolite, or tried to embarrass anyone, are simply untrue. The “friends” of the woman with the breast milk made the situation loud and embarrassing, and Marc and Gregg remained composed even as the women screamed at them. I know I risk further public outrage by stating that I am very proud of how they handled the situation, but they were stuck with an impossible and bizarre circumstance in the middle of the busiest night of the week, and I am genuinely heartbroken to see their respective characters so wrongly called into question like this.

* I encourage anyone to please come meet Marc and Gregg (who happen to be brothers). Marc checks ID’s (and your bags) every Friday and Saturday night. I am certain you will immediately realize that he is a soft-spoken man who does not make incendiary comments, much less even raise his voice. As one friend commented about this situation, “Marc doesn’t talk like that”. Gregg bartends every Monday and Wednesday night. He regularly works weekends as well. I am certain you will find him polite and positive, just as he has been since he began working with us four years ago. This is one of the many reasons he has the keys to the business and is a signor on its checking account. 

* Lastly, I know Marc's and Gregg's mother is an impressively accomplished woman- in both business and family- for whom they have tremendous respect. She raised her sons to treat people with respect, which I know because they have spoken of it and because they act like it. 

Most sincerely,

Mark Thorp, owner


Anonymous said...

lmao at white people problems. Dammm cant get a good mani-pedi on H street yet

Anonymous said...

The real problem here is that Prince of Petworth has no problem running a one-sided story slamming a business in our neighborhood without first waiting for comment from that business. That blog is nothing but hyperlocal, heavily moderated busybody clickbait. If there's any consolation most of the people who are outraged about this on PoP aren't the type to got to LMW anyway.

Anonymous said...

Nope. The real problem is that Mark thinks it ok to search people's bags, and call women bitches. II have no reason to believe his version of this event over the other person's.

Tron said...

i drinks only the finest cambodian breast milks...

Anonymous said...

Did anybody read the City Paper thing on the popville dude. He posts shit like this cuz he knows he'll get 200 comments. Not his fault there are a bunch of weenies out there. He found his niche

I wouldn't sweat this if I was LMW, The people who are likely offended by what may or may not have happened probably aren't much into LMW anyway. On the other hand, it reminds me that LMW exists and is a cool bar which I don't frequent enough.

I don't know if it would be dickish, hilarious, or good business, but LMW should start offering a frozen white slushy called breast milk

Anonymous said...

Marc never called anyone a "bitch." Also, it's totally reasonable to check bags. This is common at any place where you can't bring in outside food/drink or where there are security concerns (movie theaters, bars, museums, government buildings, etc).

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the comments above. POP does pander to the most base elements among DC residents and has expanded his reach very far from Petworth, or upper NW where he lives. When you rely on alarmist rumors from readers across the city but do no additional research into the topics received in emails, this is what you get. I'm not a huge fan of LMW, more specifically the owner, but he should have had chance to weigh in. Or we should all be reading real news and not the DC Enquirer….

SustainableDC said...

It may be worth noting that TSA, government buildings and most other places that don't allow outside "food or drink", e.g., Nationals Stadium all have special accommodations for breast milk and formula for babies, as in, you can bring it with you often times with no fluid ounce limit. As a working mother of two who also likes to see her friends on occasion, I can appreciate the level of frustration with a bouncer at a bar telling them they want her milk for "safe-keeping". The safest place for that milk is with the mom, where she knows it was not tampered with and it can be brought safely home for consumption by her child. I hope that this incident will provide insight and compassion for a breastfeeding moms plight and level of orchestration required for her to simply get out for a few hours of fun. I appreciate how Mark fiercely defended his employee's character, I do however think they could have just waived her in and let it go without all the hullabaloo.

Anonymous said...

What a terrible establishment. The owner won't apologize for reasons that defy logic. The good news is this is just another dump that will soon be replaced by respectable businesses that respect women. I've visited Clydes, and other bars in the DC area that DO NOT steal baby bottles nor do they harass female customers. Can't wait for this neighborhood to get our whole foods and legitimate businesses and see these awful dive bars close once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully neighborhood businesses like this and the people who visit this dump move soon. Rents are thankfully rising.

inked said...

I would very much like to see local establishments (to the extent they haven't already) adopt a policy like this. Breast milk seems like a logical exception to the no liquids rule.

8:18 & 8:21,
That's some grade A trolling there.

Anonymous said...

I think we could all agree that in a reasonable society, breast milk is fine to bring into a bar. But there are a lot of unreasonable people causing a lot of shit out there. The LMW owner has had issues with some unreasonable people with some limited power, enough to cause a headache. I can't fault him for having a no tolerance policy.

Doug said...

It's unfortunate that these rules about outside beverages exist and it does make for a difficult situation for someone who is breastfeeding. These zero tolerance policies always result in problems. Life is complicated, exceptions need to be made. If the DC government is actually going around setting up stings to bust bar owners with fake breast milk then they are the ones that need reigned in. That should not be a realistic fear for a business owner.

On the flip side this women seems like she had a real attitude problem. All the stuff about "respecting women" seems just like a cheap bully tactic. Grow up, it's just a bar, you don't NEED to get inside to have a drink. Maybe you could go home and spend some time with your baby and it could just get the milk directly from you. Hate to be the bearer of bad news but the responsibility of having a child is going to be an interruption to your normal routine of bar hopping around town, among other things. Time to be an adult.