Monday, April 04, 2016
Little Miss Whiskey's Responds to Breast Milk Allegations
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.
Mark Thorp, owner