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The "Angel Shot" bar movement makes its way to Tempe

The Low Key Piano Bar is among the first in Tempe to take part in the viral bar safety concept

A pedestrian rides past the Low Key Piano Bar on Mill Avenue on Feb. 8, 2017. The bar has recently begun offering "angel shots" to customers, following a national trend. 

A pedestrian rides past the Low Key Piano Bar on Mill Avenue on Feb. 8, 2017. The bar has recently begun offering "angel shots" to customers, following a national trend. 

The "Angel Shot" — a discreet method for bartenders to know when a guest is feeling unsafe or in danger — is now being implemented at the Low Key Piano Bar in Tempe.

The idea of the shot originally gained attention on social media through a Facebook post, which commended a Hooters in South Africa for taking the initiative to protect those who may be on a date that turned dangerous.

According to the Facebook post, if a bargoer at the Hooters ordered an Angel Shot "neat," the bartender would escort the bargoer to his or her vehicle. If the bargoer ordered "with ice," the bartender would call an Uber or Lyft. If the bargoer ordered "with lime," the bartender would call the police.

Austin Walter, the owner of the Mill Avenue bar, said Low Key Piano Bar is implementing the Angel Shot order in a different way — the actual name of the Angel Shot order is hidden in the women’s restroom of the bar.

“We call it the Angel Shot movement at this point,” he said. “It’s become so popular as far as getting the word out, obviously it’s not a discreet name anymore so we just changed the name.”

Walter said the rising popularity of the movement is indicative of a change in bar culture because of online dating.

“I just think it’s evolving with everything else that’s going on,” he said. “I mean, look at online dating the past 10 years … more and more people are meeting online and dating on apps like Bumble and Tinder, so it’s a riskier situation for single women and any woman going out and meeting their dates.”

Walter said ASU students account for a majority of his bar’s attendees.

“We’re open five nights a week — we have college students in there every single night,” he said. “On a weeknight, we get a lot more college students than any other age group. On a weekend, we get hundreds of college students in and out of the bar.”

Walter said even though the initiative may be helpful, there are always more ways for people to be safe on dates at bars.

“I don’t know if anything will ever be enough to be 100 percent safe and not vulnerable,” he said. “I think if you’re going to go out and meet somebody for a blind date, you should take a couple of friends with you.”

Kyle Franco, a nursing sophomore who said he has gone on some dismal Tinder dates, shares the same sentiment.

“(Going with friends) a good strategy," he said. "Honestly, that’s something I probably should have done."

Franco said he has yet to have a Tinder date at a bar, but he understands why many bar dates that start online can end up going badly.

“It’s your first time meeting them and you have no idea who they are,” he said. “I could see that happening, where they need a way-out option.”

Marie Dela Cruz, a biochemistry senior who works as a bartender at Gringo Star Street Bar in Tempe, also said it’s a good idea for people on blind or online dates to bring their friends.

“I’d probably suggest more of a double date, and make it more of a friendly thing at first,” she said. “Maybe a dinner wouldn’t be the best place for a blind date because it’s a little bit too intimate.”

Cruz said even though the Angel Shot concept could take a while to implement, she could see more bars in Tempe using the initiative to act more as “first-responders” for bargoers.

“I think with baby steps, we’ll eventually get there because it is important,” she said. “I actually really do wanna see the Angel Shot become more of a thing in Tempe, I think it’d be really cool to see.” 

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