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“Angel Shots” Protect Against Sexual Assault at a Birmingham Bar

At least one Birmingham bar is now using the concept of “Angel Shots” to help patrons who feel unsafe carefully get out of a bad situation. The “Angel Shot” is basically a bar tender SOS; it’s a specific drink order that serves as code words to tell the bartender that you need help. The bartender will know that you do not feel safe with the person you are with, and will help you exit the bar discreetly.

A sign posted on the women’s restroom at The J Clyde in Birmingham reads, “If you feel unsafe, tell a server or bartender you want an Alcatraz shot. They will help you.” Executive Chef Neil Ellis told ABC 33/40, “If a patron is uncomfortable with someone they’re with or even someone they met here and need to make a discreet exit from their present company, they order our shot.”

Ellis said that the bar has had an angel shot procedure for the past couple of months. A Crisis Center worker introduced the process. “They order the shot and we’ll come get them on the pretense of something else – needing to come up to the bar or maybe take a phone call – and we’ll escort them out of the premises and away from any dangerous situation,” said Ellis.

The name of the “Angel Shot” changes regularly so that people don’t catch on. “There’s no reason someone should have to have a bad night. We want to avoid that at all costs,” Ellis said.

Safe Shelby Sexual Assault Counselor Erica Barron says that bartenders and patrons are playing an increasingly important role in the modern dating scene. In a world where many meet strangers on dating apps, they are typically going to meet for the first time at a bar. She urges everyone to be on the look out for potential dangerous situations and take action if needed.

“Stepping in doesn’t have to be a big scene. It can be diverting someone’s attention. It can be interrupting a conversation. It can be [going] over to speak to someone else or to dance. It doesn’t have to be confrontational; but if you can redirect that, it will go a long way in preventing something bad from happening.”

The “Angel Shot” is just another way that bar owners are providing a way to redirect those bad situations, potentially saving someone from a traumatic experience.

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