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  • For a publication that’s usually fairly alert to feminist issues, I feel that I should add that there is something else that people should know about the Needle Vinyl Tavern: that for all its distinctive flair with its vinyl menus and so on, it hews very closely to the template of many other bars and restaurants in its employment practices — and much closer to, say, the Tilted Kilt and Hooters than we’d like to think. While it has mostly men as owners and managers, and a roughly equal number of men and women as bartenders, every single one of its 29 servers is — not so coincidentally — a woman. I asked Wesley Littke, the general manager, about this, and he was pretty unapologetic, claiming in an e-mail that they “hire whomever [sic] is the best fit based on experience, personality and availability” and (on the Needle Vinyl Tavern’s Facebook page that trumpeted the venue’s support of women on International Women’s Day) that it just so happened that they had no men as servers “because we did not receive a large number of serving resumes from males where as we did with females [sic].” I spoke with qualified and experienced servers who applied (and happened to be men) who were discouraged from applying as servers by Littke himself. These men found that their applications weren’t really taken seriously in interviews, while at the same time, in at least some cases, less experienced acquaintances and friends of these men — who happened to be women — were hired on the spot (at the Needle Vinyl Tavern’s hiring fair) without so much as a reference check. This, too, is what this business “stands for.”

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