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They Don't Have Ladies' Night For The Ladies
What, you think bar owners reduce prices for chicks out of the goodness of their hearts? Over at, Ilya Somin discusses what he calls a "seriously misguided" attempt at a class action lawsuit by attorney Ray Hollender that contends Ladies' Night at bars is discriminatory. Somin writes:

...Many of the members of the class in question ("men charged more money or burdened by stricter time restraints than women" at the night clubs in question) actually benefit from these practices. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, a key purpose of ladies nights at night clubs is to benefit (heterosexual) men. Many night clubs and bars become relatively unappealing to men because the male-female ratio is too high, reducing male patrons' chances of picking up a date. By attracting more women, ladies' nights improve the dating odds for male patrons. To be sure, there are men such as Hollender who decry ladies nights as invidious discrimination. But many of the men belonging to the class specified in Hollender's suit probably prefer a night club with ladies night that increases the percentage of female customers to a nondiscriminatory policy that results in a more unbalanced male-female ratio. Many, perhaps the vast majority, of the men in the class Hollender proposes to represent have interests diametrically opposed to the result he seeks to achieve.

...Hollender says that "[w]hether this case succeeds or fails, it will result in a much needed victory for men." True enough (except maybe for the "much needed" part). If he wins, men who agree with him will get a "victory," but those who benefit from ladies nights will be harmed. If he loses, the male beneficiaries of ladies nights will have reason to celebrate.

Posted by aalkon at July 17, 2007 1:17 PM


What a unique point of view the men of this lawsuit hold. I have had many male friends complain to me that certain bar hot spots have been "sausage fests" lately (their phrase). When this happens they inevitable wander down the street to a specific, less hip, bar where ladies can drink for reduced prices. The music isn't live - in fact the music sucks - but the odds of "scoring" are obviously much better when there are actual women (pleaseeee watch the video "Guys and Dolls" linked from Nancy Rommemann's site

I don't know anyone who goes to a bar with the only goal being to have a few drinks. You can do that at home (maybe some alcoholics do go just to sit and drink alone b/c it feels like less of a drinking problem with you're not alone).

People go for the social aspect - most likely with persons to whom they are sexually attracted. Even if gettin' some at the end of the night isn't required, most people won't turn down a free drink and a little flirting. I have a boyfriend and find that going to bars isn't as fun for me as my single girl friends. It's loud, the floor is sticky, the music is always too loud to be enjoyable and you can't find a properly poured beer on this continent. The only saving grace is getting to flirt with someone cute! about a frivolous lawsuit and a waste of time and money.

Posted by: Gretchen at July 17, 2007 5:38 AM

You're absolutely right that people don't go to bars just to drink. I've gotten a lot of letters these past few weeks from female bartenders who were insulted/offended/enraged because of the line in my column: "A female bartender is basically an affordable stripper." In other words, some guys are there paying for her attention; not because it didn't occur to them that they can get a six-pack at the grocery store for about the price of a single beer in the bar.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 17, 2007 6:10 AM

Gretchen -- you're right that people mostly go to bars for the social aspect. But I'm just as likely to go to a bar with a male friend (or two or three) with no expection of meeting or picking up women, let alone "getting some" at the end of the night.

Amy -- most of the women bartenders I know would be furious if they were called "affordable strippers." They're bartenders, that's all. Maybe things are different where you live, who knows. I live in a basically blue-collar neighborhood in Queens, in New York City. Last time I was in one of the local joints (Sunday night, with my brother), Cathy, the bartender, said hi and set up our drinks without having to ask what we wanted. Great little place, no strippers, affordable or otherwise, not a pickup joint. Just the neighborhood hangout.

I don't think I'd ever go to a bar with a "ladies' night". Doesn't sound like my kind of place. That said, I think Mr. Hollender is an asshole of the highest degree. He probably just sees a chance to screw a few bucks out of some tavern owners. If there's any justice in the world, he'll be barred from every bar on the planet.

Posted by: Larry McKenna at July 17, 2007 8:07 AM

Larry, of course I was being very general.

But even if people don't go out to a bar to pick someone up, you'll undoubtedly enjoy yourself more if there are other people mingling. I don't strike up conversations with strange hot chicks for fun. I doubt straight men go out to bars just to shoot the shit with random men they don't know. I'm proposing the idea that men, in general, will be more likely to enjoy themselves at a bar where there are women - even if they aren't picking them up. Simply having a more balanced ratio of straight men and straight women will improve the experience of everyone.

Men are visual, they won't be stimulated by a bunch of dudes unless they're gay. But maybe I'm talking out of my ass. I have a boyfriend but I still would enjoy myself more at a bar w/ men as opposed to a bar w/ women.

Posted by: Gretchen at July 17, 2007 9:20 AM

Gretchen, you say "I doubt straight men go out to bars just to shoot the shit with random men they don't know." Sure they do. That's what keeps sports bars in business.

I don't. I don't care about pro sports. But there's a part of male socializing that does involve shooting the shit with other guys we don't know. No big thing, not the only, or the biggest part, of male socializing, but it's there. And there will be women at that bar too, of course, but it's not a pickup environment. Maybe it's an age thing. I'm in my mid-forties. Bars filled with twenty-somethings are no doubt entirely different.

It may be a demographic thing, too. In blue-collar neighborhoods like mine, it's pretty common to stop by a bar, maybe on the way home from work, have a beer or two, and engage in a little random conversation about sports or whatever with other men doing the same thing. It's relaxing, and helps to make sure that a guy doesn't bring the tension and bad energy of his job home with him to the family.

Posted by: Larry McKenna at July 17, 2007 10:02 AM

I learned something new this year, men and women complain at a clean ratio of 50/50. I always thought women were the more irrational sex but nope.

Posted by: PurplePen at July 17, 2007 10:04 AM

I just read the actual article. It talks specifically about night clubs. New issue? Maybe men DO go to SPORTS bars to shoot the shit with random men. But they do NOT go to nightclubs to bump and grind against these same men unless they are gay.

Admitting women into clubs for a lower cover charge seems to be the specific issue - I only read the first few paragraphs - but nightclubs are for dancing and I don't know a SINGLE STRAIGHT man who wants to grind his crotch against that of another man. If he says he does then he is fooling you, Larry - he's a homosexual.

Posted by: Gretchen at July 17, 2007 10:10 AM

Also, just because I'm all involved here, I know several bouncers. All of them, men, said they "make up" their own cover charges. Right now I am thinking about a specific and popular place in Marina Bay, Quincy, MA. The bouncers from this specific place told me the club/bar would say "$5 cover tonight." And the bouncers would charge $15 or $20, depending on the night and expected demand. When there's a longer line they'll charge more. They pocket the difference.

If a hot girl with big boobs comes along she'll get a break on the cover charge. I doubt a man with a large bulge in his pants would get the same special treatment. Perhaps castrating the bouncers would ensure indiscriminate attitudes.

I guess I should add a disclaimer:
I can't speak for all bouncers nor all bars.

Posted by: Gretchen, Okay I'm done now at July 17, 2007 10:17 AM

What Larry said about neighborhood bars for guys in their 40's is true. I go to one sometimes to drink because it's within walking distance of home and the expense curbs the impulse to have a second, or a third.

Posted by: Crid at July 17, 2007 10:19 AM

In Mexico, they don’t even allow women in bars. I have gone to bars in Monaray that had men arm in arm, singing.

Posted by: rusty wilson at July 17, 2007 11:04 AM

Do Neighborhood type bars where guys go to drink and shoot the shit typically have a cover charge? (In my experience, no, but I'm a girl and I more frequently go to martini and tapas bars, where they also have no cover charge.)

Posted by: Shinobi at July 17, 2007 11:20 AM

Gretchen says:

I just read the actual article. It talks specifically about night clubs. New issue? Maybe men DO go to SPORTS bars to shoot the shit with random men. But they do NOT go to nightclubs to bump and grind against these same men unless they are gay.

I respond:

You're absolutely right, of course. I think of "bars" and "nightclubs" as entirely different things. Just an issue of definitions and talking at cross-purposes, I guess. Your first post used the word "bars", and I was responding based on my own usage of that word. As far as nightclubs go, you're right. At least as far as I know. I don't go to nightclubs much.

Posted by: Larry McKenna at July 17, 2007 12:19 PM

"Do Neighborhood type bars where guys go to drink and shoot the shit typically have a cover charge?"

Some do in my area - especially if there's a band playing. It definitely depends on the area.

When I posted earlier I had in mind urban-type settings w/ large, busy bars. Boston (bars AND nightclubs) is notorious for cover charges. Small bars where "the regulars" go are a much different story - so Larry, I agree that people go there just to relax! And as you mentioned it IS a different story when you go to a "younger" bar.

Whether it's a reduced cover charge or free drinks I think the idea behind it is the same! Lure in the ladies and the men will follow...and overall business will improve.

Posted by: Gretchen at July 17, 2007 2:00 PM

Let’s see now. Ladies go to the bar and get in free and get either free or half price drinks. This is done to get them into the place so that the men can buy them drinks and try to get them in bed. Hmmmmm Sounds like the ladies are a bunch of paid whores. Well that is equality for you. Oh ya I forgot. Equality only works when it benefits a woman. LOLOL

Posted by: Straight guy at July 17, 2007 2:20 PM

What sad sacks some are. Amy, apparently none of these people have read your articles about how men and women are different.

They are. At least to me, it's obvious.

Posted by: Radwaste at July 17, 2007 2:37 PM

Why is it that anytime a woman has sex, she is a whore? I'm tired of that comparison, made by weak-minded men who blame all womankind for their problems. If I buy a guy dinner and sleep with him, does that make him a paid whore? No, it makes him someone that had a really good time.

Posted by: PurplePen at July 17, 2007 3:44 PM

I love Purple Pen.

(Does that make me a whore?)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 17, 2007 4:58 PM

If you buy me dinner and sleep with me......I will gladly call myself a whore.....

Posted by: Fred911 at July 17, 2007 5:05 PM

Look. It's really simple. All sex is prostitution. The only thing that differs from one act to the next is the manner of compensation.

So yes, everyone is a whore, or wishes they were.

Posted by: brian at July 17, 2007 5:30 PM

Who said being a whore was a bad thing? Lena called me one. I laughed. So did my boyfriend. Then we "swilled" some gin and tonics. I always say: "Whatever gets you through the night."

Posted by: Gretchen at July 17, 2007 7:08 PM

Why is it that anytime a woman has sex, she is a whore? Posted by: PurplePen at July 17, 2007 3:44 PM

This is typical of a woman’s voice. It is NOT any time she has sex. But when you have to be paid with free drinks and entrance the cry for woman's equality goes down the drain.

You can’t have it both ways. You demand respect,equal pay, and what you deserve. Then think you can continue to use your body to get freebees and use others. What does that make you? Today’s woman? No just the same as all that came before you. Equality is a two way street.

Posted by: Straight guy at July 17, 2007 7:10 PM

Please! Stop! Feeding the aws trolls!! They're boring and tiresome, and arguments to them are even more so, and they take over the thread!

Ok, bars and nightclubs are totally different things- I'd never go to a night club anymore, too expensive, boring and not the best place to really meet someone, for anything but a hookup. But bars are still fun, occasionally. I could totally go for a Red Stripe, some shuffle board and a cloud of 2nd-hand smoke right about now.

Posted by: Allison at July 17, 2007 8:39 PM

Equal pay is a legal thing, whether somebody buy somebody else a drink or not is voluntary. I buy people drinks all the time, including Lena, who sleeps with the other team. Anybody who's tight with a dollar isn't a person I really want to know.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 17, 2007 8:45 PM

P.S. And I don't have a problem in the world with prostititution, unless prostitutes start leaving bodily fluids on my front walk.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 17, 2007 8:46 PM

I'm just speaking from personal experience.

Guy #1 took forever in asking me out, when he finally did he took me out to dinner and he made me pay. It wasnt the fact that he made me pay that made me angry, but his rudeness with the dollar. It was a fucking $10 meal.

Guy #2 took 2 seconds to ask me out, and we went to dinner 2 times to a pricey place and HE paid both times. I just left the tip. For dinner #3 I paid (he even laughed saying I was crazy for grabbing the bill from his hands like I did). Well I bought him dinner and he got a good time. That's equality in my mind. So any trolls need to shut their pie holes.

Posted by: PurplePen at July 17, 2007 9:48 PM

Yes, PurplePen. Yes, yes, yes.

Amy dear, have you checked Straight Guy's IP address? This troll sounds familiar -- I'm certain we've had his cameo performance here before.

Posted by: Marie at July 17, 2007 11:24 PM

Tisk Tisk, such anger. Thank you for proving my point. If anyone has the audacity to question your ability to have it both ways you call them names and get combative.

Gee I am so sorry and I will bow down in your presence. That is what you dream of isn’t it? I will even over pay for my drinks so you can feel sooooo important.

Check my IP? What for? Do you want her to ban me because I didn’t say exactly what you want me to? The Goddess’s is right on point. You are being given freebees so that you can be used as meat to get men to the table. That is why they call it a “Meat Market Bar.” Do you like that? I hope not. Why don’t you get upset that these dumps would insult/cheapen woman by doing it?

Again, thank you for proving my point. You don’t want real equality. You don’t want to get along. You want to change every one and every place to your way. Oops sorry again, I use facts not emotion.

BTW this is the first time I have been to this site. I got here through a link to the article.

Your favorite Troll

Posted by: Straight Guy at July 18, 2007 9:34 AM

A straight question for Straight Guy:

Are you personally insulted - on behalf of mankind - when a bar advertises a "happy hour"?
Or is the cheapening insult somehow less deadly when it's aimed at both men and women?

(It's hard not to think you're reading way too much into the obviously bogus gallantry of "ladies' nights" for your own reasons.)

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 18, 2007 10:01 AM

I have discovered that guys who complain the most about such things as "ladies nights" are the pickiest about looks.

Whose fault is it that men throw themselves at women?

Posted by: PurplePen at July 18, 2007 10:46 AM

TO: Amy Alkon, et al.
RE: 'Ladies' Night

"What, you think bar owners reduce prices for chicks out of the goodness of their hearts?" -- Amy Alkon

Fort Knox, KY, Officers' Club had—in the early 80s—an interesting policy.

Men had to show proof they were officers and members of the club in order to get into their VERY popular bar/dance portion of the club. [Note: It was a 'dry' county.]

Women didn't have to show anything, except a smile.

That club was the hottest spot in all Kentucky, back then. And, needless to say, there was considerable 'tension' between soldiers and the local men-folk.


[Fish. Meet bait. Everybody. Drink up!]

Posted by: Chuck Pelto at July 18, 2007 11:25 AM

> guys who complain the most about
> such things as "ladies nights"
> are the pickiest about looks.

Word... But "pickiest" doesn't convey the infantilized fear and resentment they're expressing. The problem isn't that their judgment is too refined.

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2007 11:29 AM

A straight question for Straight Guy:

Are you personally insulted - on behalf of mankind - when a bar advertises a "happy hour"?
Or is the cheapening insult somehow less deadly when it's aimed at both men and women? Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 18, 2007 10:01 AM

Happy hour is the same as any store sale. It is for everyone. Fair and equal as it should be.

The diatribe I seem to have started goes everywhere except to the subject Amy was talking about... Ladies night freebees. If it was reversed and men got free or discount merchandise the woman would be "screaming sex discrimination." It does work both ways, like it or not.

No matter how you look at it the bottom line is that ladies are being used for sexual reasons and the ladies are happy to put themselves on display for a freebee. That is what you should look at and not a few dollars and the ability to primp yourselves before a bunch of men you only want to toy with.

If you, and men, worked more on the relationship between men and woman in an equal manner there would be more understanding and less divorce. Women are, and should be, equal but they have to accept the roll fully not just when it benefits them.

But I am but a humble Troll and know nothing.

Posted by: Straight Guy at July 18, 2007 11:54 AM

Straight Guy says Happy hour is the same as any store sale. It is for everyone. Fair and equal as it should be."

No, it's not. It's not a "right" or an "entitlement." It's not covered by the Bill of Rights. It's not something you're entitled to. You're not entitled to a guaranteed price for a drink at a bar, anymore than you're entitled to pay the same price for a quart of milk in New York City or San Francisco as you do in Peoria.

It's something bars do to sell more drinks. That's it. That's all. It's meaningless, unimportant, and pretty silly.

I don't go to bars with "ladies' nights," mostly because I don't want to hang around with a noisy crowd of people only slightly more than half my age. If that.

If you don't like "ladies' nights", go somewhere else. At the end of the day, what do you care about some bar's door policy?

Posted by: Larry McKenna at July 18, 2007 12:44 PM

Purp's got his number. Even if he were a generous spirit, he'd have a rough time out there.

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2007 1:04 PM

I would love to be a multi-millionaire that looks like dog shit then be able to go up to a male model, ask him out, buy him a drink and have him fall madly in love with me for the rest of my life. This could never happen to a heterosexual woman, but to an old rich gay man? happens all the time. I am going to start "screaming sex discrimination."

Posted by: PurplePen at July 18, 2007 1:10 PM

The Sir John Browne effect.

But it's not always happily ever after...

Posted by: Crid at July 18, 2007 1:20 PM

I apologize for trying to make sense. I would love to keep trying to enlighten you to your own old fashioned thinking. When one tries to treat a woman as an equal, in all ways, they do not know what to do. It does not fit into the BS that society has taught them. It is what you think of yourself. So you just keep wearing that low cut dress and then complaining that he is not looking into your eyes. Oh ya, when you leave the club make sure you tell your girl friends the obligatory statement that “Men are pigs and are only interested in one thing”.

As far as the jerk that is suing about the freebees, he is just doing exactly what woman did to get the equality that they deserve. What you think of the suit will depend upon the price of your drink. That is a shame because there is much more to it.

I would love to continue this discussion but I am leaving on a business trip to the UK in the morning. Then I am going to spend two wonderful weeks bicycling through Austria and Switzerland. I hope you all find that special someone that fits into your dream. Me? I will keep treating woman as equal and confuse them when I send flowers.

Enjoy life and treat everyone equally – It is all we have.

Posted by: Straight Guy at July 18, 2007 2:48 PM

Everybody, please stop feeding the troll. Purp and Amy are right on the money, as usual.

Posted by: Marie at July 19, 2007 12:16 AM

Amazing-- a guy offers an intelligent position that is based on equal treatment of the sexes-- and he gets slimed as a "troll", and his simple,unanswerable points are ignored--1. this is discrimination based on sex and 2. women relying on their feminine charms to get a price break is kinda the double standard -- and then arguing thats ok because it really helps men for women to pay less !
This is sex discrimination on its face-- a public accomodation having different price scales based on sex. Exactly how is that not illegal?
It is quite funny how the women justify sex-based favortism --towards themselves-- because the men are so grateful to have the women around! Its ok to charge men more because they earn the inestimable benefit of female company ! maybe extremely posh bars should charge women more, as the women get access to wealthy men and thus women are happy to pay more and the men think they should, as the women thereby earn the right to associate with extremely upscale men !

Of course its meant to generate business. thats irrelevant. More whites will come to my bar in lake charles and i will make more money if i charge blacks more for cover or drinks, and thus blacks go elsewhere. See how long that racially discrimnatory practice lasts. Maybe the blacks should gladly pay more for the privelege of being around whites ?

Posted by: jedwards at July 20, 2007 9:34 PM

Straight guy & jedwards, please describe your ideal equal relationship? Who would pay for what? Who would make the decisions, and for what? Who would initiate sex, and who would decide what was acceptable and what wasn't?

I'm curious to understand how this would work, because I dated a guy for a while that wanted everything to be fair. We split all financial costs down the middle, he kept meticulous track of everything. Ultimately though, he still wanted to be in charge and make all the decisions. Getting everything your way is not compromise, and in a totally fair relationship, both parties have to give in half the time.

Posted by: Chrissy at July 21, 2007 6:43 AM

I would never pay any attention to this in real life.. its just observations and commentary... What ? You think I live this stuff ?

I find if you treat women really,really well, they return the I'm never concerned about equality-- much less trying to monitor it.

sounds like the guy you dated had problems with obsessive compulsive personality-- miserliness and need for interpersonal control-- etc-- because thats pretty strange.. he was more concerned with money than you!

Posted by: jedwards at July 21, 2007 11:02 AM

At the end of the day it's like watching TV. If you don't like the channel you can change it. If that doesn't work then don't turn it on.

People doing business are just trying to make money with ideas like ladies night. ( By the way it's been around for a long time) If patrons don't like it...don't go there.

Posted by: Bar Advice at August 6, 2007 9:27 AM

I'm with you. It's a free market. It's like a bar that charges through the nose for drinks. Too rich for your blood? Surely there's a pub up the road with a two-for-one happy hour.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 6, 2007 9:31 AM

I agree with Crid. You guys need to wake up and get out more. Turn off the TV and experience real life! The suite was filed in NYC. Anyone whos experienced a night or two out in NYC will know that its vastly different than going out to a club in most other U.S. states. The ladies night concept has increasingly gained exploitation status to the point where its a straight-up scam! And, yes, it is discrimination. And there are more guys than girls in a given spot than ever! Cant wait for the so called "ladies night" to disappear forever!

Posted by: Kbuttah at August 23, 2007 5:01 PM

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