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viernes, 18 de mayo de 2007

State forces McGuire’s to remove 'joke' restroom signs

DESTIN — Like the dollar bills hanging from the ceiling or the signature drink the Irish Wake, the craftily worded signs on the bathroom doors are part of the charm of McGuires’s Irish Pub.

It takes some careful attention to the fine print to end up in right bathroom, but it’s all in good fun, said General Manager Billy Martin.

“We’re not trying to be malicious,” Martin said. “It’s an Irish joke kind of thing.”





For those who haven’t seen them, the gist is the men’s room sign has large print that reads “Ladies” and smaller text clarifying they shouldn’t go in there because it’s the men’s room — vice-versa for the other bathroom.

But not everyone sees the humor, and the signs have been removed by order of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The agency threatened McGuire’s with closure for a six-word violation — “Lack of signage properly designating bathrooms.”

The signs have been up for 10 years without a problem and for 30 years in the Pensacola restaurant, but a complaint filed last month forced them down in Destin.

“We’re not doing it because we want to, it’s what we’re required to do,” Martin said.

The signs are still up in Pensacola, but they might also have to come down, Martin said.

The complaint came from a father who said a college-age man walked in on his 15-year-old daughter.

The man said in his complaint that his daughter was embarrassed and left the restaurant crying.

“I personally cannot sit back and let this happen to other people’s children and wives any longer,” the complaint read.

The man lists his address as a condominium in Destin, but he was unable to be reached because the unit is rented out this week. Because he could not be reached for comment and the matter involves his 15-year-old child, the Daily News did not identify him.

Martin pointed out that if people choose the wrong door, there are clear signs on the inside wall directing patrons to the right restroom.



DEBI HAUSSERMANN | Daily News
Billy Martin poses with the signs that were recently removed
from the restroom doors at McGuire’s Irish Pub in Destin.


Faced with closure, there was no choice but to take the signs down.

But McGuire’s isn’t giving up. Petitions to bring the signs back now hang on the doors and other petitions circulate around the restaurant.

So far, there are more than 3,000 names, but Martin doesn’t know if it will change anything.

“This is just something we’re going to try and do,” he said. “Our hands our tied right now.”

Daily News Staff Writer Patrick McDermott can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 394.

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