Want fries with that? Calgary Irish pub’s outfits draw fire

Photo courtesy Fishman Public Relations                
This is the standard server outfit at Tilted Kilt.              

Plans are set to open a new Irish pub in Calgary that appears to offer a little more than traditional Celtic fare, but not everyone’s so eager to stop by.

Chad Howse, a franchisee and managing partner with Tilted Kilt has already opened a location in Edmonton and is moving to add a similar venue along Calgary’s busy 17th Avenue entertainment stretch just in time for Stampede.

But the outfits worn by Tilted Kilt servers were recently used as the centrepiece of a Maclean’s piece on “breastaurants” and are also raising some concerns among woman’s rights advocates. Each features a tied-off white shirt that leaves the server’s midriff exposed as well as a kilt that is shorter than the traditional variety.

“No shoes, no shirts, no service — but a woman’s bare stomach is OK?” questioned Jane Drover, a woman’s literature professor at Mount Royal University. “Woman are now more vulnerable than ever to the whims of an employer; it’s part of a larger erosion.”

Howse conceded the chain’s outfits are revealing, but said the difference is each of his servers has a personality and will actually sit down and talk with clients as they dine.

“What we are doing is no different than anyone else,” he added.

“Everywhere you look this day and age, there’s a beautiful woman selling something for a company.”

Backgrounder

  • Calgary’s Tilted Kilt will cover about 6,000 square feet and replace Bob the Fish Tavern along 17th Avenue.
  • Edmonton’s Tilted Kilt, which opened in December, was the first of its kind in Canada but there are already more than 60 locations in the U.S.
  • The organization also eyes on opening six locations in the Toronto area by the end of 2013.
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