BERWYN, Ill. (PIX11) – Comedian Tamale Sepp posted video of a two-way mirror inside the women’s bathroom at a Chicago-area bar called Cigars and Stripes, sparking an online debate after the owner vowed to keep it.
The video, taken inside the restroom before her performance, shows a door with a full-length mirror facing an open toilet stall.
“It may not appear weird to some people, but for paranoid jerks like myself I get a little confused about why that might be there,” she says, before opening the unlocked door to reveal a hallway filled with maintenance supplies. “Here you will see the back of the door cut out, and a clear view of the toilet that women use to relieve themselves at this establishment,” she says, filming through the two-way glass into the bathroom.
Sepp says she confronted the owner of the bar, Ronnie Lotz, after discovering the see-through mirror, and was told that it was originally created years ago to give a creepy fun house effect, and used to have a monster head behind the glass that would light up to scare patrons. The monster head is no longer there, but Lotz says there is no plan to cover the glass, telling Jezebel:
“I will burn this f***ing place to the ground before I get rid of that mirror. Do you know how much joy that mirror has brought to us? We’re synonymous with Halloween. We do a freaky family fun day, and all the kids look in the mirror. This is a fun house, honey, and if you don’t like the two-way mirror, go f*** yourself.”
The listed telephone number for Cigars and Stripes goes straight to a mailbox, and PIX11 is awaiting comment via email.
Despite scathing reviews on Yelp related to the mirror, Lotz made good on his promise to Jezebel to “promote the s*** out your story” and pinned it to the top of the bar’s Facebook page. While most of the Yelp comments made after the video began to circulate are outraged, one-star reviews focusing on the door, regular patrons are defending the barbecue spot.
Erin S. writes:
“CLOSET in the women’s bathroom. IT IS HARMLESS AND YOU CAN’T GET IN THE CLOSET WITHOUT ENTERING THE BATHROOM. No one is watching you do your business. Half the time the closet is unlocked and partially open. It’s just filled with mops, brooms, cleaning products, etc. NO CAMERAS. It’s a halloween themed bar and the two-way mirror was utilized as an attraction at one time.
This place has THE BEST SMOKED WINGS ANYWHERE. I’ve been coming here for years the owner is awesome and so is the staff. The beer selection is great too.”
Nick C., who says he’s been frequenting Cigars and Stripes for nine years, writes, “No one I know has ever felt uncomfortable in ANY room in the bar. People need to calm down and think logically before throwing mud around (I would gather that all of these 1 star reviews are reactionary and NOT by actual patrons, sad world we live in).
Others won’t be grabbing a beer and wings there anytime soon.
“Guess whose “Ladies Night” just dried up!” wrote Tina J. “Enjoy your new terrible reputation, you REALLY earned it.”
“Two way mirror in the bathroom? I smell a lawsuit. Sexual harassment isn’t funny,” wrote Kristin M. “These people are disgusting and deserve whatever gets handed to them.”