The days of getting free drinks for wearing a dress, lipstick or other feminine accouterments are coming to an end. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission recently pointed out that so-called “Ladies Night” promotions at bars are illegal. The promotions offer free drinks to women in an effort to lure men into their establishments. Lynn Walding, the administrator of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, says many bars haven’t stopped the promotions — and will get a final notice. He says several retailers in Des Moines continue to use the promotions and they will get a notice that they’ll be subject to penalties if they keep it up after August 1st. Some bars have tried to get around the issue by not using the phrase “Ladies Night” — instead they offer free drinks to people wearing lipstick. Walding says that still breaks the rules. He says anything that’s gender-based — so “lipstick night or high heels night, or skirt night” are all violations under Iowa’s Civil Rights Laws. Walding says some bars want to balance out the promotions, but he says that won’t get them around the law. Bar owners asked if they could provide a mens’ night one night and womens’ night the next. Walding says the law doesn’t allow equal opportunity discriminators. Walding says the gender-based promotions have to stop. He says the practice is best like the Kool and the Gang disco song “Ladies Night” — left back in the ’70s. Walding says establishments that continue with the promotions after August 1st face fines and the possible loss of their liquor license.
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