New Yorkers will be bundled up for a chilly 34 degrees on New Year’s Eve, but those wearing fur will be refused service at three trendy establishments owned by a steadfast animal lover.
Johnny Barounis owns three upscale bars in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Upper East Side and in the East Village. Each of the establishments has a strict ban on customers wearing fur and omits certain foods like veal and foie gras from the menu.
“We tell people you are welcome to come in, but the fur stays out,” said Barounis. “I was always anti-hunting, anti-fur,” added the 51-year-old vegetarian.
The doormen at the bars even take time to inspect faux fur on coats and other clothing to make sure the items are truly fur free.
Barounis is well-educated about the cruelty the animals raised for their fur endure and is willing to share his knowledge with customers. He finds it particularly upsetting that the animals suffer just to become a “status symbol” for a person.
This has earned him both fans and critics. But after eight years, most people who come to the bars are aware of Barounis’ beliefs and policies. Only occasionally the rule catches a new customer off guard.
Barounis shared a story with DNAinfo.com about a woman who dropped by one of the bars last year and became irate at being turned away for wearing a fur coat. “She called the police and they almost locked her up for the false alarm,” said Barounis.
Fortunately most people are polite when they are told they cannot come into the bar with fur clothing. The majority simply stash the offensive item into a vehicle.
While Barounis’ policy is a step in the right direction, he realizes it is not complete. His menus include meat and he allows patrons to wear leather clothing into the bar. He rationalizes it by saying that he has stopped serving products that are particularly cruel to animals such as foie gras and veal and he believes leather is tolerable because those animals were also used for their meat and are part of the food chain.
“The fur thing is basically what I can do to help change some behavior,” concluded Barounis.
Johnny Barounis owns: Revision Bar and Gallery, the Auction House and Fetch.
Happy New Year!
Photo from asterix611 via flickr.