Are These Hotel Restaurant Napkins Funny, or Inappropriate?

a plate of food with sauce and vegetables
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An upscale boutique called The Vincent Hotel in Southport is often fully booked for weddings. It stands to reason, then, that their onsite bar and restaurant keep quite busy.

There is even a warning on their website that while they are happy to welcome wedding and hotel guests at the bar, smart casual attire is required and admission to the bar is not always guaranteed.

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The acclaimed Vincent cafe restaurant has even been recognized by The Times as being one of the Top 10 Coolest Restaurants in Britain.

Recently though, an article in Visitor tells of a local woman by the name of Pauline Atherton who visited the restaurant and was not impressed at all.

While the food was likely fantastic, she took offense at the napkins being used which have been used by the restaurant for several years.

Made out to a Vincent cab driver the napkin have a fill-in area for address, and have check boxes where you can tick off where the cabbie can find cash for the ride. Options include “my bag” and “my trousers”, but also some such as “my bra”, “my boxer shorts”, and “my skirt”.

a white paper with black text

a paper with black text and black squares
Photo credit: Liverpool Echo

Ms. Atherton reportedly said that she though the napkins were –

“insulting and massively politically incorrect. The wording suggests that Southport taxi drivers have permission to search drunken ladies bras and thongs. I rather think that type of ‘joke’ is not at all appropriate in 2017”

The napkins are addressed to a “Vincent cab driver” and instructs them to “look for cash” in various items which customers can select – including bra, boxer shorts, skirt and thong.

She reportedly spoke with the hotel management and was told that it was just a joke, and then contacted the press about the issue.

I haven’t been to The Vincent Cafe or Hotel, but am assuming these napkins were used for cocktails rather than for a sit-down dinner. I am curious if readers think they are offensive?

If I was handed one in the swanky restaurant in lieu of a cloth napkin I would think it out of place, but if handed to me with a glass of wine or a cocktail I would simply find it funny.

Insensitive? Perhaps, but inline with the restaurant and bar’s reputation. The restaurant and bar are mentioned as being “trendy” in online forums, and the restaurant repeatedly receives 4.5 stars in reviews.

I do understand that there are unfortunately cases in which cabbies do take advantage of their riders, but the restaurant intended the napkins to be just a joke. (Top photo credit: The Vincent Restaurant)

What do you think, are these napkins inappropriate or simply funny?

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  1. It has been politically incorrect to reference my boxer shorts for decades. The unmitigated gall of them!! (sarcasm off)

  2. Insensitive, maybe. With so many women thathave stories of #metoo it is maybe time to move away from jokes like this.

  3. I could not agree with most comments, it’s really funny. And not offensive.
    Ms. A will not go to this bar/ restaurant, she should go to a fast food chain and eat food and get a drink there. Happy? Ms A?

  4. I think it’s hilarious for a bar. On top of that, it’s a gentle way of reminding people to get a ride if you’ve been drinking. Nothing inappropriate about it at all.

    Does Ms Atherton really believe the drivers would seriously look for the car fare in these areas? She just felt the need to gritch about something. . Get real.

  5. I find the general lack of sense of humor, as well as the automatic leap to offense, these days exhausting. Can’t anything be silly or fun anymore? I’m female and old and am not offended in the least by this attempt at levity.

  6. Inappropriate – Joke or no joke, a place that claims casual elegance, need not use suggestive “humor” as a means of levity.

    1. Sounds to me like the management there knows exactly what they’re doing. It’s a bar. Relax and stop being so thin-skinned.

    1. James, that does seem likely, as otherwise I’d think that if she didn’t like the napkins she’d just not go back to that restaurant again. Funnily enough, with her going to the media it just might have brought extra business to the restaurant.

  7. I find them very funny. Obviously, the premise is a joke. Were it serious, I’d be much more inclined to take issue.

    1. Christian, thanks for chiming in. It’s immediately obvious to me that it is a joke, but I wonder if Ms. Atherton understood the same when she first got her napkin.

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