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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Willows, a Fun Pub in SOMA, Bans Google Glass (Update)

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 11:47 AM

  • Broke-Ass Stuart

Update: The Willows owner calls us back, explains his logic. Read at the bottom of the story.

If you thought the stand off between Google Glass and San Francisco's favorite watering holes was over, you thought wrong.

The Willows, the super chill gastropub in SOMA, has decided Google Glass-wearing techies are persona non grata at the bar as long as they're donning the wearable computers, according to this image snapped by Broke-Ass Stuart the other day.

We called The Willows to find out whether Google Glass is a real problem there, or if this is just a preemptive measure, considering the craziness that went down at Molotov's in the Lower Haight last week.

The woman who answered the phone at The Willows told us she wasn't the right person to comment officially on the Google Glass issue at their bar, but confirmed the sign indeed went up last week. That was about the same time Molotov's was in the news after Sarah Slocum, a local tech writer, claimed she had been attacked at the punk rock bar while showing off her Google Glass to another patron.

According to Slocum, some dudes at the bar ripped her the glasses of her face and a fight ensued. It ended with Slocum getting robbed. Apparently, the drama started because the guys were disturbed by the fact that they could be recorded by the wearable computer.

Techies, stay tuned.

Update 1:07 p.m.

Tim Ryan, co-owner of The Willows, called us back and calmly explained what was going on with the new Google Glass policy. Last week, at the height of the Molotov's drama, the staff over at the pub got together and decided not to allow Google Glass-wearing customers. The next day, a man came to the bar wearing Google Glass and got upset when the bartender asked him to remove it. "He stormed out and gave us a one-star review on Yelp," Ryan tells us.

So Ryan and his sister/co-owner Liz decided to make a blanket written policy that all customers must remove their Google Glass before coming into the establishment.

"They can come into the bar, they just can't be actively wearing them and filming -- it doesn't seem like the thing to be doing," Ryan says. "I don't know what laws, if any, exist in terms of recording in public ... but in talking to our customers a lot of them are like it doesn't seem right if someone is looking around and recording everything and they don't know what's going to happen with it, and we don't what's going to happen with it."

"So it seems like a safe policy," Ryan adds.

And one that seems to be getting nothing but positive feedback from customers, he says. When we asked Ryan why he was still letting cellphone-using customers in -- who can also use their mobiles to record patrons -- he explained that they're totally "different animals."

"With Google Glass it's surreptitious," Ryan says. "If they're recording on their phone, you can see it."

The same policy applies to Ryan's other bar, The Sycamore, which is located in the Mission.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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