Discrimination | Gay Bar | Maine | News | Ogunquit

Watch: Ogunquit, Maine Bar Owner Speaks Out About Homophobic Ban on Shirtless Bartenders

Late last week I posted about Mainestreet, the Ogunquit, Maine gay bar where shirtless bartenders were ordered to cover up after complaints from a local resident, citing "health hazards."

Ogunquit According to Seacoastonline.com, state health codes are currently being reviewed to see if, in fact, the bar was in violation.

"According to Article 2-402.11(B) in the state's Food Code, counter staff at an establishment serving food are not required to wear hairnets, beard restraints, hats or clothing that covers body hair. All other employees who work around open food are required to cover up.  [Dept. of Health and Human Services' PEggy] Albert said the counter exception does not apply to Mainestreet's bartenders, however."

FOX Maine reports that the owner, Normand Paquin, thinks it's homophobia: "Paquin has complied with the requests, but believes incidents like this could portray Maine as a homophobic place and deter homosexuals from vacationing here. The bar received an outpouring of support Saturday night when hundreds of people showed up. Many of them were topless in support of the waiters."

Watch the interview with Paquin, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Amazed at some of the comments here. Apparently, some of the Prudish Poofs here have never been to a bar where the bartenders are shirtless. That, or their really Church Ladies in disguise. Must be all this marriage-equality stuff.

    Sorry, Aunties, but I like a shirtless man with a nice torso serving me a drink. Hey, it's part of the culture! I suppose a case could be made that women aren't allowed to go, um, shirtless. But, I have been to a few bars where the bartendress is wearing a halter-top and it was, um, pretty hot!

    I guess what goes in New York, LA, Chi, or SF doesn't go in Maine. Too bad, all those hot, bear lumberjacks have to cover up their furryness.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 27, 2010 2:26:36 PM

  2. And yet... doesn’t Southern Maine have a topless doughnut shop where bare-breasted women serve coffee and pastries to men?

    Posted by: E | Jul 27, 2010 2:43:19 PM

  3. I think it's sad that we define our culture by taking our shirts off. I think it's demeaning to all of us for people to literally fight to be shirtless while serving drinks. Furthermore, i think it's awful that people can only have a good time at a bar if they can objectify the wait staff, i believe that kind of mentality to be creepy no matter if its a gay or a straight bar. In the end, this kind of thing is totally petty and inconsequential to gaining our equality and acceptance by the society around us.

    Posted by: ANDY IN INDY | Jul 27, 2010 3:35:16 PM

  4. Bartenders here in local bars are shirtless all the time with no fuss and no damage. Why are 'me' and 'jason' so foolishly puritanical? What's your problem with this? You can always go elsewhere if you can't stand the heat.....

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Jul 27, 2010 4:18:08 PM

  5. the angry trolls who take issue with topless bartenders are relying on a justification about rights that is unfounded and false. They aren't gonna like you any less if you act the way they want you to: invisible and asexual.

    I personally don't care for strippers, go go dancers, etc, but I don't care if a bartender goes shirtless to increase tips...nor do I care if there are strippers and go go dancers...so long as they leave me alone, other people enjoy it and they're making money...so get over yourselves.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 27, 2010 5:02:33 PM

  6. didn't watch the clip, but..

    It's dismaying to me that so many of us on here seem to feel we need to gain "acceptance" by hiding or erasing any hint of our actual sexuality . Cause, newsflash, that's the part they don't accept! And umm, that's the part that defines us as gay. And by hiding it we never confront the root of the prejudice, within or without, but choose instead to live in culturally imposed shame. And thus can never in fact gain real acceptance of who we actually are.
    I'm not interested in a "gay" movement that leaves out sexuality - it's sad and mind-boggling to me that that even has to be said.
    And by the way, shirtless male bartenders at a bar in a beach town is soooo tame and even normative in the wider culture, (though maybe not in Maine)....I am really surprised that some presumably gay men on here seem to find it risque or embarrassing. I hope that you will come to love and accept yourselves more fully.

    Posted by: hank | Jul 27, 2010 5:06:25 PM

  7. "In the end, this kind of thing is totally petty and inconsequential to gaining our equality and acceptance by the society around us."

    I hate to break it to you, Andy in Indy, but the Harriets of Maine voted against our equality even when everyone kept their shirts on. If you and Harriet don't like bars with shirtless men, don't go to them! Simple solution. Otherwise, there are many presumptions within your comment. It wasn't gay people who made this an issue, it was the petty prude squad. If you truly believe keeping your shirt on will make bigoted, meddling straight people love and accept you, you're bound to be profoundly disappointed. They won't like you any better in a turtleneck.

    The larger point of this story is not the right to bare chests, much as I enjoy a nice bare chest, preferably fur-covered, but I digress . . . The point is whether we let the narrow-minded, fun-hating Harriets of the world control what we can and cannot do in our own businesses. No one is harmed by shirtless bartenders in a BEACH town! (Trust me, there are worse sights in Ogunquit than fit bare chests--I went there every summer as a kid.) Anyone who is claiming to be harmed by this is lying, and then going to the trouble to turn those lies into public policy. We are harmed any time we send the message to controlling busybodies that we'll do what they want because their oh-so-delicate sensibilities are offended, or simply because they said so.

    To Mikemick: Cheers, with shirts off!

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 27, 2010 6:51:53 PM

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