Queer owner of wizard-themed pub shuts down anti-trans review

The owner of an international chain of witch and wizard-inspired cocktail bars has hit back against an anti-trans review of one of their locations.

A review posted on Sunday (16 June) accused The Cauldron Pub, a chain of magic-inspired cocktail bars, of “forcing” its views about trans people on the guests.

The reviewer wrote that they had the “highest hopes” for the pub, but were seemingly appalled when their host, whose identity was not revealed “forced his pronouns on us and ruined the entire experience.”

“Couldn’t even choose your own drink,” the reviewer added. “He was the worst man I’ve ever met, from his Adam’s apple to his tiny bulge.”

The bizarre review was acknowledged in a post on Instagram and TikTok by The Cauldron Pub, alongside the chain’s owner Matthew Cortland.

Cortland said to PinkNews that the review was shocking, but unsurprising, adding that they believe it “illustrates the hateful, bigoted, and oftentimes scary nonsense that trans and non-binary people have to deal with.”

“As the queer co-founder and owner of The Cauldron, it’s part of my job to make our wizard-themed venues as inclusive as possible for all people, and especially for trans people,” Cortland continued. “It’s literally in our mission statement, and I’m incredibly proud of our team members and managers.

“We saw this review come in and my co-founder and I wanted to very clearly denounce it while also showing support for our team members.”

The cocktail bar reiterated its support for trans and non-binary people in the social media post, noting that the individual had amended the review “after it flagged for hate speech.”

Cortland added in the post, which also showed a picture of them wearing a trans-inclusive T-shirt, that it was a reminder as to “why it’s important to create safe spaces for queer people.”

“As a founder, I often get asked about why creating inclusive spaces is part of our mission statement,” they wrote. “But as a queer person who owns a chain of wizard bars, I would hope that it’s fairly obvious: the magical world should be inclusive.

“I’m so proud that our team members are comfortable being their true selves and use the pronouns with which they identify, that our managers cultivate safe spaces for their team and guests, and that the majority of our guests actively celebrate and respect that.”

They told PinkNews that they strive to fight back against the “hateful dialogue” of trans-inclusivity in fantasy.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team members and managers,” Cortland said. “And a special thank you to the team member in question, who gave us permission to post the review.”

Commenters replying to the TikTok post agreed that the bizarre review appeared to make no justifiable criticisms of the bar and instead resorted to insults.

“How is your package and Adam’s apple at all relevant oh my god,” one user wrote. “That customer is insane.”

“Whoa, been there multiple times and never had any issues whatsoever. Sounds like this dude’s got personal problems.”

Cortland finished by urging people to show support for queer-owned businesses and thanking their “wonderful team of witches, wizards, and non-binary magical beings behind the magic.”

They also noted that several of The Cauldron Pub’s chains, including those in Chicago, Brighton, East London, Central London, and New York City, are all serving Pride-themed cocktails all month.

Cocktails include the “Glitter and be Gay”, the “Garden of Secrets,” the “Sharing is Caring (Polycule),” and more.

“Try the trans flag shot – it’s fierce,” Cortland said.

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