Single Girls Guide promotes safety and respect for women while dining

Are you a single lady? Or just a woman who wants to visit an establishment alone, knowing she is safe and in good company? Enter Single Girls Guide, the site we've all been waiting for.
With #metoo and the Time's Up Campaign absorbing much of the nation's consciousness, as well as the headlines and red carpet statements, local businesses and organizations are also stepping up to address the need for equality, respect, and safety for women.

One such service seeks to articulate the many times unconscious categorization that women practice while frequenting local establishments, answering questions like, "are the streets well lit near this restaurant," "where can I park," and, "how will I be treated when I order a drink at the bar by myself?"

Single Girls Guide, an entirely volunteer-run service launched in Grand Rapids this past Tuesday, aims to cut through the noise of subjectivity by providing a clear-cut rating system for bars, restaurants, cafes, and other dining establishments. Founded by local chef Liz Martin, Single Girls Guide is just that—a guide for women to assist in determining where they will feel safe and respected.

Martin, who saw the need for this type of categorization herself, first started the site with subjective commentary. However, she quickly found the need for a quantitative system that would eliminate personal bias. Reaching out to "pretty much every woman" she knew, Martin received 100-150 responses to the question, "What are the biggest measurable things you find yourself subconsciously paying attention to when you think about you, as a woman, in a venue?"

What resulted was a 100-point, "cohesive and easy-to-read" system that "starts that dialogue," says Martin. Utilizing a standard, 20-30 question survey that each reviewer utilizes when visiting a particular establishment, Martin can easily collect the information and assign a point value. The survey includes everything from "getting there," to "general vibe," to how comfortable members of the LGBTQ community may (or may not) feel.

The guide launched on Tuesday of this week and already has 33 reviewed establishments, including the Lantern Coffee Bar & Lounge, Reserve, and The Elbow Room Grill.

Though the site is years in the making, Martin can't help but feel serendipitous about her timing, launching when the nation and the world are finally becoming conscious about women's safety and respect.

"I think this comes at a hugely opportune moment because restaurants, eating, and drinking are such an integral part of our daily lives as a whole. In general it's one place that tends to get overlooked when we think about that conversation surrounding women," says Martin. "This is a really good opportunity to bring that aspect to women's daily lives into the national focus that's really getting attention."

Though she has big plans for expansion to Chicago and Denver, and later New York and LA, she isn't seeking a big paycheck. "My goal with starting this was not to turn it into financial gain really," says Martin, whose real goal is to make others aware of the "Sexual harassment that women have to face every day."

If you're interested in reviewing for Single Girls Guide, check out their website:

Images courtesy of Single Girls Guide.
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