San Francisco’s only current representative on a popular list of the World’s 50 Best Bars, Trick Dog, is lending its voice to a chorus of drinking establishments speaking out against the list’s decision to honor German bartender Charles Shumann. Originally the recipient of the Industry Icon of 2019 award at a ceremony in London last week, Schumann has returned his award to organizers in response to backlash over his repeated and public remarks disparaging women in bars.
In particular, critics have pointed to a comment purportedly made by Schumann that there was “no place for a woman behind the bar after 3 p.m.” He’s also voiced disdain for women in interviews with the German edition of Playboy magazine and in TV and film interviews.
The decision to honor Schumann despite his previous comments “makes unignorable the [World’s 50 Best] organization’s lack of inclusion,” write representatives for Trick Dog, the 2013-opened SF cocktail bar operated by Bon Vivants Hospitality team Josh Harris and Morgan Schick. A longtime recipient of the award, it’s currently ranked at number 43 on the list.
Other industry groups, like Speed Rack, a competition for female bartenders, have led criticism of the list this week. “To us, an industry icon paves the way forward for our community, fostering inclusivity and making waves that drive ripples of change in its wake. Schumann’s actions certainly have not demonstrated that,” co-founders Lynette Marrero and Ivy Mix wrote in Speed Rack’s post on Instagram.
The World’s 50 Best Bars list is owned and organized by William Reed Business Media. They’re also the group behind the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, which has courted its own criticism for excluding women and designating a “best female chef” award that many female chefs have called insulting. This year, representatives for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list announced that its panel of more than 1,000 voters had achieved gender balance, but it once again awarded just five spots to female chefs, the same as the previous year.
There’s much less transparency, however, in the voting process for the Best Bars list. The last published panel of voters featured just 35 women out of more than 300, a source told Imbibe. And the panel’s oversights go beyond its glaring choice to honor Schumann: They’re also reflected in a list of bars mostly run by men.
“We would like to be proud of this award, but cannot claim to be while the list of recipients does not resemble the full array of hospitality professionals who we respect, honor, and revere,” representatives for Trick Dog concluded.