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Government

Berwyn mulls 2-way mirror law, Cigars and Stripes owner says mirror will probably come down

Ronnie Lottz shows what's usually behind the door with a two-way mirror in the womens washroom at his Cigars and Stripes BBQ and Lounge in Berwyn.
Ronnie Lottz shows what's usually behind the door with a two-way mirror in the womens washroom at his Cigars and Stripes BBQ and Lounge in Berwyn.

BERWYN – Berwyn’s 3rd Ward Alderman Marge Paul is seeking an ordinance that would prohibit the use of two-way mirrors in businesses. Meanwhile, the owner of the business that brought the issue to the forefront said it may be time to take the mirror down.

Paul is seeking to amend chapters 660 and 804 of the Berwyn City Code to prohibit the installation and maintenance of “two-way mirrors” or surveillance devices in commercial establishments.

Paul’s measure comes in the wake of a YouTube video posted by a comic name Tamale Rocks on April 26 that was shot in the woman’s washroom of Cigars & Stripes BBQ and Lounge, 6715 W. Ogden Ave. In the washroom is the door to a broom closet, fitted with a two-way mirror. Also in the closet is a mummy-like figure that when the light is turned on in the closet, the image of the figure is clearly seen in the mirror.

It’s an old gag that Cigars and Stripes owner Ronnie Lottz said is no surprise to his regular customers, as well as many other people in the area who have never been in the place. Lottz maintains the comic, who was performing at the bar, knew all about the mirror gag and feigned surprise and outrage for the purpose of publicity.

The video brought international attention to the mirror in the bar, as people were outraged by its presence in a woman’s bathroom.

“The two-way mirror in the ladies room of this establishment is a huge violation and an opportunity for sex crimes,” Tamale Rocks said in a statement to the Berwyn Suburban Life. 

Since the posting, Lottz said he has received countless comments through social media calling him every name in the book. And there have even been death threats as well, he said.

Police converged on the bar the day of the posting, April 26, and extensively checked the mirror and the bathroom closet to determine if any other surveillance devices were in use, such as cameras. But police found nothing to suggest the mirror was anything other than a gag, albeit to some a tasteless one. They also discovered Lottz was breaking no law by having the mirror in the washroom.

Lottz originally said he would never take the mirror down and would rather see the place burn before he caved into his critics. But on May 15, he said that might change.

“I feel I made my stand for it,” Lottz said. “I just don’t want to hinder the community. I don’t like some of the things said about Berwyn from people in other states, and that’s what it’s all about. There’s just so many people who don’t understand it.”

While Paul’s measure was on the May 12 agenda of the City Council meeting, she asked the measure be sent for legal review during the preceding Committee of the Whole meeting to determine its legality. The measure was then withdrawn from the agenda when the regular meeting convened.

“The thing that hurts is that [Tamale Rocks] knew what she was doing,” Lottz said. “I’m so proud to be in business in Berwyn. I don’t like the way people are looking at us from the outside. It just took all the fun out of it.”

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