The Morrissey House, on Dundas Street in downtown London, is a decidedly decent place to drink. It’s a cozy, multi-room spot in a one of the classic two-storey yellow brick victorian homes for which this area is known. It has that familiar, mismatched-furniture, just-slightly-dingy vibe of a no-nonsense pub. There’s rib-sticking fare on the menu, they host things like trivia nights—it feels like a lot of other pubs you’ve visited. Except in London, it’s not really like those other pubs. That’s because, in 2014, owner Mark Serré stopped buying any draught from The Beer Store and now deals directly with local brewers. So unlike that place you’re nostalgic for from your time at University, The Mo, as its known to some who frequent it, forgoes the ubiquitous shitty lineup of Stella, Coors, and Rickards and instead boasts 18 draught options from Ontario’s craft breweries.
There is also increasing evidence that, in addition to being a quite decent place to drink, it’s run by decent people. Case in point, the Mo’s new “Mind the Gap” Mondays promotion.
On January 6th, in a blog post on The Moirrssey’s website, Serré announced that Mondays would henceforth be dedicated to bringing awareness to the gender pay equity gap in Canada. His concept is pretty simply: Because women are paid, on average, 13% less than men in this country, any woman visiting The Morrissey House on Mondays will enjoy a 13% discount on her lunch or dinner.
Now clearly this move is a couple of things: First, yes, let’s get my requisite cynicism out for the way, this is marketing. Since Serré introduced the idea on his blog, he’s enjoyed a lot of attention for the business that he owns, and it’s probably not a mistake that this weekly series will fall on a Monday, a typically slow day for hospitality. This will unquestionably improve his bottom line. So, in fact, hey, it’s good marketing.
Second though, and more importantly, it’s actually marketing that’s working to start an important conversation.
I listened to a CBC London segment on the radio Tuesday morning discussing how women might broach the conversation of the pay gap in their own workplace and the segment was a direct result of the Mo’s initiative (an article, it turns out, followed).
When I talked to Serré Tuesday evening, he told me he’s fielded interview inquiries from Toronto and Hamilton radio, has seen the story on BuzzFeed and Grub Street has had messages from Denmark and Australia. I spotted the item today on the BBC.
Hilariously, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a fragile, fragile man has already emailed the Morrissey House to complain about Serré’s promotion and has indicated that he would be submitting a claim to the Ontario Human Rights Commission over what he feels is a discriminatory promotion. Evidently this man, whom I’m speculating has a laughably small penis, is unable to see the irony in crying discrimination over the issue of one gender having different economic expectations and has likewise never heard of the concept of ladies’ nights or seniors’ discounts and must slap his nephew in his entitled little face when he gets a free desert at Jack Astor’s on his birthday. And so I wish that man and his probably minuscule pecker the best of luck in his endeavours.
Serré tells me that last night, the first Mind the Gap Monday, went extremely well. “It was a really good atmosphere,” he says. “Everyone was happy–which is not always the case. A lot of good conversation about it as well. For a snow day, especially after doing eight years of quiz where we turned diners away, I was really pleased.” [Serré made the decision to swap out a long-standing trivia night on Mondays].
In addition to the 13% discount, The Morrissey House is donating a portion of every Monday’s gross sales to local organizations like Anova, My Sisters Place, Life Spin, the London Abused Women’s Centre, and others. As for a goal, Serré’s decided on $5000 to start, and he’s already tweaked the concept: “We have a new idea that we are going to implement next week: If you do not want to take the discount, we can add the [discounted amount] to the donation.”
As for his almost-certainly shockingly poorly-endowed critic, Serré is mostly just thankful the lil’ snowflake decided to raise a stink. “The great and ironic thing,” he tells me, “is if that first guy had not voiced his displeasure and threatened the OHRC, I am pretty sure the conversation does not get started.”
Mind the Gap Mondays will also feature a rotating tap of $5.25 pints and a $5 corkage fee to bring your own bottle. Yesterday’s discounted pint was Amsterdam’s new “2018” Traditional Pilsner.
See you ladies and fellow secure male allies next Monday!