googleglassesSeattle restaurant owner Dave Meinert made headlines and sparked a heated debate earlier this year when he banned Google Glass from his 5 Point Cafe restaurant.

Now Meinert is back in the news with another Google Glass controversy, but this time it’s a little different.

Here’s the lowdown: This past Thursday, Seattle early adopter and Google Glass owner Nick Starr was eating inside Capitol Hill’s Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, another Meinhart-owned eatery.

He had already been to Lost Lake while wearing his Glass seven times prior, with one staff member even asking to try the wearable spectacles on.

But on Thursday, his waitress asked him to put away the Glass or leave, telling Starr that “owner’s other restaurant doesn’t allow Google Glass.”

Starr, aware of 5 Point’s rules, asked to see a similar policy for Lost Lake, but the waitress didn’t have one. He left, headed home and wrote about his experience in this Facebook post.

“I would love an explanation, apology, clarification, and if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination,” Starr wrote.

googleglassbanThen, just yesterday morning, Meinert replied on the post with this comment, which has garnered 50 “likes”:

“Nick — we like you, just thought it was understood that wearing Glass inside makes others uncomfortable,” Meinert wrote. “We’re not anti-Glass, they are useful in all sorts of ways. We just think there should be some rules around them. Sorry for the hassle. Please respect others.”

At about the same time Meinert posted that, Lost Lake then issued out an official Google Glass policy on its Facebook page attached with the photo above:

We recently had to ask a rude customer to leave because of their insistence on wearing and operating Google Glasses inside the restaurant. So for the record, here’s Our Official Policy on Google Glass:

We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake. We also ask that you not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology. If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave. And if we ask you to leave, for God’s sake, don’t start yelling about your “rights”. Just shut up and get out before you make things worse.

That post has more than 700 “likes,” and more than 100 comments from people on both sides of the fence, arguing over the same privacy debate that fueled intense discussions on our initial post about 5 Point Cafe’s policies.

Back in March, we noted how the 5 Point actually has its own surveillance cameras recording their patrons. We also asked people eating at the 5 Points what they thought of the restaurant’s rules. Some liked how 5 Point was protecting privacy, while others thought the ban was lame:

You might wonder why Meinert is banning Google Glass in the first place. Speaking on the Luke Burbank Show at our news partner KIRO-FM in March, Meinert admitted that part of the policy was a “joke, to be funny on Facebook, and get reaction.”

“But part of it’s serious,” he added, “because we don’t let people film other people or take photos unwanted of people in the bar, because it is kind of a private place that people go.”

On Twitter, Meinert thanked Starr for the publicity and offered to buy him a beer.

This is certainly an interesting debate that’s sure to heat up as Google Glass becomes available to the public.

Here’s Starr’s Facebook post in full:

Last night I went for dinner with my partner Brian Street after #Hashtag with Lily Armani. The nearest place was Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge. We have been there a number of times and have had breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner there. Every time I’ve worn Google Glass. I even had staff ask me about it and to check it out.

Last night when we arrived we were sat at a table in the middle of the restaurant after our IDs were checked. We begin looking at the menu and a woman who works there comes up to us and tells me that the owner’s other restaurant doesn’t allow Google Glass and that I would have to either put it away (it doesn’t fold up btw) or leave.

I inform her that I am well aware of the policy at The 5 Point Cafe but asked to see where it was policy for Glass to be disallowed at Lost Lake. She said she couldn’t provide any and when asked to speak with management she stated she was the night manager. I again inform her that the two venues are different and have different policies. She refuses and I leave.

As we are leaving Brian points out that on the menu ( they state “Post photos on our website via Instagram by using #LostLake.” So how is an establishment which is REQUESTING photos be taken, not allow me to bring a device which takes photos and can post to Instagram?

I would love an explanation, apology, clarification, and if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination.

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  • Guest

    Nice! Lost Lake is a great restaurant and I, for one, am glad that they are exercising their right to be free of Glassmen.

    This whole incident, by the way, would have been averted if the Glassman simply were to have complied with the servant’s request that the Glassman discontinue use of Glass. It’s not like Glass is a medical device without which the Glassman could not continue to live, after all.

    In conclusion, kudos to Lost Lake for successfully principalizing their perogatives. Just as I advise all startups to do so, they truly “live the talk.”

    • Stephen J

      On the days after the anniversary of our President, you think we’d push for more peer recordings than continue to insist that we’re only watched by big brother style cameras.

    • Emmanuel Ruvalcaba

      so somehow glass is more invasive than every cell phone that can take stealth pictures or video now a days? grow up. no one cares what you look like drinking whatever.

      • Terry Yanto

        My thoughts exactly. I understand the desire for privacy, but they as well ban cellphones from inside use (unless they already have). It just seems that Meinhert is being a “douche” here.

  • Christopher Budd

    I don’t know if this is the right policy or not, but I do think we’re at a point around technology where polices (and more importantly manners) put some boundaries in place around the use of technology in public and social settings. So at least this is a start to that discussion.

    Personally I would find someone wearing Google Glass while I’m talking with them incredibly rude. I’d probably end the conversation. If you won’t focus on me you’re not worth my time and attention.

    Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

    • Guest

      Well said, 100% right.

      • Christopher Budd

        Thank you!

    • Cody Hoover

      Just because the glass are on doesn’t mean they aren’t focusing on you. The very fact that they are glasses that can be seen through shows that they are meant to be worn and ignored most of the time, and only used when necessary. Would you request that a person wearing a smart-watch take it off just to talk to to you? It’s pretty obvious if a person is waving their hand next to their temple to control the glass. Otherwise they are going to be looking you in the eyes and paying attention

      • Guest

        Cody, I don’t know whether you’re paying attention to me when you have that ridiculous contraption over your eyes. Look at me and, so that I know you’re paying attention to me, remove your apparatus.

        The smartwatch analogy is flawed. When you’re on a date with me, you are not to check a watch of any sort whilst conversing with me, whether it is smart or stupid. That’s an indication that you are uncomfortable. The same goes for mobile phones (regardless of intelligence thereof), game consoles, tablets, compus, and smartshoes.

        • Benjamin Ahn Ahn Liu

          Very demanding. I don’t think I want to go on a date with you.

        • Datrebor

          I looked at some pictures of this and you can see both eyes and should be able to tell if they are paying attention to you or not.

        • Johnny Le

          I find Glass very similar to normal glasses so I’m insulted that you called it a ridiculous contraption. You must think regular glasses are ridiculous as well.

          And as for being on a date, when your date is uncomfortable and checking their mobile device, they are giving you a hint that you’re not very interesting. You should have tried a little harder.

  • Ricky89

    I think this says it all about this guy “that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination,”. Sad day when customers wearing google glass start demanding employees be fired because they feel uncomfortable around them. If I was a server, I would ask them to be removed as well.

  • Guest

    Wow… Starr is really blowing this out of proportion. He’s acting like a child. I’m definitely on Lost Lake’s side on this one.

    • Austin Bennett

      So you haven’t met Nick Starr? Lucky you. I can’t say the same.

  • firewallender

    How is this different from a coffee shop having a “no cellphones” policy? I see that all over Seattle. You have a right to not purchase from that vendor, and the vendor has a right to not sell to you. It’s not like it’s discrimination against a race or sexuality or something else a person can’t control.

    If he doesn’t like the policy, he can vote with his dollar and his feet and instagram some other restaurant elsewhere. If there is a legitimate market for a place where people are free of “Glassmen” then this place and its policy will do well. If not, they will end up changing the policy. Huzzah, free markets!

  • Derek Johnson

    We’ll look back 10 years from now and say, “remember when that restaurant thought they could ban people from wearing wearables… If a restaurant tried that nowadays, they would lose all their customers immediately, as everyone has some form of a wearable on.” $100 though that this guy takes their new policy to mean that if he walks in and announces that he’s wearing Google Glass and no one has an issue, then he’s ok :)

    • rick gregory

      I doubt it. Look at how few people constantly wear Bluetooth headsets which are much less obvious. I simply don’t think we’ll see a lot of people walking around with wearables that sit on their faces. Wearables in general? Possibly, but we need to find a reason that resonates with normal folk. Cutting edge technophiles will always love this kind of thing, but most of the people I know simply wouldn’t wear these consistently partly out of self-consciousness, partly because they don’t really scratch any important general desire.

      • guest

        Indeed. What I see happening, and swiftly, is that if this tech does take off (which is doubtful as it is really quite distracting, rude, uncomfortable to wear – according to a couple of reviews I have read – and mostly pointless, unless you are some sort of deviant who enjoys filming people you should not be filming) it will be banned on public transport, aeroplanes, decent restaurants, movie theatres and so on. It will become a toy you have to constantly remove to be allowed admittance to polite society. I guess only time will tell.

      • Darrel Dent

        I don’t think the Bluetooth analogy is appropriate because Bluetooth headsets only do one thing – allow you to talk on the phone. I have a Bluetooth headset and I don’t use it much either. But, like a large and growing number of smartphone users, talking is the thing I do on my Galaxy Note 3 the least. But I’m on it constantly, at least hourly from the time I wake up until I go to bed. Oh yeah, and it’s my alarm clock. Google Glass can, or will soon, allow you to perform many of the same functions without having to pull the phone out of your pocket. I believe that there’s a much wider audience than you think (and I’m sure Google does as well or they wouldn’t have made the investment). For the most part, I agree with Derek. Maybe not everyone will be wearing tech, but enough will be that businesses will think twice about turning them away. And once the second generation comes along and the tech is virtually invisible (you know it’s coming), the possibility of banning it simply goes out the window.

    • Guest

      Red Mill Burgers still has a no cell phone policy while in their locations (been over 10 years). Needless to say, they’re doing pretty well and still enforce the no cell phone policy.

      • PH

        Then why doesn’t Lost Lake have a no cell phone policy along with the no Glass policy?

    • johnhender

      It must be nice going out with a glass hole who can’t pay attention to who they are with so they have these. Look at the good part the tools will be easy to spot maybe we will get lucky and google will take his glasses back

  • adamsidiali

    Meinert sounds like a complete douche, and in case you didn’t realize it was pretty obvious that Lost Lake didn’t even have a no-glass policy before this happened. As a Glass user and a 5Point regular, it saddens me to see people discriminate against glass users as “rude, obnoxious, arrogant, douchey” just because theyre using a new experimental technology that looks slightly “different”. IMO Meinert’s just jealous he can’t get a pair…suckaa.

    • Guest

      Look Adam, you can wear your g-glasses all you want, however the rest of us
      cannot tell what you are doing behind those frames and it creeps some
      people out.

      Simple common curiosity would dictate that if person A
      feels uncomfortable by something person B is doing and asks person B to
      stop person B should stop whatever it is they is making person A
      uncomfortable (at least in a public location). We all have to live on
      this rock together so why make it more difficult for each other when you
      can simply put the toy away for an hour.

      • adamsidiali

        I totally understand, however your logic is flawed seeing that person A is probably doing something just as uncomforting as person B wearing google glass is..

        Many people have already made the argument that you can just as easily and discreetly take a pic/video from a phone of anyone you want, but you don’t see the 5 Point banning iPhones? No. Just because it’s a minority of people that want a freedom to use their device when they want where they want, now it becomes a problem of comfortability? If the majority of people were using GGlass, you wouldn’t see people complaining about being uncomfortable just because they don’t know what something is.

        And it’s not like they can silently just start recording or take a picture. They have to literally speak out and say “Take a Picture” or video…which obviously gives it away to the immediate general vicinity as to what’s going on.

        All of this crap assumes that the people who are using Glass are criminal minded, or at least more so than the average Joe on his mid range smartphone (that can do more than the glass, mind you) that’s sitting right next to you as well. In fact, at least the glass guy had to pay $1500 for that sucker so you know they at least are going somewhere in life to be able to afford something like that.

        • rick gregory

          “Many people have already made the argument that you can just as easily and discreetly take a pic/video from a phone of anyone you want, but you don’t see the 5 Point banning iPhones?”

          However a) you don’t see people holding phones up constantly and scanning around and b) most people leave the phone on the table or in a pocket so it’s not obtrusive.

        • william trent

          Or he may spend all his money on expensive toys and end up going nowhere.

          • johnhender

            After his little tirade what employer in their right mind would hire him. Maybe we’ll get luck and someone will cram his google glasses down his throat.

      • adamsidiali

        I obviously don’t have any problem with the no-glass policy, as I go there quite often and also use glass daily. I just find it frustrating when people who just don’t know what glass is start pulling out the pitchforks at Glass users for no reason whatsoever. Yeah, this Nick guy should have just followed the rules or eaten somewhere else. But I dont think it’s mature at all to be sitting here calling glass someone’s toy, or belittling them for using a technology that you probably can’t even get. Some people need to just grow up.

        • guest

          Nice, playing the “mature” card after calling the owner a douche. You sound like foul mouthed little kid annoyed that you can’t play with your toy at the dinner table.

          FYI the biggest douche in this story is Starr calling for the server to be fired.

          • PH

            Starr shouldn’t have been given trouble, there literally was no policy in place, and it’s just like having a cell phone out of your pocket, and apparently those are allowed at the restaurant.

        • Sgliveslikeag-man

          I know like when I want to carry my AR15 around in the café everyone is like why dude? but really it’s just the same deal here is it not?

    • calzoneous

      Would love it if 5Point could come up with a reason to ban you too

    • william trent

      IMO Nick Starr is a jerk, but most tech geeks are self-absorbed, arrogant twits. And saying that Meinert’s jealous of this kid is a typical argument when someone stands up to obnoxious, rude, entitled behavior. “Oh, he’s just jealous.”

  • hexxuss

    All the restaurants just need to post a simple sign like they always have had in the past. “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

  • Michael Brian Bentley

    Movie theater staff don’t like you carrying recording equipment into the theatre, but most people are so equipped these days. It is usually straightforward to tell when they are being used to record the movie. When they sit in someone’s pants pocket, they can’t record the visual presentation. If they were in a breast pocket, they might be used to record the visuals, but are probably not in the best orientation to do so.

    With Google Glass, you can’t tell when you’re not wearing them whether they are being used to record at any given moment, but they are positioned to record whatever they’re aimed at, at any time.

    When you bring recording equipment somewhere, be prepared to be told to put the gear away such that your host is granted the confidence that a record is not being made. Otherwise, expect to be asked to leave.

    Less geeky-looking devices, ones that look like a regular pair of glasses, will not currently incite suspicion, but if incidents occur to drive event management to protect their assets and install gear detectors or even gear preemption devices, I would not be terribly surprised.

    On the whole, I find DRM for video content makes the output of the entire video content industry a pain in the neck to use.

  • guest

    Well done. I genuinely believe an insistence on wearing this ridiculous, intrusive and unnecessary tech is going to cause deaths. Just imagine the reaction of a parent to some weirdo wearing these while they are seated on a train in front of children. They are – at best – a punch in the face waiting to happen. And frankly, if you insist on wearing them, whatever happens to you as a result is your own doing.

    • Sersoft

      “I genuinely believe an insistence on wearing this ridiculous, intrusive and unnecessary tech is going to cause deaths”

      “if you insist on wearing them, whatever happens to you as a result is your own doing.”

      this is why me and many other tech geeks are skipping glass and moving on, directly to the occulus rift!

      Fuck participating in a society where people are so self-entitled and scared of change, that they will threaten to physically harm others out of fear of being recorded or photographed.

      In case you’re still living under a rock, glass has an LED that indicates if a video or picture is being taken, so put your guns away, no need to kill anyone over this.

  • disqus_QiGjGYQek0

    If I should find that I was recorded and my picture was posted online without my consent, I will sue whomever it is that did it. I will then also sue Google because it is my belief that they should recognize this as a problem and are taking no discernible action to warn users that they may be violating other people’s rights. In fact, they seem to be encouraging the violation and turning the other way. Since this is blatant neglect, they could be in big trouble if a bunch of lawyers and people who had their rights violated ban together in a massive class-action suit. I would be very surprised if google doesn’t pull the plug on this by next year. The battle is going to get very contentious and as people are caught photographing and recording kids, I think Google glass users are going to get beaten and maybe killed. If I can foresee this as a reasonable outcome of using Google glass, then so should Google’s lawyers. This is where the neglect comes into play.

  • DevourCatering

    I agree with the ban

  • LarryCohen2014

    Google Glass is horrible for privacy. That thing should be banned everywhere and Google should not be trusted since they’ve become an EVIL CORPORATION!

  • Kim Fung-Toi

    WHY are so many people giving an OBVIOUS attention seeker the attention they crave? Stop validating douche bags. They are narcissistic and jealous of any attention that others get, even if that has been a result of a violent act. Reminds me of Travis Walters from Odessa and Austin, Texas

  • Gee

    Google glass kind of reminds me of those middle age men that walk around with a big wad of keys and a phone holder hanging off their trouser belts. They’re just creepy. I also must add that the sense of entitlement that Nick Starr is exhibiting is also really unattractive. To think he has suggested that someone lose their job over it is equally so.

    • Darrel Dent

      Uh, what exactly is creepy about keys and a phone holder? I have always hated anything hanging from my belt, so that’s not my issue. I just wouldn’t think twice about a guy I saw like that and I honestly wonder why you find them creepy.

    • Terry Scott

      good thing you weren’t around in the 70s when I wore my pocket protector. young immature creeps give me the heebeejeebees.

  • Melissa Dingmon

    We met this guy yesterday. He lived up to his online reputation and was a complete jerk:

    • Darrel Dent

      I don’t know him, but from what I’ve read he’s not the most personable guy you’ll ever meet. But as for him being a “Glasshole,” do I need to state the obvious? You took his picture. It’s highly unlikely he took yours.

  • Tom H. C. Anderson

    My take on it

    Obviously restaurant owner was looking for free PR. Shortsighted and a little rude. You can tell his attitude when you read between the lines.

  • Smashing McCoolname

    I love how people think that Google Glass is the first piece of technology to do this. Pivothead Glasses can even be used for this same thing. Or get some LawMate discreet glasses with a portable DVR.

    PIs have been doing it for years and will continue doing it. If somebody wants to record somebody else in your establishment, they will do so without being detected. The only threat posed by “glassholes” is catching something funny and then bombarding their 34 social networks with “omfg this is so specialllllll #yolo #eatinginseattle #cantfindmykeys #hashtag”

    • Darrel Dent

      “The voice of reason.”

  • Pyro

    Count one more lost customer here!

  • jrista

    I think Dave Meinert is entirely within his rights to ban the use of this kind of technology. His goal is to protect the privacy of his customers, and to create an atmosphere of privacy where patrons do not have to fear that any of their behavior or words might end up on the internet as the butt of some inane or insulting joke.

    Personally, I hope other restaurant owners follow suit. I am not old, I am one of the early adopters of the internet, part of the generation from the early 1990’s that helped pioneer it. I was developing web sites in the mid 1990’s, writing Java applets, things like that. I am intimately familiar with the net, and yet, the kind of unfettered open access to EVERYTHING about not only people’s own personal lives, but the personal lives of everyone around them, is extremely disturbing to me. Privacy is disappearing, and private individuals who might wish to keep their personal dealings and issues private are losing the ability to control it. I think that is a dangerous trend, especially when everyone, from megacorporations to governments, are not only watching, but keeping copies, of every interaction that occurs everywhere.

    We NEED privacy. Privacy, private ownership, the right to live your live without every minute being recorded and published online, is a critical part of having a healthy society. How many times recently has social media blown minor issues out of proportion…cost people their jobs, their relationships, when in the majority of cases, the issues were personal and private? I truly applaud Dave Meinert for his efforts to create an atmosphere of privacy in his establishments. More power to him! I hope many other establishments will follow suit.

    Arguments about the fact that the facility has security cameras that watch everything, or that being hypocrytical, are simply grasping at straws. Security cameras are in a growing majority of facilities, from grocery stores to bars to banks and everything inbetween. No one fears that security recordings of their intimate moments with significant others, or that possible lovers quarrel, taken with a security camera will end up on the internet. There is a key fundamental difference between video taken by someone with Google Glass, and the video recorded by a facilities security cameras. Trying to draw parallels is pointless and naive.

  • Ben Tousey

    I totally agree with the one guest who pointed out the difference in intent regarding the surveillance cameras.
    First of all, the “reporter” was clearly leading his interview by the way he phrased the question. He wanted the respondents to say something to the effect that ‘banning Google Glasses was stupid,’ and over and over again kept trying to coerce his interviewees to say this. If they didn’t, he coached them.

    But this is where one of the respondents made the best point, and that was “intention” behind those surveillance cameras. Yes, the restaurant has surveillance cameras in the store. But those cameras are for the protection of the store… AND NOTHING ELSE! They won’t end up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of these other sites.

    I’ve never heard of Nick Starr, but based of what I’ve been reading about him lately, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw my armpit. He’s clearly a self-aggrandizing, self-serving, narcissist, and the last thing I would ever want is an individual like that taking pictures of me.
    I have no idea how he’s going to manipulate and distort that information, where that information is going to end up, how it’s going to be used.

    People always say that “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” But how do I know that someone like Nick Starr isn’t going to twist and manipulate that information… remember what James O’Keefe did when he went after Acorn?

    As far as I’m concerned this story has many facets: privacy is foremost among them, but so is who I can trust with those types of implements, and what they’re willing to do with them. Once something is out on the “net,” it’s there forever, and can never be stopped.

  • kissmychub

    “asked to see a policy” … Here’s my policy: Get out, douchebag.

  • Tom Connelly

    Well, that’s nothing compared to the guy who got detained and searched
    for 4 hours by the Feds for wearing his Google Glass to the movies…

  • Don Mason

    That last bit “…if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night
    and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her
    pay or her termination.” shows what a self-involved idiot this guy is. What a douche-bag thing to suggest.

  • Adam Gering

    Please refrain from using the term glasshole to refer to anyone wearing google glasses. It’s beyond rude.

  • vetipie

    Google glass is invasive, and douchey….The more places that ban it the better.

  • Weej

    Poor little “Butt Hurt” Glasshhole.

    Look at me! I spent $1,500 on a wearable!!!

    Look at me…..


  • Weej

    Also reminds me of the Washington Square Bar where the barman would ask you to turn your phone off while imbibing a drink or so. If you phone rang, he would ENSURE that it was clean by running it through the dishwasher for you.

    Nice to be free FROM this type of constant mechanical intrusion.

  • Guest

    Just wanted to give another perspective here…

    People can have different opinions about different things. What sets one apart from another is… being able to handle the situation in a professional manner. The way both of them went after another was quite disappointing, especially these lines.

    “that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination” :
    not thoughtful but trying to look like one? reminds me of that case where harvard business professor went after a chinese restaurant.

    “Would love to buy you a beer at Lost Lake or The 5 Point. Just, you know, no Glasses.”” Just try to make them not as douchey looking as Google made theirs.” :
    found these lines quite condescending and unprofessional, is this really how you address your customer?

    Please remember to respect one another and be grown ups. Sometimes people forget that because they think they are so much better than others.

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