The Real Problem with The Dome

The Dirty Dome has a dirty little secret. No, it’s not some money laundering scheme or anything necessarily illegal. However, this little secret is scary, scuzzy, vile and downright wrong. You would think that bar staff would have the safety of their patrons in mind while on their premise. There are plenty of checks in place to ensure people who are entering the bar are not too drunk, too dangerous, or too unpleasant. One would think that as a business owner you would want people to feel safe while in your bar or at a minimum, that worst case scenario, those big burly guys that have thrown us all out at some point could step in and protect people in need. The worst part? You’re probably thinking that I’m talking about some bar fight resulting from a spilled drink and some slurred zingers. That’s not even close; I’m talking about downright sexual harassment and The Domes reaction to a girl seeking refuge from an assaulter. 

My friends and I were out celebrating Keith’s birthday in Halifax. It was shaping up to be an amazing night, we arrived at The Dome at the perfect level to enjoy our time there – we all know what I’m talking about…  My friends and I wanted to go outside to get some air while a friend of ours (let’s call her Rachel) was talking to someone interested in buying her a drink. All seemed fine so we carried on our way out the door. Roughly 15 minutes later, I start getting frantic phone calls and messages from Rachel begging us to come find her. When we got back into The Dome she was visibly shook. She went on crying and explaining how this guy refused to accept no as an answer. To him, these drinks were a direct route to getting what he wanted. Now, some people say, “Well she shouldn’t have accepted the drinks in the first place” or “She was likely leading him on” but this was clearly unwanted and she made that known. This guy was grabbing at her, asking her to come home and insisting on buying her more drinks when she was visibly too drunk to start. All this said, my friends and I decided it was time to leave and that we’d take the night elsewhere. We thought surely this night could only get better. It did not. What happened in the next 30-40 minutes has forever destroyed my trust in the bouncers at The Dome and to an extent, the Halifax Regional Police.  

As we were leaving the bar, a couple of bouncers saw Rachel, who was very drunk and crying, and motioned us to the door to take her home. As this was our intention anyway we reassured the bouncing staff that we were on our way home. We ended up leaving the bar through Cheers upstairs only to realize that the girls had forgotten their jackets down at coat-check in The Dome, so Rachel and I stood outside while my friends grabbed their jackets. Rachel, still distraught from the encounter and a victim of sexual harassment, stood outside with me sobbing about the experience. It was heart-wrenching to see a friend endure something like that and I was very concerned. All of the sudden, my friend tries hiding behind me. I didn’t’t see it right away, but the guy who was harassing her actually followed us all the way from downstairs at The Dome, to outside of Cheers. As soon as I recognized him I told him he needed to go away and that these advances were unwanted by my clearly distraught friend. She went on to tell him to leave her alone and that she just wanted to go home. He then continued to try and convince her to allow him to cab home with her and he would put her to bed. At this point, I was fuming and needed to do something. I should have just socked him in the face and taken the consequences of defending my friend from an unwelcomed advance. I could have lived with that. Sadly, instead, I reached out to a bouncer who was at least twice my size and had been watching the entire event unfold. I told him point blank the story of what this pervert did downstairs and how he wouldn’t leave my friend alone. I told him that she felt uncomfortable and trapped. I simply asked for him to get this guy away from my friend. His response to me trying to protect Rachel from sexual harassment? “Doesn’t look like an issue to me.” Strike one. How the hell as someone who is supposed to protect patrons can you respond to a direct complaint of sexual harassment that you are literally witnessing by essentially saying it’s a non-issue? Rachel was clearly distraught about this situation, her friend reached out to the establishment for help in the situation and was essentially told it’s a non-issue. This in itself would have had me fuming and forever angered at The Dome, however, this story get’s much, much worse. 

After continued attempts to evade this guy, my friend finally approached the bouncer and tried to get his attention as she felt like she needed immediate help. What he does next leaves a sick taste in my mouth and a shattered perception of safety. Instead of assisting her and simply escorting her to a cab while keeping this guy away, he slams her into a wall and starts ranting to her about how she is going to the drunk tank and how she is way too drunk. The entire time my friends and I were telling the bouncer exactly what had happened and why she reached out. Regardless, he called the Halifax Regional Police and they cuffed her and threw her in the paddy wagon. At this point things were more or less out of our hands. As she was being detained, I asked to talk to the officers, as they didn’t know any of the previous stories from that night. While I understand that police officers must set an example, I shared this entire story and they still deemed it necessary to keep my friend, who had been sexually harassed, wrongfully detained and left completely alone to arrive at to the police station up the road.  

If this is how unwanted sexual advances are treated by both the authorities and bouncers I’m terrified for my friends. This is a clear example of an establishment that not only see’s sexual harassment on a regular basis but also enabling it. This bouncer single handedly allowed a girl to continue to be sexually harassed right in front of him, with testimony from her friends on the situation, visible indicators of discomfort, and eventually a blatant call for help. Not only did he stand idly by and watch this happen, he punished someone who had been through a vile and disgusting experience to the point where he inflicted physical pain and had her arrested. Is this how we respond to sexual assaults and harassment? I certainly hope for the sake of all those who attend The Dome you never have to go through what my friend did. I can’t speak for everyone but I can certainly speak for myself when I say I will never trust that establishment to keep my friends or me safe. I have seen nothing to this point to prove me wrong and I urge discretion and caution when entering The Dome. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in there where you’re left defenseless and are punished for seeking help. Be careful. 

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It’s interesting that the entire article is based around the Dome, when everything happened outside of Cheers, with one bouncer involved. You also clearly state that he didn’t see anything happen (as the incident itself happened inside the Dome), aside from the slight possibility he heard what this guy said, over the however many screaming drunk people he’s trying to watch over. It isn’t a bouncers job to protect people on the street, it’s their job to protect people in their establishment.

I’m sorry for what happened to your friend, no one should have to be treated the way the guy treated her. But if anything you should be complaining about the police not taking the complaint seriously – not the Cheers bouncer who didn’t see the incident, and certainly not the Dome itself.. Though the name Dirty Dome will likely always be in place for other reasons.

Human decency extends outside of the workplace. Bouncers are human like the rest of us – unfortunately they sometimes happen to be shitty ones. The Dome is a roach-hole of an establishment and sadly cases like this are only becoming more common.

But he did see what was happening outside of the dome/cheers when the guy followed them out if you read the article completely .

There is so many problems with the Dome bouncers! The Dome bouncers are the worst of the downtown bars. I have seen them clearly abuse their position several times, I have seen them try and take clearly wasted women back home and I have witnessed them avoid situations like the one stated in this article. She was harassed in the Dome and when told what was happened in the establishment they are supposed to protect people he should have immediately called the police on the guy who was sexually harassing.

So you left your friend alone at a bar with a random guy, and are now pissed at an entire establishment and police force because he touched her and a bouncer who wasn’t even there for it didn’t jump on the guy on your command, on your word? You even admitted that she was very very drunk…when you’re that drunk in public you go to the drunk tank. Snowflakes man.

You’re right, the bouncer didn’t jump on the guy – he instead jumped on Rachel, and slammed her into a wall. Instances of experiencing workplace brutality are not indicative of being a “snowflake”, nor are the reportings of such.

If you were in a precarious and stressful situation such as this you wouldn’t be bitching so much – you’d be grasping for a helping hand.

If a bouncer slammed a small girl into a wall there would be a court case…why wasn’t it reported to police?

Haha!! Really? A court case? No. There would not have been. Believe me, this happens all the time and they face no consequences.

Your comment clearly indicates your the “she was asking for it” kinda guy. The writer left his friend with the impression things were fine, the situation did not escalate until later. He is not at fault.
I think you need to reevaluate your moral standings.

I had a guy (whom I did not know) hit me over the head for bumping him accidentally in passing while I was in taboo. I proceeded to hit him back because fuck no don’t touch me. The bouncer proceeds to grab me to remove me from the bar. I said “didn’t you see him hit me first?” He said “yeah you probably deserved it”. So yeah I hit him too. ??‍♀️ I got dragged down the taboo stairs by my neck and then taken to the drunk tank. (I wasn’t drunk). A manager of some sort said he didn’t believe me & that the bouncer was a ‘nice guy’. I’m now barred for life.

The Dome has a reputation for a reason but the actions reported here are inexcusable. The Halifax Regional Police have gained a reputation for an “actions first, questions later” response to many issues happening in the HRM, due in part to the changing nature of the city. Drugs, crime, homelessness, and night life are all rapidly evolving within Halifax and the HRP have been apt to respond more aggressively in order to keep things civil. Unfortunately, this extends to average goers of Halifax’s nightlife.

During the Halifax Pop Explosion I was at a Lee Fields show where my friend Nigel was violently pulled from the crowd by police and immediately escorted from the premises. He was summarily accused of sexually harassing upwards of five different women within the crowd, but had been by my side for the twenty minutes we had been there. He was not charged, but he was threatened with more “decisive action” i.e, handcuffs, if he did not leave immediately. I tried to vouch for him but was told by an officer to “fuck off”, because apparently Nigel was in this on his own. Overall, things were a bit gruff, but resolved themselves in the end – Nigel and I ended the night with a beer.

A few questions remain: are the HRP overcompensating? Are they using force as a method of assertion and control in an ever-changing city? Only time will tell, but cases like these leave a bad taste in my mouth for young people experiencing Halifax’s top-knotch music scene and nightlife.

This is an absolute nightmare. I have also been sexually harassed downtown (a random guy that I clearly was not interested in followed us out and grabbed my chest) and my female friend, who is very small, had to get him off of me while the bouncers did nothing. I feel for your friend. Hopefully she recovers quickly from this.