Another Strip Club Planned For Shoreditch?

It is rumoured that Spearmint Rhino, the American lap dance chain that have recently opened big clubs on Tottenham Court Road and in Harrow, have bought DK’s bar in Curtain Road. They won’t be planning to open up another trendy bar for the rich young artists, they will be looking to open up as a strip club.
We’ve already got thirteen strip bars in or within five minutes walk of this area. Nowhere else in London has this concentration. The Spearmint Rhino proposal would be for a huge club which is going to attract even more people. As well as attracting more men, it would attract prostitutes and muggers to the area.

As of today, Hackney Council’s entertainment licensing section have only received an application for music and dancing. There has been no application for the licence needed for a lap-dancing club.

Hackney Independent is already on record as saying that “we will oppose any new strip bars coming, and will look to oppose the licenses of the existing ones being renewed in future.” (Spring 2001 newsletter). We do not oppose them on moral grounds. Our opposition is based on the fact that these bars attract mainly City workers who come out drunk and looking for prostitutes. A number of local women have been hassled by these City workers.

The Tottenham Court Road branch of Spearmint Rhino has been in constant breach of its licensing terms. A police report has even stated that “activity in the club … borders on offences of prostitution … and managing/assisting/permitting the keeping of a brothel.”

The police go on to say that at a meeting with table dancers employed by the club, “a point was made by one of the dancers that there was a concern over the number of dancers employed and that this was leading the girls to consider offering other services to make up their money.” An Evening Standard report on this story 27th July 2001 was headlined “Strip Club Faces ‘Brothel’ Probe.”

There will be those in favour of this scheme – from Hackney Council’s promotion of the “night-time economy” to people like Lib Dem Councillor Adrian Gee-Turner who recently supported the filming of a hard core porn film in the ward that he is meant to represent. But there will be widespread opposition to this scheme as well and Hackney Independent will play its part in building that opposition.