So the other night I went out for a typical night out in Central London. Typical in many ways. It was raining, we caught a show at the cinema with a group of about 20 people and then 5 of us decided to go on for a drink. I would just like to say there wasn’t a hoodie or a low baseball in sight despite the bad weather. We were a barrister, a pharmacist, an accountant and a banker. Oh and me. A blogger with too much time on her hands apparently. Where was I going on my budget? But I digress…
As we were on the square and it was getting late it made no sense to trek out of the area. All Bar One was so loud that we would have to shout at each other and Water Under The Moon had one of those bouncers on the door that take their jobs a tad too seriously. I mean some of the people he was IDing were clearly well over 21. I looked younger than they did.
And so we went to The Radisson Hotel on Leicester Square. I think the restaurant and bar are known as Hampshire. We walked into the bar and as we did a group left opening up some couches in the middle of the room. I had just grabbed the menu and hadn’t even sat down yet when we were asked to leave.
So here’s how they do it so as not to get themselves into trouble. Apparently they aren’t allowed to serve non hotel residents after 11pm. Weird. There is certainly a separate entrance to the restaurant and bar and it was hardly heaving with people. The outside area was practically empty. So their licence was the issue? I asked her if we could stay for a soft drink and we were told that no we couldn’t that we would have to leave. There was no notice at the front of the bar so I was just expected to take this woman’s word for it? No. Even McDonalds have signs about skateboarders and hangers.
She apologised and seemed embarrassed but I wasn’t buying it. The speed at which they had clocked us in there and gotten us out? She was panicked by our presence. Besides I’d been there before with non black friends with no issue. I think the policy is clear. One is fine but 5 is 4 too many. The barrister looked like he wanted to take it further but I just wanted a grey goose
And so we trekked back out into the rain. I wasn’t keen to go anywhere else because this is a common occurrence in multicultural London. You can only get in anywhere if your group are what they are looking for. Black clientele are known for 2 things, not drinking enough and fighting. Little did they know that I was the most likely one of our group to kick off and I don’t fight cos I hate breaking a nail. I remember organising an event at Holborn House and despite a site saying the deposit was £300 she tried to charge me £1500 minimum spend for an area when I mentioned it was a black network. Coincidence? I think not.
So I will not be going back to the Hampshire Bar and Restaurant at the Radisson Leicester Square because why should I give my money to those that don’t clearly want my custom. Now it could be argued that it was all in our heads but as I said this isn’t the first time a group of black folk have been denied entry in the West End for spurious reasons.
These sorts of blogs make me sad to write but the reality is that it happens. Deal with it. *Adds Hampshire to her boycott list with Tweedy Chav and half the clubs in Mayfair*
© Chelsea Black