#WRITERSBLOCK London’s 10 Most Racist Nightclubs

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With the Christmas season quickly approaching, some of you may decide against cracking open that Lord Of The Rings Special Extended Edition Trilogy Boxset and instead go to one of London’s many nightclubs. Unfortunately despite playing almost exclusively black music, there are many venues that aren’t quite as welcoming to black and asian people.

Firstly it’s illegal to refuse entry to a public space based on a person/s skin colour, race or ethnic origins’ so no club will proudly advertise their racism for fear of being shut down. So this list is made up of hundreds of user reviews from Trip Advisor, Design My Night, Time Out and Yelp serving as a makeshift Rotten Tomatoes if you will. Also included are any story’s (or multiple story’s) of the club’s involvement in any racist incidents. And finally, we’ve included any Twitter searches where there may be accusations of racism.

So to prevent you from standing in the cold for an hour only to be turned away by a man with a baker’s dozen 0f jelly rolls in the back of his head; here’s a comprehensive guide to ‘London’s Most Racist Nightclubs’

 

10. The Tape, Mayfair

TA: Of 57 reviews 36% negative
DMN: N/A
TO: N/A
Yelp: N/A

Kicking off our top 10 is Mayfair’s The Tape. A trip to the website offers some black faces to feign exclusivity but apparently on the door is a different story:

‘We queued up as a group of 3 girls with about 2 separate groups of girls in front of us. both groups are of either asian or indian girls. We watched both groups of girls get turned down the next was our turn. The door girl looked us up and down and asked qhat list we were on, she then said ok turned around and then came back and said “sorry, tonight is really select we don’t any space on that guestlist.” She did not even check what our names were!
We were turned away, and watched as group after group of coloured girls were turned away until a group of blondes were allowed in.’ – annishaj 1993 (Trip Advisor)

9. Cafe De Paris, Coventry Street 

TA: Of 713 reviews 17% negative
DMN: Of 310 5% negative
TO: Of 13 reviews  46% negative
Yelp: Of 38 reviews 29% negativeAt 9 we have Cafe De Paris. A club that manages to keep its head down as far as overwhelmingly racist behaviour is concerned, likely due to the burlesque aspect of the club serving as a deterrent for your average London raver. The security while rude, are smart enough to be discreet about it.
So don’t expect to get in, but don’t expect your suspicions to be confirmed either.’They let me back in but refused my boyfriend entry on account of his passport. We asked what the problem was and the bouncer said that his signature didn’t match the one on his passport, but it did.
The manager and boss came to speak to us and they starting saying “Why do you need a French passport if you’re a British citizen?”, “We don’t know about immigration so we can’t let you in”. “Why don’t you have an Algerian passport instead?”‘ – Ameila 96 (Trip Advisor)A spokesperson for Cafe De Paris said:

‘Whilst we do operate a door entrance policy, this is never based on ethnicity.’

 

8. Drama, Park Lane

TO: Of 45 reviews 67% negative
DMN: N/A
TO: N/A
Yelp: N/AAnother club from the one of the pricier parts of the Monopoly board; Drama tends to exercise a little discretion when it comes to removing unwanted races from their club. The security reportedly only seem to be truly threatening once you are inside the club.

‘Got to the front of the queue where two female security were standing opposite. A guy was stood with a clipboard who looked at my friend and I, he then whispered something to the female security then a few seconds later he asked whose guest list we were on. Flipped the paper and said that the guest list was full and pushed us to the side. Bearing in mind we made sure to get there early to avoid disappointment. I would strongly advise people of colour to stay clear of this place. We are in the 21st century and racism is still happening. DISGUSTING!’ – Elle H (Trip Advisor)

A spokesperson from Drama said:

‘Please, be assured that your experience will be discuss with the team.’


7. Club 49, Soho

TA: Of 106 reviews 27% negative
DMN: Of 24 reviews 13% negative
TO: Of 13 reviews  38% negative
Yelp: Of 27 reviews 33% negative

Club 49 is that club with the random plants and shower curtains; so never mind if you don’t get in, pour yourself a few watered down drinks and get drunk in your bathtub.

‘The lady at the door let us in(2 girls, 2 guys), just as we got in the bouncer said to me that I have caused trouble there before which cant be right as I have never been to Club 49. The bouncer is very racist and definitely not an asset to your club. Please save your self a trip and don’t go to this club!’ – Raj S (Trip Advisor)

 

 

6. Piccadilly Institute, Piccadilly Circus 

TA: Of 356 reviews 31% negative
DMN: Of 52 reviews 35% negative
TOL: Of 4 reviews 100% negative
Yelp: Of 30 reviews 17% negative

Approaching the second half of our list things get a little more blatant. Piccadilly Institute maintains an adult funhouse aesthetic; with its rodeo bulls, popcorn cannons and £2.50 drinks deals to attract the student night crowd, but only a certain type of student. Due to it’s relatively low profile, the security seem will leave you all but certain that the sole reason you didn’t get in is down to the colour of your skin.

‘The bouncer that was working that nigh is disgusting pig ignorant piece of rubbish. The majority of my party was black a we was turned away because he didn’t like the look of my cousin. We were then physical forced out of the club I asked to speak to a manger he said there no manger here and laughed in my face I asked him I would like a refund of my money he said “I’m not giving you a refund of your money you’re not getting anything from us”. Charlotte0816 (Trip Advisor)

 


5. Zoo Bar, Bear Street

TA: Of 300 reviews 31% negative
DMN: Of 17 reviews 47% negative
TO: Of 2 reviews 50% negative
Yelp: Of 56 reviews 34% negative

Honestly with ‘themed’ nights like ‘Temptation Thursdays’ and ‘Phenomenal Fridays’… they’ve really got some nerve turning anyone away. The thing about Zoo Bar is, it’s a pub. It’s a big pub, but it’s still a pub. Don’t get it twisted, there’s nothing with pubs; they’re fine establishments, but your mother didn’t carry you for 9 months to be turned away from a pub. No, the only way you shouldn’t be allowed in a place like Zoo Bar is if things got too rowdy on bingo night.

‘I explained that we were just coming for a few drinks, and was told abruptly that there was a private “police” party going on – and were not allowed in because we were not on the guest-list. The true essence of the RACIST door policy was brought to light as we walked away. We stood at a distance for 5 minutes, and saw 3 groups of white people enter the establishment with absolutely no questions asked, and no sight of . They all had their coats on and were clearly not known to the bouncers and had not been there previously.

 


4. Cirque Le Soir, Carnaby

TA: Of 171 reviews 58% negative
DMN: Of 14 reviews 43% negative
TO: Of 13 reviews 46% negative
Yelp: Of 18 reviews 61% negative

The impressively racist Cirque Le Soir gained notoriety this year when #toourban began trending. This was in reference to 6 NFL players being turned away from the club for being ‘too urban’ (i.e black). Sit back for a moment and imagine how racist your club has to be to turn away NFL players. 1. They’re American sports players, so you know they’re easily the best dressed humans in the venue 2. An NFL starting salary is $465k x 6? that’s enough to buy out the bar a few times; making Cirque Le Soir so racist they don’t even want money from black people.

‘…there were a group of people behind us who had a list who were also rejected. We met them soon after. I asked them why they were rejected and a nicely dressed Asian girl replied ‘they told me I’m not allowed in because I’m different and don’t fit in with their image’.’ Issyroseli (Trip Advisor)

 

 

3. Libertine, Fitzrovia

TA: Of 38 review 66% negative
DMN: Of 60 review 80% negative
TO: N/A
Yelp: Of 10 reviews 50% negative

Libertine (formerly known as China White) is notoriously racist. It’s an open secret to not even try to get into the club as a POC, due to the management being quite open about wanting a ‘certain’ (read: white) clientele. It’s worked hard to maintain its reputation as London’s most ‘elite’ nightclub. Which is actually quite easy when it comes to running a nightclub. As opposed to insuring that the best DJ’s play the best music, the staff are the most attentive and merely ensuring an all round enjoyable experience; instead they simply only let white people in.

But if that’s not enough, we actually have a wonderfully detailed experience of just how racist Libertine is. Bear in mind Fisayo Longe is successful fashion blogger so pretty much their only excuse they can use e.g ‘she wasn’t dressed appropriately’ goes flying out the window:

‘I asked why we were not able to get in and was told that they owe us no explanation and we should go home. WHAT?! I demanded a sensible explanation and some elderly white man, maybe the manager tells me ‘maybe because you’re black but there are some black people inside, probably because you’re not good-looking enough’.’ Fisayo Longe ‘Libertine Club, an abusive, racist experience’

The rest of Fisayo’s experience can be read here

 

2. Mahiki, Mayfair

TA: Of 549 reviews 41% negative
DMN: Of 14 reviews 29% negative
TO: Of 40 reviews 43% negative
Yelp: Of 22 reviews 45% negative

With white supremacists randomly adopting the Tiki torch in place of actual torches in America, it’s fitting that Mahiki with (in their own words) its ‘Tiki decor…’ is also so famously bigoted there wasn’t enough room to share all the tweets here. The scores speak for themselves but seriously nearly HALF of the FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE reviews are negative?

‘The staff were rude and unhelpful.
The head security Av touched me in an inappropriate way. When I questioned Av he was violent and aggressive towards me & told me I was racist and looked like I was a gypsy which I felt was offensive. I wouldn’t recommend the club to anyone wanting a good night out. I saw 7 14 year olds enter the club without any id which is extremely unacceptable’ – Jenna R (Trip Advisor)

and a little extra from someone who didn’t even try to get in:

‘My friend recently had to quit his job here as the staff were so racist. They did not accept group bookings of foreigners. I am shocked this place still exists in London. It should be closed down with immediate effect. My information is coming from someone who worked there. He has never been so disgusted.’ alinabasu (Trip Advisor)

Do you know how racist you have to be that your own staff can’t take it? Money wasn’t a strong enough draw to keep Alina’s friend working at Mahiki’s. Money buys you food, food keeps you alive. Mahiki is so racist their staff would rather starve than work there!

And coming in at no.1 of course it could only be…


1. DSTRKT, Rupert Street

TA: Of 118 reviews 22% negative
DMN: N/A
TO: N/A
Yelp: N/A

Yes DSTRKT is London’s most racist nightclub. They have an openly racist door policy and don’t even try to hide it. Legend Nadia Rose told them to ‘F__k Off’ when they invited her to celebrate her birthday at the venue and they are in fact so racist it even lead to protests:

‘The clipboard guy said to my friend “so you two right” but pointed to my friend and a blonde guy who was by himself in front of us. To which my friend replied “no it’s me and my friend here”. And to anyone thinking I’m playing the race card or being sensitive I quote the clipboard guy “no you told me you was with the blonde guy not the black guy”. He repeated this 3 times. My friend in shock tried to explain why he would say he was with the blonde guy when he has no idea who that guy was. One of the bouncers said “he’s with the black guy”. At which point the clipboard guy walked off inside in apparent disgust but not before telling the bouncers that we’re not getting in.’  – donprestige8(Trip Advisor)

Rumours have been circulating that DSTRKT has been shut down; but a week has passed, there’s been no official statement, its doors are still open and honestly at best they’ll shut down and rebrand in 6 months under a new name with the same racist door policies.

The best way to change the way these clubs behave is to constantly report them. There are so many reasons to be turned away from a club, but if you do everything you can to ensure your entry (ESPECIALLY if you’ve been put on the guest list) then you have every right to find out why.

Know your rights

Newsbeat go into more detail but essentially it’s illegal to discriminate based on gender, race, age or religion. You’re well within your rights to take them to court and sue for damages:

‘In 2010 we did have a case based on race and sex and they recovered £15,000 damages and their court costs,’

So if you find think you’re being discriminated against, remain calm, ask questions and where possible (without agitating the staff) use your phone to record/film the incident (in a NON CONFRONTATIONAL way) and you could be instrumental in the club losing its license. Head to the Equality Advisory Service  for more information.

So there you have it, the top 10 most racist clubs to avoid in London and in the iconic words of Stormzy:

‘F__k DSTRKT and f__k all these nightclubs / And f__k giving money to people who don’t like us’