A Soho strip bar has had its sexual entertainment licence refused after complaints of inappropriate behaviour by staff and reports of brothels, has had it rescinded.
Vanity Soho has been stripped of its SEV licence after councillors were presented with evidence of malpractice in the club, including dancers snogging customers and staff misbehaviour.
The venue on Carlisle Street had also had its premises license suspended in January following police evidence of drink spikings and poor management, as well as reports of people losing large amounts of money while in the bar and ending up being taken to brothels by pedicab operators outside.
Licensing sub committee chair Councillor Robert Eagleton said that councillors had concluded the owner was unfit to run the club as a sexual entertainment venue.
He said: “The licensing sub committee has considered all evidence carefully and taken into account all relevant legislation under the Act.
“On the balance of probability we do not have confidence that Mr Claire will operate the premises responsibly, complying with all the relevant conditions. We feel that the pattern of behaviour and breaches and the sexual entertainment venue license conditions across several years and across a number of venues have been demonstrated.
“When taken together, licensing sub committee has decided to refuse the application to renew the licence because the applicant is unsuitable to hold the licence.”
Vanity Soho will have 21 days from the written notice being issued to appeal the decision.
Among the evidence submitted were reports of similar licence breaches at Vanity’s other venues, including a bar in Tower Hamlets.
The Metropolitan Police said it was ‘dead against’ the application to renew the licence, and maintained that license breaches were symptoms of systemic issues.
Representing the Met, Gerald Gouriet KC said: “We are dead against this application. I don’t know whether this licensing committee is as weary as the Commissioner is upon hearing it was everybody else’s fault that there was failings in the management, and whether this committee is as tired of old excuses as the Commissioner is.”
He added that just because the venue had been deemed fit and proper to hold a premises licence it didn’t make it automatically worthy of a SEV licence.
Making the case for Vanity, Gary Grant KC told councillors that the venue had taken robust action in response to police findings, including appointing new management and better training. Customers are also now instructed not to use pedicabs after leaving the premises.
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