Gay couple told bar is ‘mixed sex’ only
Two gay men say they were turned away from a bar because they weren’t a “mixed sex” couple.
Patrick Hannon and Jake Archer were left “speechless” by the incident last month at Jake’s Bar in Leeds, which is around the corner from the city’s gay village.
The Newcastle-based couple say they were turned away at the door of the bar, even though they were sober, the venue was not busy, and there was no queue.
Door staff told the pair that they would not be allowed in because they are both men and the bar encourages “mixed sex” groups.
Mr Archer wrote: “I was turned away from your bar for not being ‘in a mixed sex couple’ – I was out with my boyfriend.
“Don’t you think this is discrimination; if I was with a girlfriend this would have been fine as you were only allowing mixed male and female groups in?
“Seems a strange door policy when you are literally next door to the gay scene…”
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hannon added that the door staff gave no other reason to turn them away.
He said: “If we were drunk or in a large group then you would understand. They need to think about how it makes them look – as a bar they are not very open minded.”
The bar blamed the issue on the “externally supplied” door team and promised to investigate – however, several other people have made allegations of similar treatment in the bar’s online Google and TripAdvisor reviews dating back several years.
One review from May last year states: “I was with my [same-sex] partner and we were refused entry for not being in a mixed couple! The bouncer was extremely rude after I pointed this out and referred to us as puffs!”
A review on Google from 2016 also alleged that the bar had failed to follow up an allegation of homophobia following an incident with door staff.
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A 2015 review suggests that door staff pursue a policy of “no men, groups or homosexuals – any of which would ruin the bland atmosphere.”
One response from the bar on TripAdvisor insisted: “We absolutely do not have a ‘policy’ on our door, all decisions our Doormen make are based on the situation in the bar at the time.
“For example, we try to keep an even split of genders within the bar, so if it was male-heavy at the time you were trying to get in, then this would affect your entry.”
Speaking to the BBC, however, manager Paul Lane claimed the bar would “never discriminate” against anyone, and has a “strict equality and diversity policy” policy.
He added: “We have many customers who identify with LGBTQIA+ communities who frequent the bar regularly.”