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Plan for 'topless' barmaids at Dover pub draws stiff response

By Dover Express  |  Posted: August 25, 2011

  • Phil Medgett. The Castle Inn Dover is open again. Pictured is owner Paul McMullen.

  • Provocative: Barmaids wearing nipple tassles could breach entertainment guidelines

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A REQUEST to allow barmaids to pull pints "topless" at Dover's Castle Inn has prompted stiff opposition from the council.

District council licensing officers said they were going to keep a keen eye on the skimpy costumes provided for the bar staff at the Russell Street pub in case they breached "adult entertainment" guidelines.

They ruled too much movement from the employees could breach "performance of dance" licensing rules and demanded that tassels, even if used to cover their modesty, could not be twirled in a provocative manner.

This week it appeared a compromise was close, as landlord Paul McMullan, right, agreed to alter the topless specials on Friday and Saturday nights in favour of Bikini Beach nights. He told the Express: "Discussing the size of tassels that would need to be stuck on the girls and whether or not they would be allowed to move while pulling pints was one of the more bizarre conversations I have had with the council. It was like stepping back into the 1930s.

"When a girl reaches up to the optics clearly she is going to stretch and move – I suppose it is a form of dance, but when the council say the licence required costs £5,100, I can understand why they are being picky."

An adult entertainment venue licence issued by Dover District Council (DDC) costs £2,100 for the application and £3,000 a year thereafter, allowing lap and pole dancing and topless entertainment.

DDC's newly-appointed chief licensing officer John Newcombe said: "It is the view of the licensing authority that the provision of 'topless barmaids' falls under the definition of 'adult entertainment', and as such would require either a variation to your licence under the Licensing Act 2003 for the provision of adult entertainment or an application for a sexual entertainments venue Licence under the Local Government Act 1982.

"Either route would allow for proper consideration to be given to the safety of members of staff and the promotion of the four licensing objectives, in particular the protection of children from harm objective."

Police licensing officer Steve Alexander, who also carried out a personal inspection, promised a top to bottom probe.

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  • markwaghorn  |  September 21 2011, 2:11PM

    Why, oh, why are we still so Victorian in our attitudes to the human body? If Paul wants to go topless behind the bar or,indeed, tap dance fully nude on the tables, then let him. We've had the Naked Chef, why not the Naked Publican?

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  • susanhubbard  |  August 25 2011, 5:00PM

    Are you assuming the licensing officers are male, CanterJack? What a daft, tacky story (not to mention the headline).

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  • CanterJack  |  August 25 2011, 4:14PM

    Council licensing officers are going to keep a keen eye on the skimpy costumes? I bet they are!

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  • TheRanter  |  August 25 2011, 3:51PM

    Just sounds really down market and tacky. Like that dump near Detling Showground - The Three Squirrels - squalid looking dump.

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  • mrjameswaters  |  August 25 2011, 1:42PM

    I best go and see this for myself! Meanwhile top closing line! : Police licensing officer Steve Alexander, who also carried out a personal inspection, promised a top to bottom probe.

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