Kingston’s Viper Rooms are set to introduce ‘experienced door pickers’ to watch over cameras and turn away those they believe will spoil the night for others.
Viper Rooms introduced the policy of a ‘door picker’, someone whose job it is to judge whether they think the people queuing for entry are right or not. The ‘picker’ will be based in an office and watch the club entrance via cameras and turn down those they believe are not suited by communicating through an ear-piece with the bouncer.
These strict door policies have been introduced following an attack that took place in October.
Third year KU student and regular club-goer Jack Whitelegg, 23, does not agree with this practice, calling it an excuse for clubs and promoters to be even more selective on who they admit.
Whitelegg, who is studying international relations and sociology, said: “It’s ridiculous, the whole idea is stemmed around labeling and profiling based on how they dress, which is one of the biggest problems in society now, making judgement just off appearances. It reinforces labeling and discrimination in society.”
The club, formerly named McClusky’s, was rebranded as an upmarket cocktail bar in August by owners Harewood in an attempt to appeal to an older, more sophisticated crowd. Paul Kinsey of Harewood told the Surrey Comet that “the Viper Rooms is Kingston’s most stylish venue and unashamedly operates a strict door policy”.
Kinsey said: “Our policy isn’t based on outdated dress codes or obscure rules. We have one admission rule which is that if we believe that you or someone with you would be likely to spoil the night if we admitted you and your group, we refuse the whole group.”
One student believes this change is what Kingston needs. KU sociology student Luke Brocklehurst, 20, agrees with the use of ‘door pickers’ and has high hopes for Viper Rooms.
Brocklehurst said: “If clubs were consistent with who they admit, then there wouldn’t be an issue of them being selective or even elitist…If they have this criteria I’m expecting them to stick to it. The whole idea of these clubs used was that they used to be elegant.”
“When I came of age I thought you had to wear shoes, shirts and a tie. Now people are wearing clothes I wouldn’t leave the house in. The days when clubs tried to emulate wealth have gone.”
Brocklehurst thought the rebranding of the club made it “a lot nicer than some of the other places in Kingston”, and appreciates the effort made to improve Kingston’s nightlife.
Brocklehurst said:”It’s a good place, I enjoy it. It’s better than a lot of what Kingston has to offer and I can justify spending more money there, but at the end of the day it’s not Putney, it’s not Fulham, it’s not Kensington.”
When contacted, a Viper Rooms employee refused to speak on the matter.
New restrictions throughout Kingston proposed by a new license has meant a decreased club capacity, from 920 to 750 people, an earlier last admission time of 12:30 and an earlier closing time.