Stevenage nightclub apologises for inconsistencies in dress code which led to clubbers being excluded on its opening night but denies door policy was racist

Bar & Beyond in Stevenage

Bar & Beyond in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

Stevenage nightclub Bar & Beyond has apologised for ‘inconsistencies’ in applying its dress code which caused many clubbers to be turned away at its opening night on Friday. But the club says it did not exclude people for racial reasons.

Anton Rice (right) was denied entry to Bar & Beyond on its opening night on Friday. He is pictured h

Anton Rice (right) was denied entry to Bar & Beyond on its opening night on Friday. He is pictured here with a friend of a friend who did get in. - Credit: Archant

It follows a social media frenzy after smartly dressed clubbers Anton Rice and Dejon Mullings – both of whose ethnicity is black British - posted pictures of themselves having been turned away from the club at Stevenage Leisure Park on Friday.

The club, which opened at the site of the former Chicago’s, issued a statement admitting yesterday that smartly dressed people were turned away, but said it was because the dress code was applied more stringently as the evening went on and the club was filling up.

The club said: “It was an extremely busy night and the venue became increasingly selective on the standard of dress code as the evening progressed.

“This did cause confusion, but Bar & Beyond will always be a place where people are expected to dress smartly as we want to deliver the highest standards possible. Our door teams have been re-briefed on what is and isn’t acceptable to avoid future confusion.”

Bar & Beyond in Stevenage, which has replaced Chicago's.

Bar & Beyond in Stevenage, which has replaced Chicago's. - Credit: Archant

The club reacted to a picture posted by Anton Rice on social media showing him stood outside the club having been denied entry, next to a less smartly dressed friend who was let in, saying: “The discrepancy occurred because the man on the left entered the venue early evening and was on his way out. The other gentleman was trying to gain access when the venue was extremely busy and we were being extremely tight on the dress code to control numbers. We apologise that this caused confusion, but everyone who was refused entry has been offered a full refund.”

The club says its dress code is available on its website and describes it as: “Dress to impress and ready to party, please avoid sports and brightly coloured footwear.” It says anyone with queries about the dress code can call the club direct to clarify it.

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But some clubbers posted on Facebook that they had booked tables in advance and phoned the club to check the dress code but were still denied entry. In some cases they had paid large sums of money up-front for tickets.

Bar & Beyond, which is owned by The Deltic Group, says its security is run by an external agency and that security staff have been re-briefed.

It added: “The team were briefed to adhere to the strictest dress code for our launch weekend. We are setting new standards and smart dress is a key part of this, as is behaviour and attitude on entering the venue.

“It was a busy night and, as the venue filled up, the door team became more selective, which led to the confusion. This has now been addressed and we don’t foresee similar problems in the future.”

Bur Mr Rice said yesterday he would not accept any refund or compensation from the club and would not go there again.