Soho strip club where dancers were repeatedly caught breaking 'no touch' rule loses licence

Google Street View of Sunset Strip club on Dean Street
The council said Sunset Strip had a 'history' of breaching its licence -Credit:Google

A Soho strip club has had its licence revoked after dancers were caught grinding on customers. Westminster City said Sunset Strip club’s management were unsuitable to run the popular Dean Street venue and barred them from running it in the future during a meeting on Thursday (May 16).

The strip tease spot was hauled before the council after police caught dancers breaking the ‘no-touch’ rule during an inspection in January. Footage seen by MyLondon during Thursday’s meeting showed two performers separating a male and female couple before grabbing their legs and thrusting their breasts into their faces.

The clip is said to be one of many instances of dancers breaking no-touch rules, according to police. The club said it has since replaced its top management and some staff and removed controversial booths where many of the dances are alleged to have taken place.

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Stock of woman in red boots in a booth with a man
Strippers were seen groping customers -Credit:Getty

Councillors heard how performers were caught in 2019 and 2022 breaching the no-touch rule and that the club had been hauled before the council in November last year after police found used condoms in bins. A lawyer representing the Met Police said the club had a culture of non-compliance and changing its management after each breach.

He said: “Our concern is this: every time they are brought to the door of this committee room, with threatening review and threatening revocation, there is a frantic moving of the deck chairs on the Titanic, which is exactly what has happened today.

“No amount of promotional photography or PR blurbs on behalf of the operators can deny these are premises with an embedded culture of non-compliance and there is only one solution to that and that is to revoke the licence.” The council said “every performance” they had seen on CCTV footage involved dancers cosying up to clients and accused the club’s management of a “blatant level of non-compliance”.

A lawyer representing Westminster City’s licensing team said: “We believe the history of the issues at this premises over such an extended period of time demonstrates this licence holder is unsuitable to hold the licence and therefore the licences should be revoked.

“For us, revocation is the only clear way in which the pattern of non-compliance can be brought to an end. It feels like the assurances we’ve been provided historically failed. We’re now in a position where this is the last thing we can do.”

Strip club has 'undergone widespread change'

Sarah Le Fevre, representing Sohomede Ltd, said the club had undergone widespread change since police visited in January. She said: “The police and licensing authority were invited to the premises for themselves to see what has happened and to see what system has been created and that visit took place on April 22 and though there has been no mention of visit today I say confidently there were no issues discovered during the inspection.”

She also said the club had lacked money to introduce changes such as removing the booths and replacing staff and investors following November’s hearing. But it wasn’t enough to satisfy Westminster City’s licensing committee which took just over an hour to make its decision.

But councillors did grant Soho Estates Limited, which owns the site, with a licence to run it as a regular club. Officers issued Sunset Strip a Section 19 Closure Notice in January after being called out to a drink spiking. Officers found the club lacked doormen and were given the wrong CCTV footage.

A review of later CCTV footage uncovered a number of instances of touching, including one in which two strippers perform with each other before “intentionally mak[ing] contact with customers”. A statement by police read: “In one instance a customer has to move her hand away to avoid touching the dancers [sic] bottom.”

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