Nello, an expensive eatery of New York’s Upper East Side, has allegedly banned women from eating alone at the bar in order to discourage sex workers from the premises.
Clementine Crawford, a director at branding firm Finch & Partners, was asked by staff at the Italian restaurant to move to a table if she wanted a meal, rather than eat at the bar. She was told that it was a new restaurant policy, but after seeing a man eat alone at the bar she asked another staff member about the new policy, only to be told that it only applied to women as “the owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers,” whom he believed to be soliciting clients.
“At first, I was incensed,” Crawford wrote in a public essay about the incident. “Not because I am judgmental about the world's oldest profession, but because this treatment struck me as outright discrimination. They had classified me, marginalized me, relegated me to the corner by the loos simply because I was an unaccompanied woman.”
Crawford said that when she complained to the manager about the incident, he was less than apologetic.
“He told me that he could run his business as he pleased, and that I was no longer welcome to eat at the bar, only at a table. Things escalated quickly into an explosive argument. I told him what I thought of him in no uncertain terms and departed into the night with a heavy heart.”
The restaurant, which describes itself online as a place “where art, fashion, politics, entertainment, aristocracy, and finance converge to create a world of urbane sophistication, genuine leisure and cosmopolitan chic,” has refused to comment.