Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dramatic 11pm Vice Police Raids on Soho Hostess Bars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dramatic 11pm Vice Police Raids on Soho Hostess Bars

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM KEELEY

THEY WERE young women, barely dressed, and had been plying their trade in a dingy basement club in the heart of Soho.

Then police burst in and they were dragged onto the street, cursing the officers and onlookers alike.

The first of three bars to be closed in the cleanup called itself Lipstick Live. This underground "hostess bar" is 10 feet from Soho Parish Primary School. Yet it made no concession to the constant passing of young children in the way it conducted its sordid business.

The club entrance was marked by a neon sign and led to a downstairs room.

It was into this that dozens of uniformed police officers poured late last night. They came out moments later, with three women hostesses.

The first to emerge was a brunette, believed to be from eastern Europe, wearing a black boob tube, hot pants and fishnet tights. Next came a peroxide blonde in leather, hiding her face with scarf.

Although these hostesses had been friendly enough moments before as they tried to lure passing pedestrians inside, now they were anything but. The third woman to be led out, another dark-haired eastern European, again wearing very little, tried to lash out at photographers as she was bundled into a police van.

Behind the hostesses came three men, the management and muscle that keep this club's clientele from complaining.

Around the corner, in Rupert Street, a similar scene was repeated at the Golden Club.

Here, sandwiched between a fish and chip shop and a bureau de change, is an advertisement on the wall which pulls few punches: "Live show, sexy erotic girls from around the world, private lounge, tourists welcome."

Less obvious was the small menu which mentioned soft drinks for pound sterling2 each, then added: "For a fee of pound sterling295 our hostesses will be hoping to keep you company and do their best to enhance your evening's enjoyment.

"Please be aware that a service charge of 25 per cent is added to the total and final bill. …

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