Restaurant's bizarre rule banning female diners from eating alone

·Junior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

A high-end restaurant in New York has reportedly made it a ‘company policy’ to ban women from sitting and eating alone at the bar.

And the shocking reason why? Well that’s because they may be mistaken for an escort.

Clementine Crawford, who is a regular at the Upper East Side Italian restaurant Nello, was left baffled when she was asked to move to a table rather than sit at her regular spot on the bar to enjoy her pasta and a glass of wine.

Writing about the experience in her essay ‘The Night I Was Mistaken for a Call Girl’ Clementine revealed that she was “advised — with evident embarrassment — that I was no longer permitted to eat at my usual spot and that I must now sit down at a table.”

Writer Clementine Ford recounts the moment she was demanded to sit at a table to eat rather than at her usual spot on the bar due to a New York restaurant’s unusual ‘company policy’. Source: Sex and the City/Warner Bros.
Writer Clementine Ford recounts the moment she was demanded to sit at a table to eat rather than at her usual spot on the bar due to a New York restaurant’s unusual ‘company policy’. Source: Sex and the City/Warner Bros.

Unfazed at the time she obliged but when the same thing happened again a few days later she enquired further and was told, “nobody was able to eat at the bar. Company policy”.

However as the night continued, Clementine witnessed, “with great interest and gathering fury,” a man walk in, be seated at the bar and served up a martini paired with a full plate of pasta and topped off with ‘a limoncello’ while he chatted casually to the staff over the counter.

“This really was testing my limits.” Clementine admitted in the essay for Drugstore Culture.

“After further interrogation, it transpired that the owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers: the free-range escorts who roamed the Upper East Side, hunting prey in his establishment.”

“But hang on: did this mean they thought that I was an escort? Or could be mistaken for one?”

She realised she had been banned from eating at the bar because the staff thought she may be mistaken for a hooker. Source: Parent Trap/Walt Disney Pictures
She realised she had been banned from eating at the bar because the staff thought she may be mistaken for a hooker. Source: Parent Trap/Walt Disney Pictures

Clementine was naturally furious but clarified that it was not because she was judgemental to the profession but because it struck her as “outright discrimination”.

“They had classified me, marginalised me, relegated me to the corner by the loos simply because I was an unaccompanied woman.”

At this point, she asked to speak with the owner to remind him that she was in fact just a regular customer who enjoyed eating on their own at the bar rather than having to face the ‘four-seater table solo.’

However his response was far from sympathetic as he continued to refuse her from eating at the bar – fair to say it quickly escalated into an ‘explosive argument.’

Confused Oprah Winfrey GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Confused Oprah Winfrey GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Clementine – a senior executive for branding company Finch & Partners – admitted the ‘demoralising’ experience was an “emotional slap in the face.”

“Little did we know it, but we are still fighting for a seat at the table (or bar, to be strictly accurate),” she wrote.

Commenters on Clementines story are suggesting that it underlines the fact that the #MeToo movement is only the start when it comes to the push for gender equality.

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