An expensive restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has reportedly instituted a policy that disallows women from eating alone at the bar, because they want to keep sex workers out. That’s according to an essay published this week.
On a website called Drug Store Culture, London-based advertising executive Clementine Crawford writes, in an essay called “The Night I Was Mistaken For a Call Girl,” that she makes it a habit when in New York to always stay at the same hotel and eat at the same restaurant, an Italian spot on Madison Avenue.
But during a recent visit to the eatery, Crawford writes, that she “was no longer permitted to eat at my usual spot and that I must now sit down at a table.” The same thing happened on her next visit, when she was told that no one dining alone was allowed at the bar. But she became suspicious when a solo male arrived and was allowed to take a bar seat and order and eat an entire meal.
She soon concluded that she was forbidden from the bar because she was a woman, and furthermore, because the management assumed, falsely, that she was a sex worker, looking for business at the bar.
“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,” Crawford wrote. She even confronted the owner, noting that she regularly visited the restaurant and had spent a lot of money there. But the owner defended the policy, leading to “an explosive argument.”
Crawford later confirmed to Page Six that the restaurant was Nello, which was not identified by name in the original piece. The restaurant did not respond to Page Six‘s request for comment.
UES bar bans single women from eating at the bar. Their reasoning? Single women might be "escorts" (because apparently it's ok to ban escorts if they are paying for a drink / dinner). If you don't want the "tone" of the place lowered maybe ban bankers. https://t.co/Y3lyOIvVWR
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) January 18, 2019
Located a block from Central Park in one of New York’s toniest neighborhoods, Nello has a $$$$ price range on Yelp, with an average meal of $61. The controversy over Crawford’s article has also been very bad for the restaurant’s Yelp ratings, which are down to an average of two out of five. And all of the reviews posted in recent days have mentioned it.
One reviewer had some fun with it.
“I have great feelings about this restaurant,” Glenn M. of California wrote on the site. “The food is not bad and they have consistently provided me with very high quality hookers. No matter where I sit, whether at a table or at the bar, it has always been easy to meet a beautiful girl willing to give me a night of sex for just a few thousand dollars.”