According to the BBC both Patrick Hannon, 30 and Jake Archer, 25, attempted to go for a drink at Jake’s Bar in Leeds on the evening of Saturday, 24 March, but were refused entry.
In an interview on the BBC Archer said: “When we approached the door we were told by the bouncer ‘sorry lads mixed groups and mixed couples only’.”
A spokeswoman for Jake’s said that having a “diverse and mixed crowd” was fundamental to creating a great atmosphere in any bar and it was its policy to welcome customers of all sexual orientation, races, genders, religions and cultures. It said it had launched an investigation into the incident.
In a statement it said: “Our door team’s number one priority at all times is to create a safe environment for all our patrons and a guest’s sexual orientation would never and has never been a determining factor as to whether they would be permitted entry into the bar.
“Like most venues in Leeds, our door team is provided by an external supplier and we have launched an investigation into what happened on the night with the external door team.
“As soon as we became aware of the situation we privately reached out to the individuals who made the complaint to fully resolve this matter”.
Andy Grimsey, partner at Poppleston Allen, said that a licensee has the common-law right to exclude or bar anyone from their premises, for example because they are a known troublemaker.
“However, licensees cannot exclude individuals due to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, for example age, sexual orientation, disability or race. When someone is excluded for a legitimate reason, perhaps to prevent crime and disorder, it is always advisable to make a note of the refusal and the reasons why,” he said.
However, he added that any door staff employed are at the frontline and while unlikely to be employed directly by a licensee their actions can have significant PR, legal and licensing consequences.
“It is vital, therefore, to ensure that your door staff are trained in respect of their responsibilities and legal obligations, including discrimination, and while that training may be contracted out to another company the primary responsibility for compliance will often fall at the licensee’s door,” he said.