Decades-old lap dancing bar in Manchester's Chinatown gets licence renewal despite objections

Long Legs describes itself as the ‘premier lap dancing bar in Manchester’, provides ‘full nude lap dances’ to paying customers.
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A lap dancing club in Manchester has been allowed to continue operating despite pushback from objectors.

Long Legs, based in George Street in Chinatown, applied to have its licence renewed for another year. The venue, which describes itself as the ‘premier lap dancing bar in Manchester’, provides ‘full nude lap dances’ to paying customers. The application was met with objections from two campaign groups. Male Allies Challenging Sexism (MACS) and Object!, who oppose the objectification of women, pushed the licensing sub committee to refuse the licence.

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The groups claim that venues like Long Legs ‘feed a culture of male entitlement and underlie the massive amounts of male violence against women’. It was highlighted at the meeting in Manchester Town Hall that the establishment has an unblemished record when it came to upholding their side of licensing agreement.

One objector, who was not in attendance at the meeting on December 11, said in a letter: “There are 67,000 sex offenders in England and Wales and you can be sure that a sure way for them to validate their criminal desires is to visit a sex club where the women on show will act to please them, as they believe all women should, before going on to commit further such offences. For a man who visits such establishments, sexual violence may be considered mere ‘copycat crime’ much as the recent outbreak of supermarket shoplifting followed publicity about extreme shoplifters.”

Long Legs Bar on George Street in ManchesterLong Legs Bar on George Street in Manchester
Long Legs Bar on George Street in Manchester

Defending the business, which is run by Sandra Chan and has been in operation for decades, representative Claire Morris explained that the venue does not tolerate the sort of harassment or disrespectful behaviour suggested by objectors. She said that the family run business does not force women to dance there, and that they have a waiting list of women wanting to work as dancers who enjoy the club as a workplace, the meeting heard.

“Sexual activity is strictly prohibited (on the premises),” Ms Morris said. “Sexual encounters are not sold on these premises. The only thing permitted in terms of physical contact is hand holding at the end of performances.” 

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The Kuits Solicitors representative added that the venue actually has a large proportion of female visitors and said the club does not promote misogyny, harassment, exploitation, or women’s inferiority. The committee was told about strict measures in place in order to maintain security and order. These measures include do-not-touch rules for performers and clientele as well as CCTV and ID check policies being in place. Councillors heading up the committee cannot base their decision on whether they agree with the principles of a sex establishment, but on licensing law and whether they are in breach of licensing objectives. 

Long Legs was found to have followed all licensing rules and regulations – for that reason it was approved. Following the decision, the legal advisor to the panel said: “There is no evidence to suggest that the establishment leads to or encourages violence against women.”