Mirror Scandal Reflects Poorly on Glasgow’s The Shimmy Club

The Shimmy Club logo

A Glaswegian nightclub has come under fire from both local press and international media following the introduction of voyeuristic mirrors within the venue’s toilet facilities. The Shimmy Club, situated in the city centre’s Royal Exchange Square, has been heavily criticised for the inclusion of interrogation room-esque two-way mirrors within the women’s toilets, offering paying customers the opportunity to rent out the bar’s premium booths and spy on unsuspecting women from behind the glass.

The venue, which opened in early May, features two ‘Smoke and Mirror’ booths that look into the women’s toilets, a feature that early club goers claimed was not indicated anywhere within the bathroom to alert patrons. Despite reporters from the Scottish Express being told that neither men nor mixed groups were able to rent out the particular booths, customer evidence seem to suggest otherwise. Images currently circulating online depict unsuspecting women leaning in towards the glass to adjust their hair and makeup while male customers parade in privacy, calling into question the venue’s equality policy.

Following the initial controversy in May, which lead the venue’s management, G1 Group, to post a public response on The Shimmy Club’s Facebook page that described the mirrors as ‘a bit of fun’, the club was ordered in June to close for one week by Glasgow Licensing Board and remove the two-way mirrors. Highlighting the severity of the situation the ruling body stated that the mirrors risked ‘predatory behaviour’ against both women and children, citing the venue’s underage disco as a particular concern, resulting in the forced closure of both The Shimmy Club and the adjoining The Social bar and restaurant in the city centre. Following the closure, the venue’s Facebook page has been removed from public access and their Twitter feed (@ShimmyClub) has also been made private.

While the fallout from The Shimmy Club’s envelope-pushing two-way mirrors has been significant in scale the continuous press coverage of the scandal has also been unparalleled, perhaps suggesting that if new clubs desire media attention then the best approach is to simply be outrageous. However only time will tell if the venue will have the staying power to compete in the city’s crowded nightclub market once its novel feature has become nothing more than yet another transparent gimmick.

– This article was originally published on the qmunicate website, a publication of the University of Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union, in June 2013. You can find the original version, here.

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