Famous Soho strip club forced to close over ‘no-touching rules’ aims to reopen

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Service

One of London’s most famous strip clubs is hoping to reopen in Soho, five years after it was shut following claims it could be “prostituting” dancers.

The Windmill is dubbed Soho’s most famous strip club and was known for not closing its doors for 90 years, even during The Blitz.

But it was eventually shut in 2018 after Westminster city council took away its sexual entertainment license.

It later reopened as a cabaret spot and restaurant in 2019, but the strip club remained closed.

Dancers “regularly broke no-touching rules” and were ousted by a women’s rights group in 2018, documents from the time said.

Activists even allegedly hired former police officers to collect evidence from the venue, and one of them claimed a dancer touched him intimately, according to a council report into the Windmill from the same year.

He also said he was offered a VIP dance for £150 and that a dancer gave a security guard £10 to make him look the other way, according to his witness statement.

The women’s rights group, which is not named in the council’s report into the incident, also alleged the club allowed groping, pinching and slapping of the performers.

In 2018 the women’s rights group complained to the council: “[The dancers at Windmill] are artists and athletes, much the same as a Victoria Secrets model, but vulnerable without high profile agents and some struggle to pay their mortgage.

“They are within the control of management who could be pushing the boundaries and even prostituting them.”

It added: “The Windmill Club needs to shut down as a matter of urgency to stop the gropes, pinches and slaps.”

The theatre was the first venue in London to show women naked on stage but was later reborn as a celebrity cocktail bar in 2019 following a £10million revamp. The Windmill later reopened in 2021 as a 350-seat venue offering food, drink and cabaret.

A description on the venue’s website says it offers “theatrical dining in Soho, where there is no edge to the stage”.

It continued: “From Wednesday to Saturday you can indulge in a theatrical dining experience, showcasing mesmerising never-seen-before performances… It’s dining in Soho as you’ve never seen it before.”

A licensing application sent to Westminster city council on December 21, 2022 shows the club wants to have dancers striptease “in keeping with the historic nature of the famous Windmill theatre”.

The venue hopes to open 9am to 5am Monday to Saturday and 9am to 3am on Sunday.

The document adds that on-stage performances will also be accompanied by LED light shows.

Picture: The Windmill Theatre as it was 14 years ago (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.