It's 2019, and public conversation around gender equality is more alive than ever, but there are some things experienced every day that really haven't changed.

A New York City hotspot amongst celebrities and locals alike has banned women from sitting alone at the bar.

A regular patron at the Italian restaurant, was astounded when she was removed from the bar.

Nello, located in NY's Upper East Side say they have imposed the ban to avoid their establishment being a spot for hookers.


Clementine Crawford, creative executive of branding firm Finch & Partners, wrote an essay about the belittling experience for Drugstore Culture (a digital and print platform focused around culture, politics and the arts) titled "The Night I Was Mistaken for a Call Girl".

She regularly dined at Nello, the Madison Avenue restaurant recognised for the drool-worthy $275USD ($409NZD) white truffle pasta dishes commonly shared as a point of status on social media.

In recent years she'd often choose the restaurant when working in Manhattan and not London, where she is based half of the time.

On this occasion, she was "perched at my favourite seat at the bar" when a waiter "advised - with evident embarrassment - that I was no longer permitted to eat at my usual spot and that I must now sit down at a table," she wrote in the recount.

She returned a few days later for it to occur again. Staff said to Crawford: "Nobody was able to eat at the bar".

"Company policy."

She did as she was told, but noticed a man at the bar being graciously served a complete pasta dinner, finished off with a limoncello.

"Why, I wondered, was I suddenly being treated so frostily? 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 said in her essay for the website Drugstore Culture.


She wrote, "But hang on: Did this mean they thought that I was an escort? Or could be mistaken for one? At first, I was incensed. Not because I am judgmental about the world's oldest profession, but because this treatment struck me as outright discrimination. They had classified me, marginalised me, relegated me to the corner by the loos simply because I was an unaccompanied woman."

Then, "I asked to speak with the owner to try and rectify the situation".

Crawford explained she "travelled for work and reminded him that I was a regular at his restaurant … That it was a brave thing to do, to eat out on one's own. And this was their response?".

"He told me that he could run his business as he pleased and that I was no longer welcome to eat at the bar, only at a table."

"Things escalated quickly into an explosive argument. I told him what I thought of him in no uncertain terms and departed into the night with a heavy heart."

Initially, Crawford did not state the restaurant's name, but has since confirmed to The NY Post that it was Nello.

She finished of the essay describing the situation as "sexism that still silently seethes" in the #MeToo era: "It's easy to focus on the front-page carnage. But it's the demoralising experiences of the everyday that really count.

We are still fighting for a seat at the table (or bar)."

Nello denied to comment.

Nello is a New York city hotspot, regularly attracting celebrity guests such as Charlize Theron (pictured). Photo / Getty Images
Nello is a New York city hotspot, regularly attracting celebrity guests such as Charlize Theron (pictured). Photo / Getty Images