Your days of hitting the pre-lash might be numbered
London nightlife is heading for a serious modification, thanks to a proposal to breathalyse clubbers before they enter the venue. According to the Evening Standard, police and venues are working on a pilot scheme that gives doormen the chance to check up on people before entry and affords them the right to bar them if they're deemed too drunk to party responsibly.
The amount you're allowed to imbibe before entering is reportedly set at twice the legal driving limit, which works out to roughly three and a half pints. Metropolitan Police say that drink-related violence is on the rise in town centres and the move will help clamp down on booze-related bust ups. Anecdotal evidence from a pilot scheme in Croydon proved it was a success.
Chief Inspector Gary Taylor told the Standard: "(Bouncers) have told us that it did help reduce violence and confrontations involving door staff. The breathalyser helped to stop people who were persistently trying to get into clubs when they'd clearly had too much to drink. In the past door staff would get involved in long arguments with people who were refused entry. People who were arguing with staff were more likely to accept the results of the breathalyser."
A spokesperson for the charity DrinkAware tells us: "We support initiatives that help to reduce alcohol related anti-social behaviour on nights out. We know there is a lot of pressure on young people to drink as much as everybody else. Among young people, taking part in drunken nights out is essential if you want to be part of some friendship circles. Half of young people we spoke to said a typical night out involves drinking with friends before going out."
There are obvious problems with the scheme. The move probably won't bother rich folk in London who can fritter away cash on post-fifteen quid margaritas, but for most of us, spending all of our night in a club is not only fairly dull, but expensive too. That's why I end up putting 35cl of Sainsbury's own-brand whisky down my pants when I go to clubs.
And while the "pre-lash" phenom has a noxious reputation of some kind of cultish process where everyone sits round injecting ethanol before going out, isn't it also just a way to hang out with people you like before going to a huge, sweaty club and you know, not talking much?
The other problem with denying clubbers entry based on how much booze they've consumed is that absolutely loads of people get wasted without ever once thinking about having a fight. It seems ludicrous to deny someone entry for having had three pints on the basis that they could get into a fight. Shades of precrime, anyone?
The scheme is yet another measure in a long list of measures to be introduced to the capital's nightlife, in addition to the most important measure – everything's shutting down too. Last December, Fabric was threatened with closure after four drug-related deaths in three years. It finally bowed to police requests and agreed to remove outdoor heating and introduce seven sniffer dogs and more CCTV surveillance.
Police say that it's too early to say whether or not the trial in Croydon had any direct effect on alcohol-related violence. However, it feels like clubbing in the capital is becoming an increasingly boring minefield.
Liked this? Head here for more stories on the state of London's nightlife: