Through the flickering neon. Off the beaten track. Behind closed doors lies a world of guilty adult drinking environment in the heart of Bristol…Red Light Bristol.
At One Unity Street a red light glows at night illuminating a beaten-up old doorway seemingly abandoned to time. Next to the door, defaced with graffiti, a payphone is fixed to the wall, linking the outside world with this quirky underground cocktail bar in Bristol.
The bar’s emergence signals a high point for secret, or “door knock”, bars which have beaten the recession and flourished in recent years.
At Red Light Bristol, a call on the old payphone illuminates a red light downstairs and the manager can assess the client on CCTV before deciding to let them in or not. The closed door policy is a blessing for a bar in the city centre which would normally require a security guard.
Making your way downstairs, past the neon light spelling “sex” and into the boudoir area furnished with Victorian chaise lounges and cherub wall lamps. Inside it’s all sex and cocktails; flatteringly low lights and bygone décor will make you feel like you’ve found yourself in a real life Prohibition den. Sit by the bar and enjoy the eye candy or schmooze in one of the more intimate booths.
The boys behind the bar sport crisp shirts and slicked hair and the girls are just as glam as the retro pin-ups decorating the walls.
I can only imagine what my old mum would say if I told her I had been to a red light bar! Not for one minute is this place sleazy…its pure class.