The mirror has been branded an outrage by women and is seen as an invasion of privacy
The recently-opened Shimmy Club has installed the spyglass – normally associated with police interrogations – in two of its £800-a-time private function rooms.
A spokesman for the Glasgow venue, owned by millionaire entrepreneur Stefan King’s G1 Group, insists it does not allow male or mixed-sex groups to hire the rooms.
However, the Scottish Sunday Express has seen photos showing a group of young men with a clear view of women using the bathroom.
There is no sign in the toilets or anywhere else on the premises alerting female clubgoers to the fact they can be observed.
One horrified young woman contacted this newspaper to complain about the venue, saying: “I was completely shocked to discover that the mirror in the ladies’ bathroom is a two-way mirror facing out onto the club.
“I find it absolutely outrageous that a club can get away with this, it is a complete invasion of privacy of the unsuspecting girls.
“Nowhere is it made clear that this is the case so when visiting the bathroom for the first time, there are women bending over the sink, pouting into the mirror to redo their lipstick, adjusting themselves whilst unknowingly being watched by people on the other side.”
The clubber, who asked not to be named, said she was “deeply disappointed and disgusted” when she discovered what was happening.
She added: “The fact that these two-way mirrors only look into the ladies’ bathrooms and not the men’s makes it clear that the intention is to sexualise women as objects, allowing men to make inappropriate gestures and leer disgustingly at them.
“It is completely sexist and immoral that this is allowed in a club and it is evident that they have a complete lack of respect for women and their privacy.”
Another two female clubgoers also separately confirmed they had come across the “strange system” during a night out.
When the Sunday Express contacted the venue posing as potential clients, we were told the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ booths, which can cost up to £800 to hire, had two-way mirrors into the bathrooms.
We were advised that “for the time being” the rooms were not available for male only or mixed groups.
I find it absolutely outrageous that a club can get away with this, it is a complete invasion of privacy of the unsuspecting girls.
An outraged young woman
However, a photograph on the venue’s own Facebook site shows two young women in a bathroom while a man looks on from the other side of the mirror.
Women’s organisations were aghast to learn about the “perverted” gimmick and also questioned its legality.
In the past clubs in Estonia, Austria and the USA have also fitted mirror glass into the ladies’ bathroom but it is believed this is the first example in the UK.
Because the venue, which opened earlier this month, has no seating apart from the private booths, revellers queue up to hire them for the night.
On Thursday, its Facebook site read: “Booths are nearly full for this weekend so get your requests in quick.”
Ellie Hutchinson, chair of the Scottish arm of sexual harassment group Hollaback, said: “We’re so shocked to hear that a club in Scotland thinks this sort of thing is acceptable – andthe fact that it’s up and running shows there’s a demand for it.
“At Hollaback, we know that every day so many women are subjected to being watched, judged and having their personal space invaded without their knowledge or consent.
“The fact a club is profiting off this often intimidating and frightening behaviour is gob smacking. You have to ask, why on earth would anyone think this form of non-consensual voyeurism is OK?”
Women’s charity Object was also shocked and called for the club to be reported to the police.
Last night Gary Hall, of G1 Group, said it was “definitely not the case” that the women’s toilets were fitted with two-way mirrors.
However, he asked us to email our enquiry to his colleague, who failed to respond. Our subsequent phone messages were also left unanswered.
There was nobody at the club who could comment either, and we were referred back to the group’s head office.