Is BXT Frat House Gentrifying?

Written by on March 17, 2016 in Drinks - 7 Comments

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Sometimes it seems like the only word associated with Brixton these days is ‘gentrification’. But every so often things happen that mean you just can’t avoid using the word.

And for me this week that was the news that BXT Frat House is to replace the Dahlak restaurant on Brixton Road. The Independent tells us this isn’t gentrification because it’s the same team as behind the original premises and because that team is from Brixton.

I can understand the owners of the bar wanting to cash in on Brixton’s growing night time economy but replacing a business that primarily served the black community with one based on the very white middle class male dominated environment of the American frat house system smacks of gentrification for me.

There’s plenty of ways you could open a sports bar in Brixton to fill the gap in the market of people who enjoy watching sports. Bars like this can easily invite a mix of clientele across the ages, races and economic classes as sport itself can do and does do.

BXT Frat House advertises beer pong, chicken wings, video games, red cups and cheerleaders lined up. Let’s set aside that revolutionary notion that some women like sport for sport’s sake and not just to wave their pom poms at as that’s only one issue with this place.

It’s deliberately targetting a very specific demographic of young privileged, usually white men who drink heavily while regarding women as waitresses and eye candy and playing to all the stereotypes of the worst of frat boy, Clapham-ness and bro culture instead of opening a bar that is inclusive of the people in that area.

If we can’t call that gentrification per se, maybe cynical is a better word? You can decide if that applies to their business plan or my views on it. I’m also interested how Lambeth waved the license through on this when there have been issues with noise for residents around Dahlak’s opening hours?

What do you think? Does Brixton need more themed places to eat chicken wings or would you have preferred a decent boozer instead of beer pong?

About the Author

Miss South is Food Editor for the Brixton Blog and Bugle. She blogs at northsouthfood.com and can be contacted at food@brixtonblog.com or Twitter @northsouthfood. If she isn't thinking about what to have for dinner or buying something in Brixton market she doesn't recognise but might deep fry anyway, she'll email you back as soon as possible...

7 Comments on "Is BXT Frat House Gentrifying?"

  1. John April 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm ·

    If it’s the same owners (from Brixton!), employing people from Brixton, then I don’t see how you can call it gentrification. If you have a problem with the style of the establishment, then that’s simply a matter of taste — but I think it is dishonest to disguise it as gentrification only because it doesn’t suit your preferences.
    Is the style one of traditionally middle-class, white-male places? Yes. Should we give it a chance to thrive? I believe so. Walked in there yesterday — I was the only white person inside (if that matters so much) — the owner or manager showed me around and was very welcoming.
    Perhaps it is time to look at who exactly we’re targeting and how our thirst to stop gentrification may be harming the very people who have put their time and money locally for years and years.

  2. I live up Brixton Hill March 21, 2016 at 11:09 am ·

    Why do the writers on this blog invariably complain about small independent businesses, which are often run by a small group of people with no support and very little money, and yet happily ignore the enormous multinational chain brands whose outlets infest the high street?

    The idiocy of this was brought home with startling clarity when that moronic Anarchist horde descended on the market last year to protest against “Champagne et Fromage.” I admit, it’s a pretty awful name. But it is also a very small business run by a bunch of people with one other outlet. And yet the Anarchist goofs chose this as their target, completely ignoring the Starbucks, the McDonalds, even the damned banks, businesses that truly represent the homogenising advance of global capitalism, and which are robbing the high street of its identity to a vastly greater extent than some overpriced bar in the market.

    The real motivation behind the Champagne et Fromage protest, and indeed, the reason for the above whinge, is really nothing to do with what business sets up where in Brixton. The real issue is the “tone” of the places that are starting up in Brixton, and the class of person that these businesses appear intended to attract. This is what provoked the protest by those drongo Crusties against CeF last year. Class.

    It is also what lies, rather revoltingly I feel, behind the above screed. The references to Clapham and to “bro-culture” simply drip with class resentment.

    The sooner you stop running this lazy class hatred-inflected bilge, the better.

    • SW9 born n bred March 21, 2016 at 11:48 pm ·

      Well said!

  3. mark March 17, 2016 at 10:11 pm ·

    Why do so many people from Brixton have to pick on Clapham, and the people who live there. This kind of sectarian, inverse snobbery should be outmoded and beneath the good people of this town. It feels like the 80s when insults were thrown between Millwall and Chelsea supporters, in the days they both played in the same league, – each ignorantly deriding, and believing in some sort of God given right to to boast they were better than the other. Hopefully one day Brixton will grow out of the chip it seems to carry on the shoulders of so many of its inhabitants.

  4. Graham March 17, 2016 at 7:45 pm ·

    A place that has “cheerleader waitresses” as one of it’s main attractions is an insult.
    Initially I thought this was a joke but it is too early for April Fools day.

  5. V March 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm ·

    A while ago there was an April’s fool joke article in which it was mentioned that Brixton’s name to be change to Clapham East. Seems like there was some truth in it. Not long now until the transformation is complete.

  6. Dil March 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm ·

    Why you pick on local retailers? Why not pick on the chains and their tax avoidance – Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Vodaphone? They’re the ones operating on prime retails sites that could be used by local retailers.

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