Inverness barmen stopped wearing kilts over drunken harassment

BARMEN at an Inverness pub who ditched their kilts because they were being harassed by women revellers are now wearing tartan trousers instead.

Hootananny staff had to stop wearing kilts when female patrons wouldn't stop harassing them
Hootananny staff had to stop wearing kilts when female patrons wouldn't stop harassing them

Staff at Hootananny in Church Street stopped wearing their tartan last summer, complaining the problem was particularly bad at weekends when large groups of drunk women would ‘circle’ around them and lift up their kilts to check if they were wearing anything underneath.

Although the kilt will not be making a return, the staff have agreed to adopt tartan trousers to reflect the pub’s traditional Scottish theme.

Owner Kit Fraser is pleased to see tartan is making a return.

“It is a compromise,” he said. “It deals with the problem of hands up kilts but still keeps the flag flying for the great Scottish tradition of tartan. We are a quintessential Scottish bar and tourists expect to see tartan.”

Last year’s story about the men abandoning their kilts drew international attention and prompted a lively debate about the issue of sexual harassment.

The Scottish Government also became involved saying everybody in Scotland should have the right to work without fear of harassment and it was important management in all working environments did what they could to ensure that happened.

Bar manager Stuart Skinner felt tartan trousers - which would be of lightweight material - provided a reasonable compromise.

“It is just not practical to wear kilts when the bar gets busy and it gets hot,” he said.

Mr Skinner revealed, however, he will not be adopting the new style. “At 55, I am not starting to wear tartan trews behind the bar!” he said.

At the time, Iain Howie, the pub’s assistant manager, said the incidents mostly happened at weekends when the bar was particularly busy.

Staff became fed up with groups of women revellers lifting up their kilts to check whether they are “true Scotsmen”.

Mr Howie said: “You get large groups of drinking women circling around when you are collecting glasses and asking whether you are true Scotsman - and they find out for themselves,” he said.

“The first few times, it is funny. But when it is really busy and everyone has to work fast and hard, and your hands are full of glasses, you feel quite vulnerable.

“You are thinking are you going to get broken glasses or is your kilt going to get lifted up again? They see it as a bit of fun but it is a bit of an embarrassment.”

Kit Fraser, the owner of Hootananny in Inverness, described it as “pure sexism”.

“It may seem funny but it is serious, too,” he said.

“The women are sticking their hands up their kilts.

“Can you imagine if I went into a restaurant and stuck my hand up a girl’s skirt? I would be taken to the police station and rightly so.

“I look after my customers but equally important are my staff.

“I am not forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. We fellows are very, very aware of sexism. I think the women need to catch up.”

The tartan’s return coincides with the launch of the venue’s new cocktail bar, The Glow Bar, on the top floor. The new venture, which will operate at weekends, includes a £20,000 counter and incorporates LED lighting.

“It will be magical,” Mr Fraser said. “It is glitz. It is glamorous. It is kitsch.”

He said the additional bar would complement the two other floors which offer traditional Scottish ceilidh music on the ground floor and other music, including up-and-coming bands in Mad Hatters on the middle floor.

“We will have three totally different atmospheres on three different floors,” he said.