Lola Lo nightclub investigating after Cambridge student claims bouncer assaulted her

The student says the bouncer was ‘screaming and swearing and spitting in my face’

C/N: discussions of physical assault, verbal abuse and claustrophobia

A Cambridge student has claimed that a bouncer at Lola Lo nightclub assaulted her when overcrowding led to a blocked staircase. 

Speaking to The Tab Cambridge, the nightclub has responded by promising to conduct an immediate internal investigation and to introduce a one-way system up the staircase by opening up a rear staircase.

The student described that a male bouncer “grabbed my arm and would not let go,” and added that he was “screaming and swearing and spitting in my face.”

She also claims that, upon obtaining an email to lodge a formal complaint, the bouncer “whispered in my ear to threaten that he would be the one dealing with the email.”

The alleged assault occurred on a Halloween night, when bouncers attempted to clear an overcrowded staircase after a malfunction on one of the dance floors.

The student described that: “I was on my period and was desperate to go upstairs to go to the toilet, however, the stairs were jam-packed. 

“One bouncer grabbed my arm and would not let go (really hurting me in the process) screaming and swearing and spitting in my face.”

She added that she is “now scared to report what happened, in case he is in fact the one dealing with” any “email complaints” that she lodges. 

The student continued: “I think the overcapacity and that the behaviour of the bouncer is absolutely disgusting and deserves to be called out- I will never set foot there again.”

The testimony was collected as part of an investigation by The Cambridge Tab, after hearing reports from students of “overcrowding” at Lola Lo’s.

A representative for Lola Lo commented that they “will immediately be undertaking an internal investigation and if the complaints are found to be justified, strong and decisive action will be taken.

They added that: “The legal capacity of Lola Lo is 540 and we would stress that under no circumstances have we, or would we, ever exceed that number.” The full statement is quoted below.

Other student testimonies also drew attention to the bouncer’s behaviour during the crowded time. 

One student claimed that on Halloween, at around 12:20 am the bouncers, when attempting to clear the stairway, shouted “fuck off” at students. 

Another student alleged that when their friend asked the bouncers to use the toilet on account of being on her period, they “laughed at her and said to her that the boys who’d just gone up in front of her must have also been on their period and urgently needed to go upstairs.”

Students who attended on Halloween claimed that from 12 pm to 1 am, it took “20 plus minutes” to move up a single flight of stairs due to the large number of people crowding the stairway. The testimonies reveal that students felt  “panicked” and “crushed.” 

One student who attended said that they “couldn’t move to leave, and at one stage I was pushed over and four or five people fell on top of me.”

Another response reported that they were concerned they might “have a panic attack and not be able to get out.” Additional responses outlined that the next day they were “covered in bruises.”

Response from Lola Lo nightclub

The operations executive of Eclectic Bars LTD, which owns Lola Lo, commented that: “Firstly, we would like to thank The Tab for bringing this matter to our attention. As a responsible operator of late-night entertainment venues, we take incidents and allegations of this kind extremely seriously. They are dealt with at a senior level, both in the venue and the company itself.

“The legal capacity of Lola Lo is 540 and we would stress that under no circumstances have we, or would we, ever exceed that number.

“Unfortunately, on the night in question – an event staged by an outside promoter – we were faced with the unusual circumstance of around 500 students arriving and attempting to access the same room all at the same time, something that had not occurred on other nights.

“As a direct result of this distressing situation, we will, from this weekend, be putting into effect a modification to customer flow by opening up the rear staircase, which is normally only accessible by staff members. This will enable us to implement a one-way system on the main staircase.

“Attempting to control the crowd that evening placed our door supervisors and security staff, who are employed by an outside company, in a highly stressful situation. That said, there is no excuse for behaviour of the kind alleged by this customer in The Tab’s investigation.

“We have to say that we are surprised that the customer didn’t bring these issues to our attention on the night or contact us the following day when we could have begun to investigate. However, the venue’s senior management and I will immediately be undertaking an internal investigation and if the complaints are found to be justified, strong and decisive action will be taken.

“I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter personally with the customer in question and should she have made a complaint of assault to the police we would obviously be happy to co-operate with any investigation.

“We will contact The Tab with the outcome of the internal investigation in due course. In the meantime, may we stress that the safety and security of our customers and staff is paramount and we will do everything in our power to ensure that Lola Lo operates to the very highest standards.”

This news follows research conducted by The Tab revealing that only 1 in 20 Cambridge students feel safe on a night out.

The external events promoter company to declined comment.

Feature image credits: Matilda Head