Plantation bar changes name following outcry
A London-based bar group has changed the name of its new rum bar – The Plantation – following an outcry over what were seen as associations with the slave trade.
The Breakfast Group, which also owns London bars 68 & Boston and Opium Chinatown, was set to open a “cavernous rum bar with a party atmosphere” called The Plantation on Duke Street in London next month.
Inspired by Cuba in the 1920s-40s, the bar was initially said to be “inspired by sugar-producing islands” with “beautiful décor reminiscent of Havana’s chic early 20th century colonial style”.
Stocking 200 rums, the bar described its private events area as a “grand house veranda” which could accommodate up to 40 guests.
However, following the launch of an online petition that called the name of the bar “deeply offensive to millions of Africans who died during the Magnamizzi (transatlantic slave trade) and the millions more who [were] enslaved on plantations”, The Plantation has been renamed Burlock.
The petition, launched by BARAC UK (Black Activists Against Cuts), called the name of the bar “grossly offensive and constitutes a grave offence to the African descent communities in London and elsewhere”.
It added: “Plantations were places where people suffered and died, where Africans suffered unimaginable violence and terror at the hands of their slave masters.
“Imagine if you can how African people would feel having to work at this venue much less eat at it?”
The bar’s new name – Burlock – refers to the twine and hemp packaging that ‘rum runners’ used during the Prohibition era to move their rum.
Burlock, which opens on 2 September, will be one of the largest rum bars in the UK and will also serve an array of Latin spirits, including cachaça, agricole rum and mezcal.
Signature cocktails include Mary’s Pickled, Grasshopper Deluxe and Daiquiris made with sugar that has been hand-pressed on-site and fresh juices that change daily. Guests will be invited to take on the grasshopper challenge – washing down a grasshopper with a shot of rum.
The bar also claims that in order to be “mindful of the hardships surrounding global sugar cane farming”, it will donate £1 from the sale of each Grasshopper Deluxe to human rights organisations.