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Robin Collins refused entry to George Vaults bar in Rochester for wearing kilt

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It might have been all right for Mel Gibson in Braveheart, but it seems wearing a kilt was a fashion statement too far for one Rochester doorman.

For when Robin Collins marched towards the George Vaults showing his knees he was told: “You’re not coming in here looking like that.”

With his Celtic ancestors no doubt spinning in their graves, Mr Collins did a Highland fling and moved on to another bar that provided more of a welcome.

Robin Collins in his kilt
Robin Collins in his kilt

It is the first time the 40-year-old photographer has had any such problems. He is often seen in his leather kilt – even taking a brisk winter walk from his home in Marsh Crescent, High Halstow, to a pub in Cooling.

The fitness fan takes part in high-intensity “Spartan runs” and spends a lot of time at the Virgin Active Medway gym.

Last Saturday night he and a group of about 25 people from the gym’s spinning class went out for a Christmas do, starting with a meal at the Shozna before moving on to the Vaults.

Mr Collins was refused entry to George Vaults
Mr Collins was refused entry to George Vaults

He said: “It was a bit of a laugh to get my legs out, because I’m known for my calves. But I do wear the kilt generally as well.

“I got a lot of nice comments on it at the Shozna. It’s always a good conversation starter.”

But he received a much cooler reception when he arrived at the bar at around 10.30pm.

"I couldn’t believe it – not being able to wear a kilt in the United Kingdom? I feel like that’s offensive to our own culture" - Robin Collins

Mr Collins, who assured KentOnline he always wears underwear while in the kilt after some embarrassing pranks when he wore it in his early 20s, said: “I’m quite a big bloke and I don’t know if the bouncer immediately took a dislike to me or what.

“We were queuing outside and one of the group, Claire, was cold, so I gave her my sheepskin coat. It was that little act of chivalry that got me spotted, I think.

“I got to the door and the bouncer just said ‘you’re not coming in here looking like that’.

“I couldn’t believe it – not being able to wear a kilt in the United Kingdom? I feel like that’s offensive to our own culture. Even the Royal Family wear kilts on Christmas Day.

“My friend got in just wearing a T-shirt while I was in a smart shirt, and I saw people inside in fancy dress. I suppose I should have said I was in fancy dress and maybe I would have got in, but I shouldn’t have had to.

"I’d even gone out that day because I needed new smart shoes, and that’s normally what they have the problem with. I didn’t want to argue, so I left with my brother.”

The pair went into the Singapora without a problem, but being separated from the group had ruined the mood, and after one drink they got a taxi home.

The George Vaults manager declined to give a comment, but responded to Mr Collins’ complaint this week saying: “I am sorry to hear that you encountered problems with our door staff on Saturday night.

“We as a business do respect traditions at Christmas and as far as I am aware we have always allowed kilts in our venue. We can only apologise once again for the whole misunderstanding.”

Mr Collins, who once appeared on Blind Date, said: “I’m glad they’ve apologised, but they can’t change the fact that it ruined my night and the Christmas do.”

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