The latest addition to Brighton and Hove’s night- time attractions has been criticised for its “overtly sexist” name.

New speakeasy-themed night- club Dirty Blonde, which held its invite-only opening night on Thursday, has been criticised by equality campaigners for its provocative name.

But club owners have defended the name, saying it is based on a New York cocktail and is an innocent term, already in everyday use as a hair colour.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “It’s disappointing that this club has chosen such an outdated name.

“I thought that we had moved on from the overt sexism of the past, but this club appears not to mind alienating half of its potential clients.”

Ian Freeman, a spokesman for Dirty Blonde, said the bar name has “no relation to feminist or male issues” but was simply the name of a cocktail of vodka, vermouth, banana liqueur and pineapple juice that company CEO Reuben Harley tasted in a New York speakeasy.

Mr Freeman said: “It is never our intention to be sexist. We want to attract people of both sexes to our nightclub.”

The new 320-capacity bar and restaurant opened this week in East Street at the site of the for-mer Madame Geisha, which closed at the turn of the year.

Mr Freeman said the city had “always been an exciting testing site for the brands” of bar opera- tors Eclectic Bar Group which had previously launched Coalition and Lola Lo in Brighton and Hove.

He said: “I think Brighton is a progressive town, ready to embrace a new concept and where better to try this new speakeasy themed concept than in Brighton.”

The 1920s styled venue will be concealed behind a pawn-brokers shop which will sell or trade vintage ephemera, from guitars and brooches to cigar cases and per fume bottles in what owners are describing as an exciting new concept trialled for the first time in Brighton.

It will open six days a week from midday until 3am and from mid- day until 11pm on Sundays.

Between midday and 3pm, customers can sample a Dirty Brunch while a Boston Tea Party will be held between 3pm and 6pm every day.

The restaurant menu is described as “classic New York fusion” while after 9pm, the pawn- shop becomes a meet and greet area.