Businessman John Deverell is furious after doormen told him he was too old to enter a trendy new bar.

At first he thought the steward at the new Polar Bar Central in Queens Road, Brighton, was joking when he said: "Sorry, you are too old. We are trying to cater for a younger, trendier crowd."

But the doorman persisted and told Mr Deverell's 28-year-old son he could not come in either because he was not trendily dressed.

Mr Deverell arrived at the new bar at 7pm after work to buy his staff Christmas drinks.

He was allowed in to meet the workers, who were already inside - and the party walked out when he explained he had been barred because of his age.

Now Mr Deverell is checking licensing arrangements for the bar, which is part of the Brighton-based C-Side pub chain.

The company has bought up a group of clubs, pubs and bars in the city and turned them into haunts for 18 to 35-year-olds.

They include The Shark Bar in West Street and two other Polar Bars in the city centre.

Mr Deverell, who runs Green Machine, a cash machine business in North Road, Brighton said: "At first I thought it was a wind-up by members of my staff.

"But when I realised the doorman was being deadly serious, I was furious. I was let in to meet my staff on the grounds I did not cause any trouble.

"They were as angry as I was when I told them what had happened and we all walked out.

"I have never caused any trouble in a pub and I have never been turned away from a pub for being too old or any other reason.

"It is disgraceful that the pub chain should discriminate in this way.

"It is not as if this is a club playing a certain type of music for a particular student crowd. This is a pub in the centre of Brighton."

Mr Deverell was dressed in a jacket and trousers and was not wearing a tie. His son, Simon, was also dressed in his business clothes.

"They told my son he could not come in either because he was not trendily dressed. We both think it is disgraceful a pub company can discriminate in this way when we are willing to spend money.

"I am a relatively young 54-year-old and I keep up to date with fashions and trends."

The manager of the pub, who gave his name only as Chris, said: "C-side is a successful pub chain which does not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of age, sex or for any other reason.

"As a manager, I have a right to tell my door staff to refuse entry to anyone I do not think is suitable to come into my pub. We had very good reason to refuse this man at that busy time of the evening.

"I am very glad I did because I was abused and sworn at by some of the people he was with."