Hilton Tries Convincing Guests That Buying $18 Drinks Is A Radical Act

Hilton’s Canopy by Hilton London City created controversy driving for authenticity, and food and beverage revenue, by branding its bar after European socialist anarchists. The socialists were outraged by using their history to sell $18 drinks to “wanky City types.”

Cocktails had names like “the Russian Anarchist” and told the story of Peter Kropotkin who fled Tsarist Russia for London to pursue his ideas, and “Why Work?” after a series of anti-capitalist essays.

The cafe was named after the historic Freedom Press anarchist publisher down the road in Whitechapel. The bar’s menu was even made to look like a copy of Freedom Press, the anarchist journal published since 1886, with “Anarchist Weekly” written on the top of the page. It offered, “Anarchy, coffee, drinks and comfort food”.

There was just one problem. Freedom Press – still an anarchist collective publishing books and running a bookshop in Whitechapel – say they were never consulted about any of this and are furious about it.

…Seeing the cafe as just the latest example of gentrification of the formerly working-class district, they added: “Surely these people weren’t actually boneheaded enough to wholesale rip off our name, photos and even the introduction to our history page on our own website for some mindless, dust-chewing corporate branding exercise?”

Hilton was forced to remove the edgy socialist branding from its capitalist endeavor. Even their website description as “a gathering place for writers, radicals, entrepreneurs and artists – a breeding ground for concepts that would go on to change the world” has been removed. The name ‘Freedom’ has been removed from the cafe’s name, and the “anarchist newspaper style menu had been replaced with a generic one.”

The hotel blames third party consultants, as though they had no part in approving the branding of their own cafe.

The Canopy by Hilton brand aims to offer guests unique experiences inspired by the local neighbourhood. It was this brief that was given to a third party consultancy group of global repute, who were charged with creating a café and bar concept with references to the locality. In response, the agency proposed the Freedom Café and Bar concept, inspired by the local Freedom Press Publishing House.

Canopy London City is extremely disappointed to learn that the consultancy did not approach Freedom Press Publishing House for their consent prior to creating the food and beverage concept. As a result, Canopy London City have established contact with Freedom Press Publishing House with a view to finding a mutually agreeable resolution as soon as possible.

A decade ago a German bank began issuing the Karl Marx Mastercard because “there are some things money can’t buy. Especially if you abolish all private property.”

In 2015 Newark airport got the OTG rendition of CBGB’s, the legendary punk rock music club in New York’s East Village that opened in the 1970s. One of the most important music venues in Manhattan, it was an important stop for the B-52’s, Blondie, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and the Talking Heads.

In the airport version you’d order on iPads amidst “a flatscreen TV showing a sports match” while they were taking “our memories [and] merchandizing them back to us at a significant mark-up.”

Last year Marriott added a hotel to its portfolio called “The Socialist” with four classes of service (from rooms to suites) and very non-egalitarian room rates, promising to provide “privileged access to the surrounding city.”

Its website boasts that “within lies an interior of exquisite materiality” by which they certainly refer to dialectical materialism. By staying in a class conscious property while promoting socialism, you’re heightening the contradictions of capitalism.

Meanwhile the W South Beach used to display the image of Che Guevara as art.

Guevara helped set up Cuba’s secret police and forced labor camps, was responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners, and tortured prisoners (including children). He called himself “Stalin II” (though felt Soviet totalitarianism didn’t go far enough and preferred North Korea as a model). Yet associating with Guevara, like “The Socialist” in Copenhagen, makes one hip, trendy, and somehow ‘in’ on the postmodern joke… like Argentines who years ago took to wearing a Che t-shirt that read “Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué,”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. if anybody buys into that BS then they deserved to be taken for a ride with stupid prices..
    somehow hotels feel that “millennials” (a stupid term on its own) like this…..

  2. These hotels these days… Any ways to steal money from guest is OK… They Westin Tampa Bay tried to steal $7000 from my AMEX when I cancelled 3 rooms on points during Super Bowl WELL before deadlines and held my cash for 3 months when finally AMEX got the money back… REAL THEIVES. You have to watch everything, every angles they come and surcharge you ALL the time with that nice smile on their faces… THIEVES.. Someone had it right before… We send Mike Tyson to ALL these hotels that are giving the business a bad name… Yeah, let’s DO THIS???

  3. A bit ironic that anti-capitalists who inherently don’t believe in property rights are upset about someone stealing their name (IP). 🙂

  4. The Karl Marx card and its tag line is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time!

  5. Nauseating to me when I see an ignorant “woke” person with a Che Guevara T-shirt, as if he weren’t a grimly evil racist and homophobic mass-murderer.

  6. I’m with @doug. If some idiots are good with this, they’re just getting what they deserve.

    As to Hilton, what’s next, a Sovereign Citizens bar?

  7. I love how these consultants, who spew this nonsense about millennials being unique in wanting “authentic experiences” then produce the most artificial ones possible. Reminds me of a hotel (Ink?) in Amsterdam where, on remodeling it from a previous hotel, someone observed that the building used to house a newspaper. So they wrote some copy about how printing was “in their DNA” and festooned the place with what someone who had never been to a newspaper’s offices or press might think it had: glass containers full of cheap pens, reams of grey paper, a few wooden letterpress letters.

    The only radical thought coming from that Hilton bar will be that an older gentleman needs only redistribute a bit of his wealth for the young worker to seize his means of reproduction.

  8. It shows how degenerate western culture is.

    An ideology that killed over 100 million between the Soviet Union, China and other places is celebrated by trendy empty sacks of meat with legs walking around western cities.

    Imagine if the hotel had a “Authentic 1930’s German Experience” where you walked through a train car and the employees stripped you of all your possessions leaving you in your underwear to where you could then sit at the hotel bar and get a “free” drink?

  9. Good for the Freedom Press! Hopefully, this is a true stand on principles, not just a holdout for more licensing fees… I was beginning to worry that the only way Gil Scott-Heron’s prophesy, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” was going to be true was because the streaming rights had already been sold to Disney+

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