The Association of Pub Operators and Restaurateurs (Hoxton Branch) has announced that from today, to gain entry to one of their establishments it will be necessary for all men, without exception, to have a beard and that preferential treatment including best tables and service will be given to those sporting the most resplendent face fuzz.

Martin Evans, the association’s branch secretary said: ‘Hoxton has its reputation as London’s most hip and trendy area to uphold. We’re constantly under attack from the likes of Camberwell and Islington both wanting to steal our coveted crown.’

‘Therefore we feel it’s a positive move to encourage bearded men, which of course is every Hoxton man anyway, to further enhance their appearance – certainly increased length, more luxuriant growth and extremely ornate moustaches will be the way to go. However as a note of caution designer stubble will no longer cut it I’m afraid.’

Speaking to lunchtime customers at one Hoxton hostelry, The Telescope & Cheese Soufflé, there seems to be some empathy with the idea. ‘We Hoxtonians have taken our eye off the ball lately and this will now focus minds and encourage everyone to up their game significantly,’ agrees trainee architect, Archie Finlay, himself sporting a very arresting plaited beard and exquisitely waxed handlebar moustache spanning a full fourteen inches.

Meanwhile Evans added: ‘We will watch our hipness rating in the coming months and if we’re happy with the progress as a result of this initiative then we can’t rule out extending the new measures to include women too.’