Embattled River North bro-bar Bottled Blonde is facing plenty of ire for an incredibly-detailed dress code that’s been circling the Internet the last few days. The specific phrases in question are “No excessively Baggie [sic], Sagging, Ripped, Dirty, Frayed, Overly Flashy, or Bright clothing,” “No plain white tees, long tees, denim, flannel (not even around one’s waist)” “No gang attire...no camouflage,” and “shorts must be no longer than one inch past your knees.”
Here’s a photo of the very lengthy dress code:
This seems a lot of words for “No Black People”, but...that's what it says. https://t.co/GgJIMz9phd— We Told You So (@culturedstate) May 31, 2017
Some are writing that certain parts are contradictory. For example, in a city where Michael Jordan reigned, patrons can’t wear any Jordan Brand shoes, but Chuck Taylors and Vans are OK.
I think the amount of sketchy inclusions is too high to ignore, but yeah essentially only a suit and tie (with Vans) is cool?— nuck (@LouBegaVEVO) May 30, 2017
The bar wants to discourage gang activity, but what exactly does it mean to ban “gang attire?”
Meanwhile, Hawaiian and tie-dyed shirts, and “anything else obnoxious”—like Ed Hardy gear—are also prohibited. The code even restricts sports jerseys, “except during games and of the appropriate team.” Does that mean Cubs’ fans can’t sport their Kris Bryant jersey during a White Sox game?
The code also focuses on men. If taken literally, men can’t wear wedding rings as the code includes “no male jewelry.” There’s also an odd “case-by-case basis” clause. In the case of Bottled Blonde, one Reddit user connected some dots.
Sketchy dress codes aren’t anything new to Chicago. Chance The Rapper made similar allegations last year following an outing at WhirlyBall. When instituting similar dress codes, other bar owners have claimed that they’re weeding out problems for security’s sake. That was the defense The Original Mother’s on Rush and Division used in 2009 when their dress code came under fire for discrimination. The bar apologized for the incident.
Even though the bar has roots as an Arizona party spot, Bottle Blonde’s Chicago staff has made efforts to brand the spot for Chicago as more of a restaurant. The dress code reiterates those efforts with desires to create a “classy atmosphere” and “a high standard of dress.”
This dress code is also reminiscent of an instance last year when a would-be patron at Parlor Pizza Bar in the West Loop was denied entry for wearing sweatpants—tailored, $250, wool sweatpants. The man, Antar Jackson, is pursuing his complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Jackson said he has a hearing on the matter in July.
A man answering the Bottled Blonde’s phone said “no comment” and wouldn’t refer the call to another staffer.