Yelpers are torching Bottled Blonde for the River North bar’s lengthy and supposedly racist dress code. Meanwhile, the bar’s management may not be talking publicly, but they’ll have to answer to city officials on Tuesday morning when the bar’s management goes before Chicago’s liquor commission to discuss revocation of its liquor license. The hearing has nothing to do with the dress code, as it was previously scheduled after a series of hearings last summer involving pissed-off residents.
The angry Yelp comments/reviews are forcing the website into cleanup mode. Yelp routinely disallows comments if a venue is in the news, claiming any reviews would be unfairly biased. However, some have argued that a racist dress code is pertinent info, and that the move isn’t consumer friendly.
This talks about things like Cecil the Lion and the dentist's office. Different. A restaurant should lose stars for keeping Black folx out. https://t.co/5RRypUfWMw— Dystopian Scribe (@MsKellyMHayes) June 2, 2017
Ald. (42nd) Brendan Reilly is also raising his voice. His office was helpful residents during the course of those meetings, but for the most part the alderman previously remained neutral in public. That’s changed after news of the dress code spread, as he compared the dress code to the lengthy Magna Carta and disputed whether Bottled Blonde, which operates on an incidental liquor license meant for restaurants, should be considered a restaurant at all.
How many "restaurants" offer tableside bottles of vodka & need to post a "dress code" longer than the Magna Carta? pic.twitter.com/SlZGuRtt0Z— Brendan Reilly (@AldReilly) June 1, 2017
The Bottled Blonde also faced heat on Thursday when management posted via Facebook that it would show game 1 of the NBA Finals. Commenters unleashed and wrote that the bar was hypocritical and that the basketball players themselves wouldn’t even be allowed inside the bar due to the dress code. Ironically, many of Bottled Blonde’s male staff who attended last summer’s meetings at City Hall had tattoos and wore jewelry. The bar has started erasing user Facebook comments from its page.
Tuesday’s meeting is expected to be a short administrative session, as it’s a long road before the city could possibly revoke the liquor license. The process is expected be lengthy, similar to last summer’s meetings at City Hall when residents from the condos that surround the bar complained about noise, car traffic, patrons vomiting outside, and pot smoking in alleys. Those community meetings led up to next week’s hearing at City Hall, and a group of those angry residents expect to attend.
Those residents were angry that Bottled Blonde ownership presented themselves as a restaurant to gain necessary city permits. Instead, they clear out the dining room and remove table and chairs at night to operate as a dance club without proper security, residents charge. At no time during the community meetings was there discussion of the dress code and possible bigoted overtones.
But it’s not all serious, as one Reddit user went the comedic route and geared up to take this photo.
DNAinfo first reported news of next week’s hearing.