A dress code in effect at a Minneapolis restaurant, Bar Louie, has some customers pledging to boycott the eating and drinking establishment because they say the eatery’s list of banned clothing apparel is designed to discourage African Americans from patronizing the place.
The list of prohibited articles of attire on a sign posted outside the bustling chain restaurant include:
• Flat-billed hats
• Large chains
• Sleeveless under shirts
• Long white T-shirts
• Athletic apparel
• Sports jerseys without collars
• Excessively baggy clothing
But one Minneapolis woman who saw the dress code sign is speaking out.
“It’s the new Jim Crow being enforced in a colorblind way,” said Michelle Horiovitz, speaking to a Minneapolis TV station, Fox 9 News. “You might as well say, ‘No black folks allowed.’ It’s ridiculous.”
The dress code at the Minneapolis Bar Louie is in effect from Thursday to Saturday nights from 9 pm until closing time — prime party hours.
Bar Louie Restaurants is a national chain of casual, upscale restaurants with its corporate headquarters in Addison, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The chain has 85 locations in cities around the United States and describes itself as “a progressively hip neighborhood restaurant and bar with a lively atmosphere.”
The manager of the Minneapolis Bar Louie explained that in setting the dress code, he was simply following orders handed down from his corporate bosses. But reportedly, another area Bar Louie in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka has not posted a similar dress code.
But last year, a Memphis, Tennessee, Bar Louie franchise posted a dress code mandating “all hats face forward, no excessively baggy clothing, no large chains worn outside, no sleeveless shirts for men, no large white t-shirts, no sweat pants, and no sunglasses.”
That dress code caused a similar backlash, and the manager of the Memphis Bar Louie then modified the code’s requirements.
Whatever the reason for the new ban on specific attire, the Minneapolis Bar Louis dress code has local residents saying they’ll no longer spend their money at the popular establishment.
“If you do not want African Americans to frequent your establishment, then maybe you should just say that and not just break it down to the dress code,” said resident Imani Vincent to Fox 9 News.
Another resident, Sean Tierney, told the station that he viewed the posted dress code as “totally racial profiling.”
Vincent suggested a boycott of Bar Louis as long as it maintained the allegedly racist dress code. “Hurt ’em in the pockets,” he said. “If they don’t want us there, then we don’t have to be there — and that’s their loss.”
Bar Louie’s corporate office had yet to comment on the allegedly racist dress code or why it was instituted.