7/23/2012 10:59:00 AM

Testing the Dress Code: Are Fashion Rules at Restaurants All Talk?

Can you get into Le Bernadin wearing this? 
Plenty of NYC bars and restaurants say they have a dress code - usually this means no hats, sneakers, cutoffs, flip-flops or jeans. Sometimes the venues post these no-nos right on their front door. But are these rules enforced? We decided to check out a few hot spots with stated dress codes and see how strict they are about what their customers wear. Many of the joints were a lot more lax than we expected. Except when we wore Crocs. Click though the below slideshow to see who didn't care that we were dressed like bums, and who actually turned us away at the door.

14 comments :

  1. You guys are brave to do this! I'd be too embarrassed to even try. It reminds me of a dinner I had last week. The restaurant is a prix fixe; $70+ per person. Maybe it's because I come from humble beginnings or that I was raised to be super respectful, but while there, two men walked in wearing T-shirts and shorts. One guy even had a chain wallet! The restaurant did not have a dress code, at least not that I was aware of, but if you're gonna plunk down $70+ per person, you shouldn't be dressed like you're gonna order Shake Shack. I find that to be hugely disrespectful. Not only to the restaurant, but for yourself. If you're going to dine, you should dress well.

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    1. but it is ones own money being spent. The restaurant is serving the customer not the other way around.

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    2. What's the point of paying a restaurant to let it boss what you wear?

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  2. I understand your point but I think in this economy restaurant owners are just grateful for the business. In this internet age, all a customer needs to do is claim discrimination based on looks or dress and unfortunately it will be all over social media.

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  3. are dress codes becoming more relaxed or is the workforce becoming retards!!! this is the question.

    cheers to LB for standards

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  4. I'm a member of the 21 Club and was once entering after two young ladies - one wearing sneakers. They were denied access into the Club because of the sneakers (they otherwise looked fine).

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  5. Kudos to the locations that made an effort to uphold some standard. I sometimes believe that most places will allow you in dressed in any manner as long as you have an AMEX gold card hanging from your neck.

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  6. The time of day definitely makes a big difference. You didn't mention the time for any but the last one, when you acknowledged this.

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  7. I think dress codes are important because people don't seem to respect themselves and others anymore.

    People shouldn't need to be told that screaming into your cell phone in the middle of a restaurant is disrespectful, they should just know it; either they were raised by wolves or they simply don't care. In that same vein, people shouldn't be showing up at a restaurant, where the Maitre D is wearing a Tux (obvious exceptions apply here) and the staff is in dress whites with gloves on, wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

    And style does not make up for class!!! Just because a woman's jeans cost $300 doesnt mean she should wear them in a place full of suits and gowns. I know, that Ed Hardy shirt is all the rage in da club, but it is not appropriate in a room full of well dressed people.

    I think a general rule would be to use the servers as your barometer. If they are in jeans and a t-shirt, wear whatever you want. If they are dressed a little nicer but without embelishment (slacks and a button down), you are still pretty open, no sports wear maybe. If they are in full out formal wear, tuxes and white gloves, you should at least be business casual but a jacket should be implied.

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  8. This continues to be a tricky topic. Everyone wants to be comfortable, but there is a limit. I recently dined at Robichon in Las Vegas and was informed that a jacket and tie were required when I made the reservation. So I packed and wore a jacket and tie as did my fellow diner. The dining room is spectacular as is the service, reminiscent of the now defunct L'Orangerie in Los Angeles or the old Sign of the Dove in NYC. About half way through dinner a group of Asian tourists were seated and some of the men were wearing white tee shirts with slogans. I find it insulting to be seating next to someone dressed for a ball park when dinner is costing $250 per/person. Being a businessman, I get the idea of not wanting to turn away a group with money to spend...its economics. But by the same token, if you are going through the trouble of operating restaurant theater, why not have the chops to turn people away? Kudos to Le Bernardin. Standards are standards. Until hosts take a stand, the whole dress code thing will continue to deteriorate. If you don't care about dress code, operate an informal place...if you want to operate a classy joint, be consistent in your standards...in the kitchen, in the dining room and at the bar.

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  9. Most of the dress codes are standard issue, but Son Cubano's "no sports wear, sneakers, head wear, or construction boots" is pretty thinly veiled racism. I'm all for dress codes, and think they're not enforced enough, but that one is a different animal.

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  10. What ever happened to having "class". I would love to show up at a formal event that Linnea Covington was hosting. I'd walk in her door in faded jeans, sandals, a 'wife beater t-shirt', sipping a Bud and burping in her face as I entered saying, "There's a dress code?".

    This reminds me of the ABC show "What would you do?", where actors do inappropriate things in public and test the response of onlookers and passerbys. I would love to see one of these passerbys punch one of these "actors" in the face for their extremely inappropriate behavior. That would stop people who have nothing better to do than to walk around "testing" peoples responses. Too bad she wasn't thrown out on her ample derriere when she entered La Bernadin.

    And in regard to Anonymous Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:41:00 AM EDT retort about thinly veiled racism..."HUH!"

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