Owners explanation of our dress code and door policy-
There have been a few questions regarding our dress code and door policy. Anyone that knows me, my character and values knows that racism is anathema to everything that I stand for. I have fought racism, sexism and any other social injustices and ignorant, malicious behavior my entire life. Anyone who has been to my bar will always see a mix of all races working and drinking there and can confirm that there isn't an ounce of truth regarding any discrimination.
While I'm a fairly strong person and know who I am I have decided to be more proactive and get the facts out there cause obviously not everyone does know me and my character or has yet been to my bar to see this with their own eyes so I have decided to speak on this and then support my words with proof.
My # 1 job in running my little East Village dive bar (not a sports bar!) is to create and maintain a safe environment. Fortunately for me I'm on one of the busiest intersections in downtown NYC. That combined with great drink specials, an amazing jukebox and no cover charge contributes to my bar being packed most of the time (knock wood).
We NEVER have trouble or fights inside and it's certainly cause of my ultra strict door policy and dress code. I refuse to let in saggy/baggy jean wearers white or black (mostly minorities of course), Jersey Shore knuckleheads (all caucasians) and the steroid pumping, wife beater wearing, meathead types, and even some women that dress gangsta style. This is what has created all of this drama. Sorry but I'm not going to be politically correct and soon out of business. People will never understand how a lot of these decisions are made and I don't expect them to. Sometimes would be patrons are dressed way over the top and sometimes it's something subtle they might say or how they carry themselves. When someone asks us (as if we're co- conspirators of theirs ) "You got any hot girls in there?" They're not getting in. Or are aggresively standing up for their friends wearing saggy jeans "but he'll pick them up." I used to allow this but 9 out of 10 would drop them back down once they got in. I don't know about you but I'm not exactly interested in seeing someone's undies and watching grown men waddle like a penguin to keep them up.
If you have a problem with that open up your own bar with no dress code or door policy and see how long it lasts. That crowd will alienate and scare away your mainstream crowd until that's all you have left. That's when the fun begins. I know this from experience. This is what forced me to start a dress code.
Most of my bouncers are very large, black men. They work for a security company that has over 60 clients and if they were offended by anything they've seen from me they'd ask to be moved to another club. Just the opposite. I have a core crew for a good 5 years now and we all have each other's backs and are like family.
However, my bouncers are only human. In that split second judgement call deciding whether someone is dressed appropriately or perhaps intoxicated, mistakes are sometimes made. That said, mistakes are made both ways. There are people that probably should have gotten in that don't and some that have gotten in that maybe shouldn't have. I believe that my staff is correct in the high 90 percentile. And when mistakes are made they're made across the board. NEVER because of someone's color. When some people don't get in we often hear; "Oh it's cause I'm" (fill in the blank- black, gay, asian etc). I grew up here and have dated, played ball and broken bread with people of all colors. My many friends of color have had my back on this as I have had theirs throughout the course of our friendships. For the one or two of you that doubted me and jumped on this bandwagon, I was hurt and disappointed that you wouldn't at least check with me or do some homework and hear all of the facts. If you still had issues with me then, I would disagree but respect you for at least hearing both sides.
Sadly, human nature often tends to more negative than positive. the thousands and thousands of men and women of color that frequent my bar simply don't get on the internet and speak up. That's life I guess.
Yes there have been a dozen or so protestors a few times outside my bar headed by one very unstable woman named Jinette Caserres. You don't have to take my word on this- check the East Villagers' coverage of their demonstrations and her behavior- March 17, 2011 written by Jefferson Siegal. In spite of her irrational behavior towards me and my bar, racism is a very serious issue indeed, so I have never turned down an interview or a meeting with anyone regarding these matters. I have also tried to meet with this group several times. The last time they protested we had a good laugh cause one of the black males protesting was inside my bar a half hour prior. They were obviously trying to set us up and clearly it didn't work cause of course he got in. They still protested despite this.
Miss Cacerres kept giving me pre conditions to the meeting (to have Multi Cultural Theme Nights at my bar just to name one- I'm serious about this). She even had one of her protests after we agreed to meet and were looking for a neutral site. That's documented by The East Villager as well.
So I gave up trying to meet with her. Her dozen or so protesters are not people whom have ever tried to come to my bar but heard about my door policy and are simply looking for any cause to join.
Any time someone makes a formal complaint the NYC commission on Human Rights has to investigate it.
There are several enclosed attachments including THREE out of THREE dismissals of complaints regarding our door policy!!! The NYC Commission on Human Rights objectively, investigates and †interviews those involved (be it myself, my staff, the complainant and/or neutral eyewitnesses) and also reviews our surveillance video (16 cameras inside and out).
The New York Times came on a random, unannounced visit and observed†that 30% plus of my crowd were men and women of color. The East Villager wrote that 30-40% of my crowd was black on their unannounced visit. Black people are 12% of the population here in the US. Probably a little higher here in NYC. How can I have a racist door policy if 30-40% of my crowd is black???
BTW- The commission wasn't aware that I have 16 video cameras inside and out. I informed them of this and offered them any footage they desired. They came and burned random dates and of course saw what I've been saying all along that anyone of any color is always welcome at my bar except those that are intoxicated or don't meet our dress code requirements.
These days anyone can create something that looks authentic.
Please feel free to verify the NYC's Commission's document. Their # is 212 306 5070. Enough said on this matter. For now anyway.
Thanks for listening....
- NYTimes - July 28, 2011 "Dress Codes in New York Bars"
- Commission on Human Rights - November 19, 2012 -Determination
- Commission on Human Rights - November 19, 2012 - Determination
- Commission on Human Rights - December 15, 2010 - Determination
- East Villager Article
- East Villager Article
- I hope this doesn't sound patronizing but someone's Race has always been irrelevant to me.
My early and continued support of President Obama speaks for itself
- Party at Continental for Obama Election