A Kansas bar and tavern recently posted an extensive dress code to its front doors, threatening to refuse service if it isn’t followed.
The dress code at Smedley’s Tavern in Hutchinson asks patrons not to wear hoodies, sleeveless jerseys and hats askew, among other things. At the bottom of the sign, a single sentence in bold reminds customers that questionable attire is subject to the discretion of management.
Despite facing criticism over the dress code on social media outlets like Facebook from people who think there is a racial aspect to the list, tavern owners Thomas and Carol Ruesch say the requirements simply enforce a more enjoyable environment. Mr. Ruesch, a former marine, said that the dress code was developed based on those in Kansas City and Wichita. The ex-marine said he also used suggestions from the Spike TV show “Bar Rescue” and the dress codes from local public schools.
“People can dress casual, just not sloppy,” Mrs. Ruesch said. “We’re a nicer establishment.”
The couple said they typically respond to criticism by inviting those who question the code to the bar. Since they started enforcing the dress code in June, they’ve only removed two customers from the tavern.
Only two blocks away at Oliver’s Beef and Brew, owner Shad Byard said there’s no formal dress code and he deals with clothing on a case-by-case basis. At 21 Santa Fe, manager Debbie Shank said the bar’s clientele wouldn’t be welcome at Smedley’s, since customers often wear sports jerseys on game night.
“We’re not worried as long as you keep your clothes on,” manager of The Rusty Needle Mike Klaers said.
On Friday, Smedley’s removed the dress code from their front doors, though it’s still displayed near the bar.
In July, a similar dress code in Minneapolis was criticized for being "overtly racist."