A dress code at the Ballpark Village bars set to open this season next to Busch Stadium have drawn all sorts of negative attention for potentially being discriminatory against African-Americans.
The dress code applies to the eight bars in the complex, with some additional rules applying to the Budweiser Brewhouse. Some of the dress codes seem a little silly: for instance, no hats are allowed on the second level of the Brewhouse, and no jerseys except for game days. (Who opens a sports bar and excludes jerseys?) Here’s the official dress code:
The following is not permitted under our dress code after 9 p.m.: sleeveless shirts on men, profanity on clothing, exposed undergarments on men, sweat pants, full sweat suits, excessively long shirts (when standing upright with arms at your side, the bottom of your shirt can not extend below the tip of your fingers), jerseys (sleeved jerseys are permitted in conjunction with a Cardinals game or any other major St. Louis sporting event), athletic shorts and excessively sagging pants or shorts bandanas.
Now, it’s not explicit, but it’s clear a certain kind of patron (cough, cough, African-American) is being excluded by these rules. And, in fact, Cordish Cos. (the developer of the complex) has been accused of discriminatory practices at other venues, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union secured a compromise with Cordish after objecting to a dress code in Louisville. And in Kansas City, attorneys alleged this year that Cordish tried to keep African-Americans from Power & Light clubs by hiring two men to start fights with black patrons.
A second suit, filed March 10, alleges a practice of harassment, targeting, humiliation and exclusion in order to limit black patrons in the entertainment district.
An attorney for Cordish has denied the accusations.
Supports say the dress code is applied only to the eight bars in the complex and not to every venue in the complex. But that’s a little absurd: why would the exclusion of jerseys be OK in the bar but not in the sushi restaurant?
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