Plain (Racist) White Tee Bullshit

So last night I was a little late on dinner and we decided to head to Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub and Grill in Addison. I am usually not naming names when making points about hospitality but in this case it needs to be done, you’ll see in a second why.

I am wearing boots, jeans, and t-shirt. A white t-shirt, that is. Which, promptly, got me denied entry by the gruff looking and not very smart talking bouncer outside. At that moment I was so taken aback I didn’t retort or remember the details well enough to do so, but now that it all trickles back in it’s time to discuss this prohibition.

The “no white tee” rule originated in NYC in the mid-80s and spread into other larger cities, mostly through mindless mimicry until it ended in the mid-90s and only recently resurfaced in DC and Chicago. The official reason is somewhere between “no one wants a patron wearing a $2 Hanes Beefy” and “white t-shirts hurt the eye when worn in blacklight”. The true and much less official reason is much more sinister: racism. In the mid-80s NYC clubs found themselves staring down non-discrimination regulations for admission as well as a growing Latino population capable of shelling out the artificially high cover charges and bottle prices at the city’s more “exclusive” clubs. And just as in Texas, “exclusive” in NYC meant “rich and white”.

Owners reacted by adding dress codes that targeted predominantly Latino club-goers – chains had to be accepted, else the Italian-American and New Jersey crowd would revolt. Sneakers were “in” again, pointy boots were out, and white t-shirts as the favored garment of Puerto Rican and Cuban partiers went right onto the list of banned no-nos.

But these aren’t the 80s, it’s the 10s. We’re hopefully past all this. My t-shirt wasn’t a $2 Hanes, it was this one. This isn’t NYC, it’s Addison, TX, population 13,000. The rule only catches males wearing white tees so the “it looks weird in blacklight” line is out. Plus this isn’t a fucking club, it’s a pseudo-British “gastro-“pub, about as British as Olive Garden is Italian. From the speakers blared not techno or house but the Ramones (yes, that band famous for its starting a whole trend of wearing white t-shirts in punk fashion).

Dress codes for chain-gastropubs in a 13,000 soul community are ridiculous. For that matter so are bouncers. Dress codes based on racial discrimination and backed by idiotic mimicry of a city of 6 million are more than that, they’re a sure sign of a diseased mind. You’re named after Sherlock Holmes, a fictional character known for his ability to deduce and reason. Nothing in this dress code says “reason” or “logic”. You’re a failure, Sherlock’s Pub and Grill, you totally are. This is 2013 – the economy is reeling and diners are more discerning. Artificial exclusivity no longer works in NYC, how long until this trickles down into Addison, TX, pop 13,000?

Sherlock's Baker St. Pub and Grill (Addison) on Urbanspoon

4 Comments on “Plain (Racist) White Tee Bullshit”

  1. Kenny

    You were wearing a $50.00 white t shirt?
    Also, I’m almost positive Johnny Rotten was never in the Ramones.

    1. Jonas M Luster

      Yeah, total brainfart on my part. The tshirt was a Christmas present and actually looks quite nice. I couldn’t afford it myself, but gift horses…

    1. Jonas M Luster

      Somewhat. It’s a great tee, pretty sturdy and absorbent. I never paid a dime for mine, they were presents, but as far as t-shirts go, they’ve recouped their price in longevity by now.

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