Sports bar's 'no ghetto gear' dress code prompts backlash, apologies

"We apologize to anyone that felt offended. Our intention with the dress code is to create a respectful environment," CJ's Upper Deck said in a statement.
/ Source: TODAY
By Alyssa Newcomb

A Michigan sports bar is facing backlash after a photo of a dress code sign that says "no ghetto gear" was shared online.

CJ's Upper Deck Bar & Grille in Waterford, Michigan, posted a sign with its dress code, which includes rules such as: "Pants and shorts must be at waist level. (Pulled up at all times - No ghetto gear.)"

"Wife beaters" were also off limits, as were baseball caps turned sideways. Patrons were also banned from wearing "large logos." The dress code specifically called out "South Pole, Fubu, ghetto gear, etc."

A representative for CJ's Upper Deck told TODAY Style in a statement that the sign has been removed.

"Right now, we are in very touchy times. Our intention of this message is to reach out to our community to say thank you for your support. At CJs we strive to make the customer experience a fun and safe place for everyone whether you are visiting us for a meal or a few cocktails. A picture of our dated dress code has surfaced online, and we would like to inform everyone that it has been removed and updated. We apologize to anyone that felt offended," the statement said.

"Our intention with the dress code is to create a respectful environment," it continued. "We hope everyone finds this fitting and suitable while maintaining a fun and inviting atmosphere. To all our patrons, regulars and infrequent, we would like to say thank you for your support."

Some former patrons said the sign was hypocritical and offensive.

"First off, the place isn't exactly located in Beverly Hills. Where do they get off thinking this is some high class establishment?" a user named Christian wrote on Yelp. Clearly they are looking for a less urban crowd, meanwhile on Friday and Saturday their club upstairs plays the same Rap/Hip-Hop songs on rotation. And by ghetto gear they mean anything associated with urban/black culture."

"After a sign like this, I wouldn't encourage anyone to eat here. This is offensive, disrespectful, and disgusting," a user named Tim added.

CJ's Upper Deck isn't the only bar that has been called out for having a dress code that uses offensive and discriminatory language.

The Woolworth, a cocktail bar and bowling alley in Birmingham, Alabama, called its previous dress code "lousy" and apologized to the community in a message shared on Facebook.

That dress code, which is still available on an archived version of the website, shows a long list of rules and snarky comments that critics said discriminated against the Black community.

Earlier this month, Surf City Bar in Jersey City, New Jersey, said it eliminated its dress code after a woman interviewing at a hiring event called out racist "code" she said was meant to exclude Black patrons.