Laney went out for drinks after work with some co-workers. He changed out of his uniform, but they wore theirs. Soon after the group entered, Laney was asked to leave, ostensibly due to a dress code violation…but it became clear his outfit wasn’t the problem.
He posted about the experience on a Liveournal community. Here’s an excerpt:
The doorman lets us in, we haven’t ordered a drink yet. A group of friends call me in need of directions, so I leave so that I can speak to him on my cell phone. And then on the way back in the owner sees me, and tells the doorman I’m not allowed in.
“I’m sorry,” the doorman tells me. “My boss said I made a bad call letting you in.”
“What do you mean?”
“We have a dress code here. You have a sideways cap and baggy shorts.”
At this point, I understand how clubs do what they can to control the climate at places. The rules against baseball caps and sneakers, etc. are generally to keep out a crowd they don’t want. Most recently, as I waited to meet people for a newyorkers meetup that no one attended, I was told by a doorman that I could wear my cap forward or backward, not sideways, and I did so accordingly. I have no problem with rules. So I compromise and respond: “Where is your dress code written? I can remove the cap and I have a change of clothes inside.”
“We can’t do it. It’s about a general vibe.”
My eyes are fighting not to roll out of their sockets at this point. I tell the doorman I am going in to get my things. As I go inside to grab my bag and my friends, the owner GRABS me and asks me “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to get my things.”
“You wait here. I’ll get your friends and your things. You don’t run this place.”
What. The. Fuck?
My friends were both White. They apparently were wearing trendy “East Village” attire that consisted of Black jeans that stained of spilled mayo and black shirts with a patch that indicated that they worked at a restaurant that can be found in Times Square. The owner had nothing against what they were wearing, but when I repeated that I had that same exact uniform and could change into it, he repeated: “It’s about the vibe. We have a regular clientele here. Once you’re out, you’re out. There are thousands of clubs in New York City“
As I waited on the sidelines boiling about this, I saw two other black men get ejected, one being in the group of my friends that came to meet us there. Unlike myself, he wore his complete work uniform. No cap, no sneakers, no “baggy pants.” He wasn’t allowed in and when asked why, the doorman gave no real reason.
A quick glance at their Web site shows signs of trouble. Check out number 7 on their “Top 10 Reasons to Drink at Continental”:
7) At Continental “The Customer’s always WRONG” Trigger
(Photo: Laney Barber)