Southside Social unveils extensive and controversial new dress code

Southside Social unveils extensive and controversial new dress code

February 9th, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News

Updated Friday at 7:55 p.m. with a statement from Councilman Chris Anderson and to note Southside Social deleted the post.

The inside of Southside Social.

The inside of Southside Social.

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

Southside Social's New Dress Code

No backward ball caps, visors, do-rags or skull caps

No plain white tee shirts, sleeveless shirts, ripped or torn pants, cut-offs on men, jerseys unless its game day or sports promotion, excessively long shirts below the bottom of back pockets, loose or baggy clothing, gym clothes including running/track suits or sweat pants, hooded sweatshirts, excessively long shirts below the knees, biker or gang colors, construction/combat shoes or boots, oversized chains, excessive jewelry, sunglasses after dark, clothing with offensive or foul messages, and see through or revealing clothing on women

No back packs, gym bags or duffel bags

Southside Social unveiled a new extensive dress code policy Wednesday evening on its Facebook page.

The business will no longer allow patrons to wear hooded sweatshirts, shorts below the knees, jerseys unless it's game day, sunglasses after dark, loose or baggy clothing, among other changes. 

The new dress code prohibits bike or gang colors but does not specify which colors patrons can and cannot wear. It also bans backward baseball caps, visors, skull caps and do-rags.

The status received hundreds of comments voicing frustration with the new policy along with allegations Southside Social is targeting blacks. The post has been shared more than 300 times.

Councilman Chris Anderson released a statement condemning the decision by the business in his district. 

"I believe this community will not tolerate thinly-veiled attempts to exclude minorities from local businesses," Anderson said. "As the city councilman representing this district, I feel it is my responsibility to lead by example."

The page's administrator responded to several comments letting patrons know if they don't like the new policy they can take their business elsewhere. The new policy states the business only wants the "grown, sexy and mature crowd to party" at Southside Social.

Read the full response from Southside Social below:

"It's a matter of safety and comfort for EVERYONE. We realize not all will agree with the dress code, but if you can't adhere to it, then you have many other options. Our goal is to ensure every one of our guests feels welcome and safe. If you disagree with this policy or aren't willing to dress to impress, then there are other options around town for you. We wish you all well, but wish for only the grown, sexy & mature crowd to party here. We feel it's necessary to enforce a strict dress code AND code of conduct for the safety & comfort of ALL our patrons. Those not willing to play ball with our policies are certainly welcome and able to party elsewhere. We're choosing to keep it classy Chattanooga. If you agree, welcome aboard. If not, please feel free to patronage another establishment."

Anderson will take the business up on its invitation and will not be patronizing Southside Social. He invited others to do the same.

"Put simply--while Mr. Wise has every right to enforce this ridiculous dress code at his establishment, we too also have the right to not patronize restaurants and bars that violate our conscience. And that is exactly what I personally intend to do."

The new policy also states only those 21-and up are allowed after 9 p.m.

The dress code post has since been deleted.

Councilman Chris Anderson's full statement

It came as a bit of a shock to me yesterday that Southside Social, a bar and bowling establishment in my district owned by local developer John Wise, decided to implement a rigid and lengthy dress code that barred individuals wearing such items as plain white tee shirts, hooded sweatshirts, construction/combat boots, and a variety of other clothing items.

Mr. Wise noted in the press that the move was intended to bolster safety at his establishment and to keep out so-called thugs, but one can hardly imagine a way that prohibiting baseball caps (backwards or otherwise), hoodies, or boots invites a safer environment. Rather, policies like these alienate certain residents in our community. Thats shameful.

I believe this community will not tolerate thinly-veiled attempts to exclude minorities from local businesses. As the City Councilman representing this district, I feel it is my responsibility to lead by example.

Put simply--while Mr. Wise has every right to enforce this ridiculous dress code at his establishment, we too also have the right to not patronize restaurants and bars that violate our conscience. And that is exactly what I personally intend to do.

Until this dress code is lifted and all Chattanoogans are welcome, I will not be patronizing Southside Social and invite fellow residents to join me in that decision. We have a moral obligation to make our voices heard with our wallets as well as our speech.


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