It’s not an uncommon thing for a restaurant to require its patrons to adhere to a certain dress code. Here in New York City, there are countless restaurants that ask their guests to wear jackets or remove their hats at the door, some even offering up a sports coat if the customer didn’t have the foresight to bring their own. A restaurant with a strict dress code isn’t necessarily for everyone, but then again, you’re also given the option to dine there if you so choose. A sports bar chain in Texas has recently become a subject of controversy after announcing its refusal to serve customers with facial or neck tattoos.
Little Woodrow’s is your average, run-of-the-mill sports bar — no frills or gimmicks, just beer, food, and a whole bunch of flat screens. So it was a curious move when the Dallas branch announced that it would no longer be serving patrons with facial or neck tattoos at their establishment. Generally catering to a younger crowd, whom studies have shown are becoming more and more inclined to have tattoos of their own, it’s a bold (and frankly alienating) decision that has caused quite a bit of backlash. “It’s a shame Little Woodrow’s is doing this,” says Nick Eubank, a former customer at one of the chain’s locations in Austin, Texas, “because with the quality of the establishment and the general turnover rate in bars, people with facial and neck tattoos may be some of their potential employees.”
Although within their rights to refuse service, as people with tattoos do not fall under the categories of race, sex, age, or religion that are protected under the United States anti-discrimination law, one has to wonder if their stance has anything to do with incredibly incorrect, age old assumptions. “I understand that people assume that those with neck and facial tattoos are in a gang, but you can’t assume,” says Chelsea Lynes who has visited the eatery’s Houston branch. “I think it’s OK for bars to enforce a dress code, but I don’t think it’s OK to ban people based on their tattoos.”
Earlier in the day Little Woodrow’s released a statement addressing the ban saying that the policy is not a new one, and had been implemented at two of their 16 locations. Then, following the backlash, the chain announced that they will immediately rescind their policy on facial and neck tattoos, but the real question remains: do you really want to eat at an establishment whose signs read, “come sit on this big deck” and “just grab them by the pint” anyway?