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New Bar West Dress Code Draws Controversy

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A controversial new dress code at a midtown Sacramento bar is in the spotlight.

Some say the new rules are discriminatory, especially against African-Americans.

Bar West on J street is one of the popular hot spots in Sacramento's midtown scene — known for its burgers, wings and nightlife.

Its location is on a popular stretch of J street right next to Red Rabbit and just down the ways from Harlow's live music center.

While some people told CBS 13 they're used to seeing certain "shoes" not allowed at bars around town, they say Bar West's list seems to be targeting certain groups. 

Just recently, a patron dining next door says she walked out to see a dress code sign that said:

  • No grills
  • No chains
  • No baggy clothing
  • No sports wear

"I'm just trying to figure out, who they're trying not to have come to their establishment," Charlene Bruce said. "Just say that."

Sonia Lewis, of Sacramento for Black Lives, said they used to hold chapter meetings at Bar West and had to have several talks with staff management about their service to communities of color.

"How could they be taking steps backward was my first reaction," Lewis said. "Like I said, I'm not surprised. It's very much indicative of the midtown experience."

The Dress Code Sign is specifically for "after 10 p.m." patrons, and it also included:

  • No Gang colors

"Grills are culture-specific," Jolinda Broadway said. "Gang colors — what does that mean? I worked in a middle school. Yellow was for one gang, brown was for another, red and blue were taken, so what does that mean?"

CBS13 did ask to speak with managers at Bar West. No one was available, but a Bar West patron enjoying his Labor Day says it's the establishment's right to deny who they want.

"If they want to keep a certain vibe and image, they have the right to do that," he said. "And if someone wants to wear joggers, they can go somewhere else."

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