Published On: Thu, Sep 19th, 2019

Baltimore restaurant Choptank called ‘racist’ after posting a dress code

A restaurant in Baltimore is being called racist because it posted a sign with one specific message: the restaurant has a dress code.

The Choptank, which alerted prospective customers that it will be “opening soon” on its website, posted a dress code listing some items that would be unacceptable to wear on its premises, including:

Excessively baggy clothing

Offensive, Vulgar, or Inappropriate Attire

Athletic Attire


Brimless headgear

Backwards or Sideways Hats

Work and Construction Boots

Sunglasses After Dark

The Choptank

One Twitter user who described themselves as a photojournalist tweeted, “Dress CODED sign at the new Choptank restaurant in Fells,” followed by another tweet with a picture of the sign and a link to a Washington Post article about the restaurant.

The restaurant tweeted back, “Being new to the Fells Point neighborhood, we simply implemented the dress code standard that is used by several other properties in the area including Barcocina, Bond Street Social Moby’s and The Horse You Came In On. Have a great day.”

A writer for ELLE magazine tweeted that the restaurant had a “blatantly discriminatory dress code.”

The Washington Post quoted Jassera Contreras, a host at Barcocina, saying, “We don’t really have a dress code. We’re casual fine dining but basically as long as you don’t come in in your pajamas, you’re okay. We’ve never kicked anyone out or anything.” The Post added, “At Bond Street, there is no dress code on weekdays, a woman answering the phones said, but after 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, it bans hats of all kinds, boots, hoodies, baggy or ripped jeans, military attire, athletic footwear and tank tops on men.”

A spokesperson for Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns The Choptank, told Fox News, “Our policy is no different than countless other bars in Fells Point, Federal Hill and many other bar/restaurants around Maryland including Seacrets and Tiki Lee’s both posted on their websites. There are also national properties such as Wynn Las Vegas (XS) that have similar dress codes in their entertainment venus. The most prominent African-American nightclub in Baltimore, Select Lounge has a stricter dress code as well. Baltimore City Public Schools has a similar dress code and language for their students.”

The restaurant’s website chronicles the long, storied history, dating back to 1668 for name inspiration, to serving the sailors and immigrants of Fells Point in 1786, through the 20th century to now: “The market had deteriorated significantly in past decades until Atlas Restaurant Group partnered with the city to develop the north and south market sheds. In 2019, a total of 10 million dollars was spent an over 200 jobs created to restore the Broadway Market’s north and south sheds back to its former glory.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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