In recent Chicago Nightlife news, as many of us already know, rage city central Bottled Blonde has been in the spotlight for recently posting a sign that outlines what supposedly proper Chicago Club Dress Code is all about. Now, before we continue, let us first say we all have a ton of industry friends who work & manage the venue, so this isn’t another piece where we will bash Bottled Blonde. We’ve got nothing but love…HOWever, with [Martin] having experience running the door of one of the best nightclubs in Chicago for a few years at famed The Underground Chicago, we figured we’d shed some light on both sides of this argument.
For patrons who can’t figure out how to defend the dress code sign, what you have to understand is this: In a city running wild with violence, as a Chicago nightlife venue, you have a responsibility to your patrons and your neighbors to set a precedent about what you will and WILL NOT tolerate in your club. While we wholeheartedly don’t agree with the move (for reasons other than racial discrimination and all the other BS you’re hearing out there), they’ve got to lay down the law and stick with it. You don’t know what issues they’ve had in the past and you don’t know what issues they are trying to prevent…...HOWever, as a venue owner, you also owe it to your patrons to have a front door staff who understands which Jordan’s scream “I HAVE NO CLASS” and which flannel wrapped around his/her waist screams “I JUST DROPPED A GRIP.” If you want to stay one of the hottest nightclubs in Chicago passed the typical 3-5 year lifespan, you have to connect with that young consumer who is spending $1500 every outfit on streetwear your staff just doesn’t know how to spot.
Point blank, that Hype Beast kid has money…and probably a lot of it.
To further explain, as recently written by Lynette Koh of The Peak Magazine, High Fashion is nowhere near where it used to be. Brands like Louis Vuitton are partnering with streetwear brands like Fragment Design (famous for the Frament Jordan 1s) and Supreme (Skatewear & hipster steez) to create lines that include lamb-skin leather detail & high quality clothing, accessories, and jewelry that is valued at FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS and up. Most don't think about that when they see a Supreme Logo at their front door though. Elsewhere, brands like Off-White and Fear of God, which both have serious Chicago nightlife connections, start selling their lower end clothes at $400 with denim costing $1500 for the cheap stuff; anything lower and it’s sale, last season, or fake. Again, most bouncers aren't paying attention to those details. Finally, have you walked into Barney’s in the Gold Coast lately? How about The Fifth Man at Saks Fifth Avenue on Michigan Avenue? Tell me you don’t see designers like Givenchy selling oversized tees for $750 - $2000 and Saint Laurent selling ripped denim for $2500+.
Listen, again, our point isn’t to bash on Bottled Blonde Chicago. These guys are homies and none of us have EVER HAD TROUBLE GETTING IN. If they believe they are enforcing proper Chicago Club Dress Code, then they need to stick to their guns and we respect that. What this is though…is hopefully a lesson to both sides of the coin; especially venue owners in Chicago Nightlife. Continue to be strict at your front door, but your said team needs to be with the times. It shouldn’t get so bad that you have to post a sign at the door that DOES THEIR JOB FOR THEM. Also, again coming from experience, it’s much easier to deal with the issues of who’s getting in and who isn’t OFF THE RECORD. Man to Man. Door guy to patron. It’s much easier that way than having to deal with the issue online with blogs like DNAinfo and Eater telling people to never step foot in your establishment.
I mean…just google Bottled Blonde Chicago to see our point. A convo between a door guy & a patron, while frustrating as all hell on-site, ends when the night is over (usually). An article about your posted sign; however, LASTS A LIFETIME.
At the end of the day, we insiders all know what it’s about. It’s not race. It’s not gender. IT’S CLASS. Dress with some class, don’t look like a clown, and carry yourself proper and you’ll have no issues. Venue owners? Hire door guys who understand what they are seeing in front of them AND who have an active interest in staying engaged with trends. As [Martin] knows first-hand, you never know who you turn away just as much as you don’t know who you are letting in. Your crowd is your gold and you need a team who can adapt with change and find balance. You’ll lose money in the long run otherwise.
Until next time, hope this helps!