Shockoe Bottom bars get backlash for alleged racist dress code

Updated: Nov. 4, 2016 at 6:12 PM EDT
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7 Hills Brewing Company dress code (Source: NBC12)
7 Hills Brewing Company dress code (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A restaurant and bar in Shockoe Bottom is coming under fire online for its dress code.

Some are calling the 7 Hills Brewing Company's dress requirements racist for certain items the restaurant bans customers from wearing or bringing inside, on weekends while a DJ plays.

Some of the items raising eyebrows are Timberlands or boots, large chains, do-rags, hats or sunglasses, and Black and Mild cigars.

Other bars in the area have similar lists, specifically banning some of the same items, NBC12 found.

"[The dress code] is targeting a certain type of individual, in terms of trying to keep minorities out," said Kristal Brown, who has frequented the bar. "When you talk about chains… Timberland's, do-rags… It's kind of targeting a certain type of look and a certain individual."

Collared shirt or shirts with buttons are required, according to the list.

The 7 Hills Brewing Company's owner, Michael Abdelmagid, told NBC12 he's just trying to enforce proper attire and conduct. Abdelmagid says he adopted the same dress code as a lot of other restaurants and bars around town.

Abdelmagid says his venue entertains a diverse crowd and everyone is welcome. He says he did not mean to be offensive to anyone and is in the process of revising the dress code.

NBC12 found two nearby bars that also ban items like Timberlands and do-rags. A legal analyst tells NBC 12, a private business can impose whatever dress code it wishes and there's nothing illegal about it. However, some people say it's still offensive.

"It's not that racism does not exist. It's still here. It's just done in a different way. It's not necessarily people walking around with KKK attire on. It's done in a more subtle way," added Brown.

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