Who cares what you wear? Bouncers and bartenders may well give your attire more than a passing thought.
Last Friday, April 22, they instituted a new dress code policy at Havana Nights, a popular salsa scene at Johnston's Ballybay.
Hosted by La Familia de la Salsa for the past five years, Havana Nights has routinely drawn more than 150 dancers every Friday night to the West End nightspot.
"From this day forth, we will not be allowing baseball caps or hoodies in the bar or the dance hall," announced La Familia spokesman Brian Bromka last week. "Please tell your friends."
While minority groups in places such as Kansas City have protested nightclub dress codes as racist, that's certainly not the case with Havana Nights whose crowds are the most heterogeneous as any in the city, with folks from Harlem, the Caribbean, South America - even Syracuse University - all doing the Rueda de Casino together!
The Havana Nights Latin Dance Party convenes from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. every Friday, at Johnston's BallyBay, 550 Richmond Ave., at the corner of Sackett Street. Admission costs $5, or you can take a salsa lesson at 8:15 p.m. and pay $10 total; lafamiliadelasalsa.com; 636-7133.
Dress to depress?
Brian Bass, a contributing editor at Nightclub & Bar Magazine, says dress codes are standard at nightclubs because they help bouncers keep out troublemakers.
"Without a dress code," Bass said, "then it certainly becomes a lot more sticky...You know when people are dressing up, there's some thought there that they'll behave better."
'No sideways hats'
While La Familia attempts to enforce sartorial standards at BallyBay, a blue-collar bar on the North Side has also established a strict dress code.
A hand-written sign on the front door of the Locker Room and Fire & Ice Banquet Facilities, at 528 Hiawatha Blvd. East., spells it out real clearly: