Short North bar scrutinized for dress code posting

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Short North night club is being criticized for a dress code that had been posted. The sign with the dress code at Short North Food Hall has since been taken down but is being accused of being racist and discriminatory. 

“If you look at the list some of the things that are on there are clearly an outline for how to discriminate against a certain demographic and that demographic happens to be African Americans,” said Rachel Crowder, Civic Engagement Co-Chair on the Columbus Urban League Young Professional Board.

A friend first told her about the sign. She says some of the rules that especially stand out to her are no athletic clothing, no work boots, no excessive jewelry, and no flat-brimmed hats. Many of those same rules are also grabbing the attention of Stephanie Hightower, President & CEO of the Columbus Urban League. 

“This would be the modern-day version of what was posted in 1964,” she said. “From an organization who represents African Americans and disenfranchised individuals, that posting seems to be very discriminatory.” 

The dress code sign also drew a lot of criticism on social media. One tweet was from Columbus City Council Member Rob Dorans. 

“This is both classist and racist. Do better #shortnorthfoodhall,” he tweeted. 

NBC4 also spoke with Dorans in person.

“A sign like that tells folks they’re not welcome here so it’s disappointing and I’m glad folks are taking this seriously and glad the business itself is looking at trying to do better in the future,” he said.

The hall is part of Corso Ventures. Other company venues are primarily restaurants and don’t have posted dress codes. The company considers Short North Food Hall primarily to be a nightclub which is why the company says there’s a dress code. A Short North Food Hall Spokesperson sent NBC4 the following statement:

Our policies at Short North Food Hall are first and foremost to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. We are proud members of the diverse and passionate Short North community and unequivocally denounce discrimination in any form. We sincerely apologize to anyone who feels singled out or discriminated against as a result of the verbiage of our safety policies and we are working to correct this issue.

Short North Food Hall Spokesperson

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