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Bar & Nightclub Dress codes

  • By BA Admin

A Comprehensive Guide Dress Codes

Getting ready for a night out isn’t just about looking good; it’s also about ensuring you’ll be granted entry to your venue of choice. With dress codes varying significantly from one establishment to another, it’s essential to be in the know before hitting the town.

Dress for Success

When it comes to nightclubs, the dress code can range from lax to stringent. For women, a general rule of thumb is to avoid outfits that look overly casual or too revealing, especially when planning to visit a more formal venue. An ultra-short skirt, for example, might not be the best choice. Men, on the other hand, should steer clear of casual wear like board shorts and flip-flops.

At Bar Advisor, we strive to provide you with the latest information on dress codes for various bars and clubs. However, please be aware that these guidelines can change frequently. Always make a point of checking the club’s website beforehand, ensuring a smooth entry.

There’s some debate around whether nightclubs can refuse entry based on tattoos. While some argue that it’s discriminatory, the law generally allows establishments with liquor licenses to turn away patrons at their discretion. If you’re denied entry and suspect your tattoos are to blame, consider that it might be your overall appearance. Tattoos have become widely accepted; it’s more likely you’ve been judged as potentially troublesome.

If a nightclub has no dress code, you might think that streetwear is an acceptable choice. However, most establishments still have an unspoken standard for attire. Streetwear typically encompasses a range of casual items such as shorts, singlets, and flip-flops. While comfortable, these pieces are generally not suitable for clubs, unless the venue explicitly states that there’s no dress code. In such a rare case, always aim for streetwear that looks fresh and well-maintained to ensure you still come off as put-together.

Casual wear is a step above streetwear and includes wardrobe staples like jeans, t-shirts, and conventional shoes. Though casual, you should still steer clear of overly relaxed pieces like board shorts and flip-flops. Notably, during peak hours or special events, some bars may switch from a casual to a smart casual dress code without much notice. Keep this in mind and perhaps consider carrying a change of shoes or an additional layer to elevate your look, just in case.

For those wanting to exude a trendy and stylish vibe, the club-style dress code is your go-to.

Men: Leather shoes are often a preferred choice but aren’t a hard-and-fast rule. High-end sneakers, such as Yeezys or designer brands, are generally well-received. In terms of apparel, a collared shirt will rarely steer you wrong, and for bottoms, you can choose between khakis or dark jeans that are free of tears and fraying.

Women: When adhering to a club-style dress code, it’s advisable to lean toward dressier options. Jeans, particularly lighter washes, are usually not recommended. Instead, opt for skirts, cocktail dresses, or stylish trousers that showcase a well-thought-out ensemble.

As you move up the formality ladder, smart casual becomes the minimum standard. This category has specific no-gos:

  • Athletic shoes and joggers: Too casual for most upscale venues.
  • Shorts: Generally unacceptable unless explicitly stated.
  • Sports jerseys: These are too casual and sporty.
  • Baggy or sagging jeans: They give off a dishevelled look.
  • Athletic hats and beanies: Some venues might allow fedoras or similar dressy hats.

Certain brands may also be frowned upon, usually due to a reputation for being associated with trouble or rowdiness. Always research the venue’s stance on clothing brands beforehand.

Think of this as the refined version of casual wear.

Men: Choose dark jeans without any rips or tears, or perhaps go for khakis. Your footwear should be fashionable—think leather shoes or high-end sneakers. Sports jerseys and hoodies are not appropriate here.

Women: Skirts and dressy pants are encouraged. If you decide to wear jeans, ensure they are a dark wash and in pristine condition. Your tops should lean on the formal side, such as blouses or structured jackets.

These venues have a more exclusive feel and therefore demand a higher level of attire.

Men: The standard is a suit, which can be worn with or without a tie.

Women: The aim is to be elegant without pushing into overly sexy territory. Heels are almost always a requirement, and flats or sandals are usually not suitable.

A formal or black tie dress code is reserved for the most upscale establishments, like high-end wine bars, cocktail lounges, and gentlemen’s clubs.

Men: A modern tuxedo or a dark suit and tie are non-negotiable.

Women: Cocktail dresses or long gowns are mandatory. Similarly, heels are not just a suggestion; they are a requirement.

Be Informed

Being well-informed about these dress codes will ensure you’re not only stylish but also appropriate for any night out. While these guidelines provide a comprehensive overview, always remember to check the specific requirements for the venue you’re planning to visit. And when in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

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