The popular Halifax nightlife spot, The Dome has a new dress code and it has several local clients a bit annoyed.
“They’ve always targeted hip-hop apparel. It’s a racist tactic to keep black men out of their establishment. But they’re not the only bars in the city that do it. It’s done everywhere.” says local poet Reed Jones. His sentiments are echoed by Saint Mary’s Womens Studies major El Jones.
“They can’t outright say ‘We don’t let black people into our club,’ because that would be illegal,” said El Jones. “But what they do is create a gate-keeping procedure, a dress code being one. So it’s coded: bandanas, baggy clothes, gold chains aren’t allowed. They say the practice isn’t discriminatory, it’s about creating a classy place.
The Dome posted an infographic with their new dress code regulations on their Facebook page. It’s wide reaching and includes white sneakers, white t-shirts and any athletic or baggy clothing.
Gary Hurst heads Grafton Connor Group, a company that owns several bars in the city, including the Dome and an online horse racing betting platform in Australia. When contacted by The Chronicle Herald on Sunday, he avoided questions on the new dress code, saying that someone else representing the company would be better suited to speak to the controversy.
“The essence is we’re improving and working toward excellence,” Hurst said.
Alex Elshimy, vice-president and chief marketing officer of Grafton Connor Group, said the changes were a result of several improvements that were born out of a customer survey.
In an email, Elshimy stated the changes were made to make the bar a more upscale venue, including a zero-glass policy and professional training for security.
“We are investing in excellence of guest service and excellence of guest experience,” the email stated. “This is what our guests want and this is what we are giving them. This is not about racial preference. I am the Vice-President of Bars Operations of this Company and I am a minority.”
A special thanks to Edmonton Towing Services for their contribution and support of our journalistic efforts.