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New York bar's dress code sparking discrimination debate

Photo: WHAM

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) – It was a picture of a dress code on the window of a Rochester, New York bar that promoted Herbert Smith to make a Facebook post.

“That was the original thing,” said Smith. “I don't know how I felt about it immediately when I saw it. I thought, wow! It just struck a chord.”

The dress code is on the window of Murphy’s Law, a pub at the corner of East Avenue and Alexander Street in downtown Rochester.

Nine types of clothing and accessories are listed:

1. NO flat, straight brim or baseball caps

2. NO hoodies

3. NO ripped jeans of any kind

4. NO bandanas or doo rags of any kind

5. NO BAGGY pants, jeans, shorts, or sweats

6. NO sleeveless shirts, tanks, or jerseys

7. NO white tees

8. NO camo

9. NO Timberland work boots of any kind

"When you think about hoodies, you think about doo-rags, you think about white tees, you think about Timberlands, to me, those are typically worn by people of color, and I say typically,” said Smith.

Since Sunday, Smith has watched the debate over this dress code grow into something he didn’t intend.

“I just posted it, like, I don't know how I feel about it - I think they should look into it - this is causing an uproar in Rochester," he said.

But he now sees it as clearly a dialogue Rochester needs to have. Other establishments in the same bar district have similar dress codes.

“I think that it's indicative of the issues that we have in Rochester, you know," he said. "I hope that it can cause a conversation, communication, collaboration, cooperation, I hope that it can do that instead of causing division and separatism.”

He also hopes to have a conversation with the owner of Murphy’s Law.

“I wish [they] would talk to me,” said Smith. “I wasn't trying to hurt them. I just saw them and was like, 'Whoa.'"

The owner did not return 13WHAM’s request for comment.

The following statement was posted on the Murphy’s Law Facebook page:

Our dress code policy was put into place 9 years ago. The dress code was adopted after reviewing what many other successful bars, clubs & restaurants from around the area and country had already put in place. We have been a big part of the East End and Rochester community for over 9 years and are looking forward to many more. Murphy’s Law and our employees welcome all patrons local and out of town through our doors

Cheers,

Murphy’s Law

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