Center City bar owner Teddy Sourias said he’ll remove a dress-code sign banning Timberland work boots at U-Bahn — after a complaint about the sign was conveyed to him by a PGN reporter.
“The [dress-code] sign will come down today,” Sourias said on Aug. 21. “It was never our intent to be discriminatory or to offend anyone.”
U-Bahn’s dress-code sign also banned sandals, flip-flops, “baggy or sagging jeans” and excessive jewelry on men.
Sourias said hats will continue to be banned at U-Bahn, but not hats worn for a specific reason such as religious affiliation.
Sourias, 36, said U-Bahn’s dress code was in place for about two years and always enforced in a reasonable manner. Sourias owns four other Center City bars: Bru, Finn McCools Ale House, Uptown Beer Garden and Cinder.
He said those establishments never had a dress code similar to U-Bahn’s.
U-Bahn, 1320 Chestnut St., doesn’t specifically cater to the LGBT community. But Sourias emphasized that everyone is welcome, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic background or LGBT status.
Sourias said he never received a complaint about U-Bahn’s dress code until one was conveyed to him this week by a PGN reporter. City officials never contacted him about U-Bahn’s dress code, he said.
The issue of Timberland work boots inside Center City bars has been a controversial one. Two LGBT venues — ICandy and Woody’s — allegedly banned the footwear. But the bars denied ever having such a policy.
Some critics recently blasted the Kenney administration for allegedly stereotyping LGBT bars in the Gayborhood as having racist practices and requiring 11 of them to attend antibias training.
Critics questioned whether city officials deliberately ignored racist practices at Center City bars that don’t specifically cater to the LGBT community.
Jeffrey Sotland, co-owner of Tabu, an LGBT sports bar in Center City, said Tabu was among 11 LGBT bars required by the city to undergo antibias training.
“We were never found to have done anything wrong, but we undertook all the training because there’s nothing wrong with the training,” Sotland told PGN. “But there’s an absolute double-standard if the city doesn’t force [U-Bahn] to undergo antibias training. The city was under attack. They addressed the situation to appease a part of the community by requiring 11 LGBT bars to undergo antibias training. But don’t hold me to a higher standard than non-LGBT bars. Hold me to the same standard.”