11 Restaurants That Have Banned The Most Ridiculous Things

July 19, 2019

No shirt, no shoes, no service is a phrase with which we’re familiar. But how about no red pants, no shoes, no service? Or no children, no shoes, no service? Whether restauranteurs ban an entire profession or just one word, they run the risk of causing a public uproar. Particularly with the advent of social media, people from around the world can get mad at them, rather than just a handful of locals. Many of these ridiculous bans have gone viral — some people support them, but others vow to boycott the restauranteur’s establishment.

These ban-happy businesses run the gamut from Michelin-rated eateries to local diners to restaurants that were Michelin-rated eateries but then banned Michelin stars. Surely, owning a restaurant is hard work, and after putting in all the hours and dealing with the stress, we suppose you can ban virtually anything you’d like. Still, there must be a careful balance between over-banning and keeping customers happy. Prohibit too much, and you may just drive business away.

If you’re a banker in France, or a couple in Japan looking for somewhere to dine on Christmas Eve, be sure to do a little research about where you can and cannot eat.

1. A Parisian Restaurant Banned Bankers After The Owner Couldn’t Get A Loan

Bankers could only come in if they paid a €70,000 ($78,529.50) entrance fee.

When financial institutions refused to give the owner of French restaurant Les Ecuries de Richelieu a loan, he retaliated by charging bankers a €70,000 entrance fee. The fee is equivalent to the loan for which he was turned down. He put out a sign that read, “Dogs welcome, bankers banned.”

Well, you can’t be more specific than that.

Owner Alexandre Callet said, “Restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, we’re all in the same boat: every time we want to launch a business, we have to get on all fours.” Callet, who runs a successful Michelin-star restaurant, was looking to open a second restaurant location.

2. A U.K. Bar Banned People From Wearing Red Pants

The ban was meant to be a commentary on upscale dress codes.

The Little Blue Door is a bar in Fulham, U.K. meant to invoke the vibe of a house party. Their ban on red pants is a commentary on member’s-only clubs, where if attendees don’t wear the appropriate attire, hosts give them a large jacket and tie.

The bar will provide people with a pants alternative should they don red.

Should a patron show up with red pants, The Little Blue Door will provide them with a pair of ’80s-style tracksuit bottoms or comfortable pajama pants. Said co-owner Jamie Hazeel, “We are anti-pretentiousness. Put it this way, if someone turned up to our brunches in their pajamas, we would be delighted.”

3. An Upscale New York Restaurant Wouldn’t Let Women Sit Alone At The Bar

They claimed the archaic rule is meant to target sex workers.

When bar patron Clementine Crawford visited Nello, she sat at the bar alone. An employee asked her to move to a table, and she complied. But after she noticed men were allowed to sit alone at the bar, she began questioning the establishment’s policies.

The manager told her they were instituting a crackdown on sex work.

Crawford asked to speak with manager Thomas Makkos, who told her women were no longer allowed to sit alone at the bar because sex workers had used the business as a place to find work. She called the rule “an emotional slap in the face,” and got into a verbal argument with Makkos.

4. Paradoxically, The Manager Of An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Banned Overeating

He called two rugby players “a couple of pigs.”

In 2012, a Mongolian all-you-can-eat buffet banned rugby players George Dalmon and Andy Miles for life. The manager told reporters he had “put up” with the men eating five bowls of stir-fry each for two years, “but [he’d] had enough.” Especially because the men never tipped, which is not cool.

Not cool at all.

If you have the urge to pity these hungry boys, it’s understandable — who doesn’t want to eat five bowls of stir-fry in one sitting? But once the manager revealed they never tipped, his side of the story becomes a lot more sympathetic.

5. This Member’s Club Aims To Create A Relaxed Environment By Banning Suits And Ties

The servers wear hoodies.

Soho House is a club for those involved in the creative industry, so the restaurant wanted to create a non-formal environment. A spokeswoman said, “Its important to us that we create a relaxed, casual and overall, a friendly environment for our members.”

Lobbyist Peter Bingle was banned for six months.

The club caused controversy when it banned lobbyist Peter Bingle after he wore a suit into the establishment. Bingle asked if “all the world has gone crazy” in a blog post he wrote criticizing the decision. He wrote, “Is it really the case that the wearing of a suit makes me uncreative and unrelaxed?” Fair question.

6. A New York Bar Banned The Word “Literally”

It sparked a wide-reaching online discussion.

An East Village dive bar called Continental banned the word “literally” from the establishment. The bar’s owner, Tipper Smith, posted a sign on the window threatening to eject anyone who used “literally” in a way he perceives as incorrect.

Smith clarified that the sign is only a joke.

When the sign went viral, Smith received criticism. Commenters accused him of sexism, since it’s women who most commonly use the word. Smith noted that he was joking and that patrons of the bar understand he’s not really going to kick anyone out. Still, people online pointed out there are more important things to ban from your place of business, such as harassment.

Yelp reviewers flooded the restaurant with one-star ratings.

When Crawford publicized the sexist policy in an article on Page Six, people flocked to Yelp to leave one-star reviews. The restaurant continues to have a two-star rating, although a large number of negative reviews are for bad food or poor service.

7. In Tokyo, A Restaurant Banned Couples From Dining On Christmas Eve

They were worried single customers would feel lonely.

Tokyo restaurant Pia Pia banned couples from eating there on Christmas Eve. Similar to Valentine’s Day in the United States, Christmas Eve is a romantic holiday in Japan. The Italian eatery faced criticism, but Pia Pia had successfully banned couples for four Christmas Eves prior.

Pia Pia announced the policy via a company blog post.

The restaurant announced the policy by posting an illustration of a couple with a large X drawn through it to their blog. Although most restaurants in Japan are full of love on Christmas Eve, Pia Pia remains a safe haven for all the singles out there who just want to eat their dinner in peace.

8. When This Restaurant Refused To Serve Trump Voters, They Sparked Outrage Online

Obama was vacationing in Hawaii at the time.

A restaurant in Honolulu called Café 8 1/2 posted a sign on their window that read, “If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis.” His comments enraged Trump voters, who left a slew of one-star Yelp reviews.

The owners went on Fox News to tell viewers they didn’t mean any harm.

Owners Robert and Jali Warner told the public that the sign was only meant to criticize Trump and wasn’t as serious as many interpreted it. Those who supported the Warners left five-star reviews on Yelp. Eventually, the owners removed the sign, stating it “ran its course.”

9. The Chart Room In The U.K. Banned Children Under The Age Of Twelve

The owner wants his restaurant to be a place where people can reminisce on the good ol’ days.

Just a few days after The Chart Room in the U.K. opened, owner Bob Higginson announced he would not allow children under 12 to dine in his restaurant. His decision sparked claims of discrimination against young people as well as boycotts in Brixham, Devon, where the establishment is based.

He still allows dogs.

Higginson justified his decision by stating children break things, but dogs rarely do. He stated, “There are nice and expensive artifacts around which are not behind glass cases like they would be in a museum, and we’ve had things broken by children in the past.” He followed by saying that dogs have never been poorly behaved in his place of business.

10. One Restauranteur Banned Michelin Stars From His Restaurant

He said it was too much pressure.

Sébastien Bras asked for his three Michelin stars to be revoked. It’s one of the most prestigious titles a restaurant can receive, and even though he recognized that having them stripped will make his business less famous, he was glad to be relieved of the pressure.

Bras wants to be carefree with his restaurant’s cuisine.

Bras and his father Michael were rated three Michelin stars for 18 years, but the pair decided they no longer wanted the title. “We want to proceed with a free spirit and without stress, to offer a cuisine and service that represents that spirit and our land [France],” said Sébastien. He didn’t want to focus on pleasing Michelin inspectors any longer.

11. Tokyo’s Nihonryori Ryugin Has Banned Just About Everything

Keep your phone in your pocket and don’t wear perfume.

Three-star Michelin restaurant Nihonryori Ryugin in Japan has banned an impressive range of items. Patrons can’t take photos or use their phone, they can’t bring children under ten, perfume is prohibited, and the dress code requires no T-shirts, shorts, or sandals. Guests also can’t leave the table to smoke during the meal. If a party cancels on the day of their reservation, they may be fined up to $172 per guest.