Highlights from the comments section from our review of the newly-remodeled Brass Rail, which touched off a storm of comments. Many of the commenters reacted to accusations made by the first commenter, Regular, that the new bar will enforce a “no jeans or sneakers” dress code, calling it a “blatant attempt to keep black patrons out.”
Before going any further, we at TheColu.mn want to point out that we’re still working on getting confirmation from bar management that a dress code is indeed planned or currently in force.
International Velvet summed up the thoughts of many: “The old Brass Rail was a working class gem now replaced by something that looks like the bathroom of a shitty Las Vegas hotel.”
In between charges of racism (which we will be investigating), many commenters seemed to feel like their old dive bar was taken away from them. Several were nostalgic for old elements of the bar they cherished, and tore into the new look as “inhospitable for people who can pass by the walkie-talkied gatekeepers up front. And it’s denied to those people who can’t muster up the right kind of “look” to gain entry,” as Shirley Chisholm put it.
But speaking to those commenters holding up the old BR as a gem, Chisholm reminded everyone:
Make no mistake: the old Brass Rail had practices of racism as well. One night I re-entered the BR with friends, all who are white-myself included-and one who is black. The white friends, myself included, entered without any issue. The black friend was quickly stopped and carded even though he’d been in the bar with us the entire time. Not cool, and something we should keep in mind as we memorialize the old Brass Rail
Still, she said, the new Brass Rail was far worse.
…[I]t aggressively aims to exclude working class and poor people–people who wear hats and jeans and sneakers, people who do not ‘dress up’ to meet the newly enforced code in its desperate grab at this cosmopolitan elitism. A lot of working class and poor people who hang out on that block of Hennepin are people of color, predominantly black people. I mean, come on, it’s wedged in-between an adult bookstore and a strip bar.
We’re not going to comment on that last sentence. Loving the New Rail, though, had this to say: “The one [comment] that really got me was the assumption that only Black people wear Tennis shoes and Jeans.”
Only two readers rose to the defense of the “new” Brass Rail. Scott Larson quipped that
A dress code is a nice thing. I have worked around this beautiful country at more than 10 bars and a dress code is acceptable everywhere but in this city. The Bolt enforces a strict dress code on Friday nights! Do you declare “racism” on that establishment?…The Brass Rail had to change to move into the future. There are plenty of dumps for you to hang out in, if that’s your game.