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What to wear - dress code

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Hi all.

I'm going to be visiting NYC this week and was hoping to check out a variety of dining venues, based mostly on the advice of you, my fellow hounds. The thing is, I'm not too sure what to wear. Obviously for a slice of pizza, etc., it doesn't matter, but for some of the other finer establishments, I'm not sure. I'm a pretty casual guy - jeans and a t-shirt or khakis and a dress shirt untucked, usually. Please help me dress appropriately! Places I'm thinking of checking out are:

Eleven Madison Park
Gramercy Tavern (tavern room)
Blue Hill

Some of these will be for lunch, some for dinner.

Thanks in advance for all your advice.


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  1. for lunch you feel comfortable with a button down and nice jeans
    for dinner add a jacket to that
    If your going with slacks...jackets aren't necessary in these spots
    don't do tennies

    1. I think you might be more comfortable in a jacket for dinner at Eleven Madison Park, but they won't throw you out. Your dress shirt and khakis will be fine at any of your other destinations.

      1. You can wear jeans and a dress shirt to all those places. Though you should ditch the sneakers and wear dress shoes. 11 Madison Park is the most formal, and you might be more comfortable wearing dress pants rather than jeans but otherwise you would be fine.

        1. Without making any judgments on anyone's personal preference for style, if you want to be taken seriously at all the places you mentioned or any where else for the matter, leave the jeans and tee shirts home. For dinner, Business Casual is a good safe bet for you to use in your decisions on what to wear. Even during summer months, it is preferable to wear long sleeve collared shirts over short sleeve polo shirts....and your a shirt should be tucked in at all times. Your slacks should be neatly pressed and your shoes should be made of leather and closed toe, never sandals, flip flops or athletic shoes of any kind.

          If you exercise appropriate dress for dining etiquette 101 and show the establishment respect, they in turn will show you the same proper respect as well and you will have a much better dining experience. Sadly jackets are not always necessary when dining out in today's world, but jackets do afford a certain amount of class and establishments appreciate the efforts their patrons make to wear one.

          Simply, these basic guidelines are proper and the right way to dine in the evening from a manners perspective and any establishments point of view....not necessarily the opinions from others who feel they can wear what ever they wish when ever they want.

          I hope this helps.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            We had dinner at Eleven madison last week. At the next table were two college students and one Dad. The student were leaving the next day for school.

            Both were in jeans and got the same stellar service we did. And when I say jeans I don't mean Old Navy.

            I would definitely skip the sneakers at all of these restaurants though.

          2. Thanks for all the tips everyone. Now I can focus on the great food!



            1. jeans-hip ones for all except 11 madison-they have a no jeans policy but wont throw u out and a fancy top for all. Any kind of dress shirt will be fine for all but 11 Madison is the kind of place u dont want to look sloppy at. And if you have a great body-something tight-we will be looking out for you!

              1. Degustation...jeans and a nice shirt are fine...get the sweetbreads and the scallops
                Eleven Madison Park...i would definitely wear nice pants or a suit if its a weeknight, nice pants on the weekend
                Gramercy Tavern (tavern room)...same as above...though id skip it for veritas
                Blue Hill...same as above...though id skip it and go to gotham
                Babbo...same as above...though id skip it and go to bouley
                Keens...you can wear jeans and a shirt here...its a bit more casual than most steakhouses i think due to the close proximity to madison square garden...i see guys with rangers jerseys in there a lot. get the porterhouse and the steak tartare to start.