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Aug 13, 2011 10:34 PM

Restaurant with Dress Code Question

I'm looking for a high end restaurant, in Downtown Chicago, with a dress code, to go to with my parents for a birthday dinner. I have no problem wearing a suit and tie, but while eating, I would like to take my sport coat off and roll up my sleeves. I have full sleeve tattoos also, so I'm looking for a place that has a dress code, but maybe not the most strict.

Any suggestions?

P.S. Looking for a steakhouse type place, but if you have a really good selection that is a different type, let me know anyway.

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  1. I'm a little confused. It sounds like you are looking for a place which requires that gentlemen wear a jacket, but where you can take the jacket off while eating. I know of no such place; at the ten or so places in Chicago which require or prefer jackets, you will not see others taking their jackets off.

    OTOH that only leaves about 19,990 other restaurants in the area, and at any of those, you can wear a suit and tie and take them off.

    Since you're looking for a steakhouse, you might consider Gibson's. There is no dress code, but they seem to have a high percentage of gentlemen wearing jackets. You could take yours off and no one would care.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      >> at the ten or so places in Chicago which require or prefer jackets, you will not see others taking their jackets off.

      These are the public restaurants in the Chicago area which require or prefer jackets, as confirmed by their websites and/or Opentable listings where available: Alinea, Everest, L2O, Charlie Trotter's, TRU, Spiaggia, Les Nomades, Carlos, and Tallgrass.

    2. I think nsxtasy, as often happens, has a perfect suggestion.

      But you might get more feedback if you say why you want a dress-code kind of place? Keep the riff-raff out of sight? Please the parents? Request of the birthday person? (Your birthday?)

      1. Avenues. I was there a couple of weeks ago and most of the men did not have on jackets. One guy was in a tee shirt. And there were people with jackets on, too.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HoosierFoodie

          Heh, the food sensibilities of Avenues doesn't quite evoke a steakhouse, which is what the OP asked for... :-)

          Gibson's is a good suggestion - then they can all walk up to the corner patch, take off their jackets again and have some gelato...

          1. re: huiray

            Actually the OP was for high end restaurant and the ps was for a steakhouse- whichis how I read it. If it's a steakhouse, I'd opt for Primehous.

            1. re: HoosierFoodie

              I kind of read it as a request for a high-end steakhouse... :-)

              Primehous? You mean David Burke's Primehouse, I presume. Another option, yes, and he can wear his jacket going in and take it off after being seated. Their dress code is "smart casual", but I don't think they'll throw him out for rolling up his shirtsleeves and showing his full sleeve tattoos. :-) (or am I mistaken?)

        2. I think just about every place that has a dress code will actually require the diner to wear the requisite articles of clothing while at the restaurant, and not just bring it with them to the restaurant.

          If it was the latter, I suppose one could simply pick up their 3-piece suit directly from the cleaners, carry it with them to the restaurant dressed in nothing but shorts, a tee, and flip-flops.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Perhaps the OP wishes to go to a place where he can be seen on initial entrance as squiring his parents for a fine repast, as a nattily-dressed gentleman, but who also wishes to display his physique and tattoos to admiring patrons as the evening progresses...

            1. re: ipsedixit

              good post, thanks for the laughs (and the suggestion!)


            2. To everyone, honestly, I'm not sure how the dress code type places work. I live out in the suburbs and just want to go out for a nice dinner with the family. And it's not that I wouldn't keep the jacket on, its more so, not knowing the exact etiquette, would rather ask before hand, than just do it in the restaurant and have to deal with the situation that may unfold

              2 Replies
              1. re: InferisGing

                As ipsedixit accurately noted above, places that require/recommend jackets expect male diners to wear them during the meal. Those are only the nine places I mentioned above, which are expensive and include no steakhouses. If you prefer to go with your parents to one of those nine restaurants, then do so, but be prepared to keep the jacket on. Otherwise, there are many other restaurants in the city - some of them very upscale and elegant - where you can have a very nice dinner, and wear a jacket or not, as you please, and there shouldn't be any kind of situation to deal with if you take your jacket off.

                Most of the nicer restaurants in Chicago accept reservations on Each restaurant listing on specifies a "Dress Code". That is usually one of the following, along with my notes about what you will see most people wearing at such places (I am NOT making the rules, but this or better is what you would see almost everyone there wearing):

                Jacket Required or Jacket Preferred - Gentlemen are expected to wear jackets. Ties are not required; some will wear them, others will not. Ladies are similarly dressy, with an evening dress, skirt, pants suit, etc.

                Business Casual - Many offices use this term to describe their dress code. It is usually interpreted to mean, gentlemen wear shirts with collars (IOW not t-shirts or sweatshirts) and slacks that are not blue jeans; ladies are correspondingly dressed "nice" (although ladies' blouses do not always have collars the way nicer men's shirts do).

                Smart Casual - Slightly more casual and more flexible than "business casual"; for example, you might see designer blue jeans (not torn/frayed ones though).

                Casual Dress - Pretty much anything goes. Certainly t-shirts, blue jeans, and shorts are acceptable and may predominate. Extremely casual clothing like torn/ripped items, athletic attire, swimwear, etc may or may not be acceptable, depending on the place.

                These are just guidelines and some places may be more flexible than others. Also, these are minimums; you can always dress nicer than what I'm noting here. For example, it's not unusual to see a gentleman wearing a jacket or suit in a restaurant that is business casual, and it wouldn't be out of place, although usually more won't than will.


                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Thanks a lot for this. Explains it well.