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Alinea Confirmation E-mail - "Our dress code would ask that gentlemen wear a jacket in the dining room"

Is this for real? Do I HAVE to wear a jacket if I have already purchased my tickets? I wear nice clothes when out, no shorts and sneakers (or - heaven forbid - sandals) but I hate sport jackets, leisure suits, etc.

Can't I wear a nice leather jacket? Or just a nice shirt?

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  1. You're going to get a fantastic meal from some great people. Why not play along this once?

    1. On my last visit the men at the next table had sportcoats and jeans, so it's a very light dress code.

      1. Would it kill you to have manners and abide their dress code?

          1. re: ferret

            You could wear a leisure suit to dinner at the Bakery. :)

            (Note: The Bakery was Louis Szathmary's popular upscale restaurant on Lincoln Avenue. It opened in 1963 and closed in 1989. Attire there was actually quite casual.)

            1. re: nsxtasy

              I actually owned a leisure suit, circa 1975-1976. My parents bought it for me and I could never actually wear it in public (not that I had good taste, the fabric had a weird petrochemical smell to it).

              1. re: ferret

                I wore one once within the past few years, though it was to a Halloween party.

          2. Sometimes you have to give a little, to get a lot. Just make sure the lapels aren't to wide...

            1. Every time I have dined there, all the men have been wearing jackets (sport jackets or suits), without exception. Ties are optional, though; many men wear them there, many others don't.

              I don't know whether or not they would even seat you without one - the whole purpose of telling you in advance is to avoid the possibility - but even if they were willing to seat you without one, you will stick out like a sore thumb. Leather jackets or nice shirts aren't as dressy and wouldn't qualify. So just suck it up, and wear a sport jacket. And don't dine there harboring an attitude over the dress code; you're in for a fantastic dinner, one you will remember for a lifetime. Don't ruin it, for yourself or for your companions. Just do it.

              There aren't many restaurants in Chicago that require jackets - fewer than ten, I believe - but this is one of them.

                1. re: masha

                  Agree. Their house-their rules. Why is this a big deal to people?

                2. Will gladly take your tickets if you feel like refusing to wear a jacket . . .

                  (And since when are sports coats even mentioned in the same sentence as a leisure suit? WTF?!?!?!)

                  1. I'm guessing if you show up in a nice leather jacket and brazen it out you'll be OK. If they bug you just lie and say the airline lost your luggage.

                    I asked once if I could wear a dress shirt and a tie with no jacket and they said "Most people wear a suit". So I wore a jacket but no tie.

                    I've dined at several fine Michelin 3* and 2* restaurants in Spain and England whose dress code is "We do not have a dress code policy at the restaurant - please come along however you feel comfortable" [actual quote from Fat Duck, but could be Ledbury or Azurmendi or Mugaritz or (almost) EMP or Meadowood or Manresa or many others].

                    I guess I can see requiring a coat in Manhattan at Le Bernardin or Per Se, and I'm pulling my one and only Brooks Brothers suit out for L'Ambroisie in Paris this fall (SMH) but it does seem silly at a modernist restaurant like Alinea.

                    1. Why the conditional "would?"

                      I wear a suit and tie to all "fine dining" places..always, so it is never an issue for me.

                      1. Thanks for the info - I'll dig something up

                        1 Reply
                        1. I think they've let you know that you will not be welcome without a jacket, so no, you can't just wear a nice shirt.

                          I doubt you can be sure of being seated with an outerwear type of jacket, either, since they've gone to the extent of letting you know not to show up without a jacket to be worn inside.

                          Why are you willing to wear a leather jacket but not a sport coat?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mcf

                            "Why are you willing to wear a leather jacket but not a sport coat?"

                            Hey, I was going to ask that!

                            And what exactly is there to "hate" about a sport coat, anyway?

                          2. I went to the Alinea website to the FAQ page on their ticket portal and it says Explorer not supported. What does Alinea have against Microsoft? LOL.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                              Probably because their site makes heavy use of HTML5 and Explorer is pretty weak with HTML5.

                              Try Firefox or Chrome. Much better browsers.

                              1. re: willyum

                                Here's a site showing HTML 5 support for different browsers ... Explorer is actually catching up, now to about 80% the capability of Chrome/FF for those few who actually upgrade their browser.

                                I was on the staff of a Coursera class in computer programming when IE 9 was prime last year (it had about 25% the capability of C/FF in HTML5) and students with IE browsers could not even load their code and run it because of so many unsupported features.


                                1. re: willyum

                                  IE 8 still is the most popular version in use with 21.25%. XP users cannot update their browsers beyond IE 8.

                                  In regards to the suit coat issue, since I have a very relaxed work dress code, I look forward to the occasions that I can dress up.

                                  1. re: delk

                                    >> "IE 8 still is the most popular version in use with 21.25%"

                                    Wow, that is sad and rather pathetic. IE 8 supports fewer than 10% of the HTML5 features that Chrome and FF supported back in the day when IE 8 ruled, and an even lower % compared to newer versions (or to IE 11).

                              2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                Because they only people (hopefully) still using IE are at work and not allowed to use Firefox. If you're not at work, there is absolutely no reason to use IE, it is pure trash. Such a garbage product.

                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                    Ahh, makes sense. I wish IE would just die. So much work related stuff has to be run in an ie browser though unfortunately.

                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                  Same thing EVERYONE has against Microsoft... ;^)

                                2. You might want to respond to their E-mail and let them know that you plan on wearing something other than a sport jacket. If you're that strongly opposed to it, it might interfere with your ability to enjoy your evening.

                                  I looked at the Alinea web site and I didn't see anything informing me that there was a dress code that had to be complied with prior to purchasing a reservation (although I didn't look that closely). I think it would be difficult for a restaurant with a ticketing system in place to turn you away when you arrived as you've already paid for your meal. I'd also like to add that I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: deesher

                                    Given that they have given the OP plenty of advance notice of the dress code, given that the tickets are freely re-sellable, and given that there is high demand on the secondary market for the tickets, if the OP shows up for his dinner, he can be deemed to have accepted the dress code. If he is so offended by the code that, given the choice, he'd forgo eating there rather than adhere to the code, he can resell the ticket.

                                  2. Sorry to hijack this thread, but what are the recommendations for ladies?

                                    I am planning on wearing a sleeveless, 2-inches above the knee fit-and-flare dress with pumps and a clutch. Safe bet?

                                    4 Replies
                                      1. re: Loubie_Lover

                                        You probably know that's fine. It's not as if they insist men wear a tux, or even a tie. :-)

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          Thanks nsxtasy and mcf. I don't know the equivalent of a jacket in women's wear haha. :)

                                          1. re: Loubie_Lover

                                            There really isn't one. Female attire is more flexible; lots of kinds of outfits are "dressy" (no pun intended), including dresses, skirts, pants, worn with or without jackets. Whereas with men, it's more cut and dried; a man is dressed up with a jacket (even more so with a jacket and tie), not dressed up without a jacket.