Bartender at Rice Institution Valhalla Threatens to Cut Off Alumnus's Necktie
Certain bars in Houston have long been notorious for their dress codes. For example, in 2012, Tyler Deric, a backup goalie for the Houston Dynamo, became involved in a physical and legal altercation outside Heights bar Roosevelt Lounge after being denied entry because his group of friends "didn't meet the dress code." Deric maintained the dress code excuse was merely a front for disallowing his black friends entry. In 2011 the Press did a cover story on how various Houston bars use dress codes and other door policies to actively discriminate against their clientele.
Photo by Flickr user richhumofair The entrance to Valhalla, a bar that seems to have an issue with neckties on men.
So it might be a surprise that one Houston bar has what is apparently a reverse-dress code. But a Rice alumnus was kicked out of Valhalla last Thursday for the most innocuous of clothing -- a necktie.
The alumnus -- he did not want to use his real name, so we'll call him Irving -- graduated from Rice University in 2008. He said he likes to wear ties to work now, because men get only so many socially acceptable fashion accessories (and we've all agreed that fedoras are douche-y). But apparently Valhalla, the underground graduate student-run bar on the Rice campus, has a long-standing "tradition" against ties, so Irving was kicked out. Not just kicked out. Banned.
Here's what happened. Pay attention, because it gets convoluted: Irving showed up at Valhalla around 7 p.m., right after work, to get a drink and hang out with some friends. He ordered a beer at the bar and went outside. About an hour later he went back inside to get a second beer. Later, when he went for a third beer, a bartender told him she wouldn't serve him until he took off his tie.
Irving thought that was stupid, so he refused to remove it. (It should also be noted that he was wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, but it was the tie at which the bartender took umbrage.) According to Irving, the first bartender called another bartender over to discuss. Irving's friend tried to buy him a beer instead in an attempt to calm the situation. Then a third bartender joined the fray, armed with a pair of scissors, and threatened to cut Irving's tie right off of his neck.
At this point Irving was holding two beers: his and his friend's. He had the beer he wanted, so he moved outside. Meanwhile, the bartenders figured out his name, and, according to Irving, kept looking outside, glaring at his group.