A Chicago bar has decided to ban Make America Great Again hats inside its establishment in an effort to maintain what it calls “a classy environment.”
Replay Lincoln Park announced the decision on Facebook over the weekend, sparking some debate on social media.
“After much consternation and consideration and to maintain a ‘classy environment’, Replay Lincoln Park has implemented a new and strictly enforced dress code,” the post read. “No face tattoos, no specific hats, please see below. Let’s keep it classy Chicago. Sincerely, management.”
The post was accompanied with a photo of a red hat reading Make America Great Again and an image of a man with facial tattoos. The account later clarified “no gang face tats.”
Replay Lincoln Park’s owner Mark Kwiatkowski said he wrote the post himself.
“I was just frustrated and I just kind of wanted to make somewhat of a statement,” he told NBC 5. “I felt like we did have an opportunity to say something that might draw some attention to this ugliness.”
Several commenters were quick to both praise and criticize the move, prompting the bar’s owner to write that those wearing MAGA hats may be allowed “with extreme vetting."
Kwiatkowski noted that since his original post, the bar has not had to enforce the rule.
“I think what we would do is kindly ask them to remove [the hat] but we would let them in certainly and maybe have an opportunity to discuss all of this and see their opinions,” he said.
The bar’s account has since tagged the Virginia restaurant currently at the center of a national debate for asking White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave because she worked for Trump's administration.
“We've been getting a lot more interactions here on Facebook since we decided to disallow MAGA hats and we're not sure how to deal with it,” the second Replay post read. “Hey Red Hen, how are y'all handling it? (And are you interested in any cross-promotion opportunities?)”
Sanders tweeted over the weekend that she was asked to leave the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia by its owner Friday evening because she worked for Trump. Sanders said she "politely left'' and that the owner's "actions say far more about her than about me.''
Kwiatkowski said he feels like "there's some sort of good" that can come from the debate surrounding politics in the restaurant industry. He noted Replay is working on a way to raise money for “some good cause that can help advance this or help the people that need help that are crossing our borders.”
Kwiatkowski added the response to his message has been “overwhelmingly positive,” noting, however, that there are “some strongly worded posts against” the move.
"That’s been pretty encouraging how positive that’s been," he said.