Nfld. & Labrador

Neck tattoos get man turned away from George Street bar

A dress code is one thing, but a tattoo code?

'Sorry, sir, we don't let people in with tattoos above the collar line,' Mitchell White says he was told

Mitchell White says he was turned away from the Martini Bar because of his neck tattoos. (Submitted by Mitchell White)

A St. John's bar is under fire for refusing entry to a man because of his neck tattoos.

Mitchell White said he was out with friends from work on Saturday night on George Street. They went on to the Martini Bar, he said, and when he tried to catch up, he was stopped by the door person.

"He said, 'Sorry, sir, we don't let people in with tattoos above the collar line,'" White told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

White says the incident won't stop him from getting more tattoos. (Mitchell White/Facebook)

White said he went back to his hotel and the next day, wrote a Facebook post about it. 

"I just wrote what I felt,  just wondering if that's what's going on in this day and age, in 2018 — we're still discriminating against people with tattoos or because of the way they look," he said.

Much to his surprise, the post took off, and was shared nearly 600 times by Monday afternoon.

"It certainly seems like I've got a bit of an army behind me here, now," he said.

Tattoo a memorial to his grandmother

White said the tattoos visible on his neck include a set of praying hands and a memorial tattoo for his grandmother.

"They mean the world to me," he said.

White says his whole body is tattooed. (Mitchell White/Facebook)

His "whole body is completely tattooed," he said, noting that his run-in with the Martini Bar wasn't the first time he's felt discriminated against. 

"I've been harassed by police and authority figures for the last 15 years because of these tattoos … but [Saturday night] was the first time I was blatantly denied access because of them which really took me by surprise," he wrote on Facebook.

'Policy never endorsed by the Martini Bar'

On Sunday night, the Martini Bar made a post about its dress code on its Facebook page, writing that while semi-formal dress is required, the rules don't aim to exclude people with tattoos, piercings or other body modifications.

"Unfortunately, a miscommunication from management to staff led to a policy never endorsed by the Martini Bar or [its] owner regarding tattoos," the post said.

White says his neck tattoos 'mean the world to [him].' (Mitchell White/Facebook)

But White isn't buying it.

"To me, it just seems like a bit of a cop out … once they realized what kind of storm they created," he said.

"Maybe they will change their policies. That's what I'm aiming for here."

With files from St. John's Morning Show

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