Nova Scotia

Halifax nightclub The Dome defends its new dress code

The nightclub is about to undergo a massive renovation and the owners are hoping to make it a classy destination by banning items like chains, sweatpants, white sneakers and jerseys.

Venue about to undergo massive renovation, owners hope to shed 'dirty Dome' reputation

Owners of Halifax dance bar The Dome have implemented a new dress code in an effort to rebrand the operation as a "world-class service." (CBC)

Owners of Halifax dance club The Dome are defending their decision to enforce a new dress code that bans items like hoodies, team jerseys, do-rags, baseball hats, joggers, backpacks and chains.

"We are changing from the dirty Dome to a world-class service," said Alex Elshimy, vice-president of the Grafton Connor Group, the company that owns The Dome.

The Dome broke the news about changes to its dress code in a Facebook post on Oct. 5. It shows pictures of all 31 banned clothing items — from ball caps to overalls to Croc shoes.

The caption read, "You have spoken and we listened! We've upgraded our entertainment, safety and crowd... dress fashionably! This will be strictly enforced on FRIDAY and SATURDAY nights. Let's have a great weekend at The Dome Nightclub!"

Shedding 'dirty Dome' reputation

The dress code change, Elshimy said, comes as the venue is about to undergo major renovations.

Elshimy said bars are places where people can dress more casually, but nightclubs call for people to dress up. He said the changes to the dress code were made based on customer feedback.

Alex Elshimy is vice-president of the Grafton Connor Group, the company that owns The Dome. (CBC)

"We are listening to our guests. We did a survey and our guests are asking for higher standards and we're just reacting to everything the guests are asking for," said Elshimy. "There is no ideal profile that we're looking for. We're just banning a few common-sense things like wife-beaters, workboots and things like that," he said.

'We had so many compliments'

So far, the dress code has been enforced for two nights and Elshimy said it went "fantastic." He did not say if anyone was denied entry because of what they were wearing.

"We had so many compliments from our guests so it's definitely doing great," said Elshimy.

Elshimy said he's confident everyone who has visited the nightclub in the past already has something in their closet they could wear to The Dome.

"All we're asking is do not wear gym clothes, for example. You can wear jeans and even the ripped jeans you can wear as long as it's not overly ripped jeans," he said. "We just want to make sure that the standards are met."

Students weigh in

University students in Halifax say some of the clothes on the banned list could deter them from going to The Dome.

"I won't have anything to wear because those are the only pants I have ... the joggers," said Andrew Hogarth.

"They're quite popular pants. A lot of students, teenagers and young adults wear them. It's a popular style and now that they've taken that away I think they'll have a lot less business," added Matt Nedkov.

Alexa Goodman, another university student, said some of the changes in the dress code are a step in the right direction. She said she's witnessed women showing up there wearing just lingerie. But she said the way The Dome went about it "was a little drastic."

"Running shoes? I think that maybe pushes the line. A lot of girls are like, 'We always wear white Converse" and there's explicitly a photo of white shoes," said Goodman.

"I think the Facebook post and the post in general was a little aggressive. I think it could have been presented in a different way."

'A little ridiculous'

Tre Vint, another student, said the ban on white running shoes was "a little ridiculous."

"People should be able to wear what they want to wear," Vint said. "I've had requests to take my hat off by a bouncer, but that's about it. The hat thing was always a thing."

"Some of the clothing can be considered as like gang clothing and stuff like that. If they want a classier joint, button-ups and stuff like that might work," said Vint.

Elshimy admits the company could have done a better job of conveying what is banned. For example, a ban on white undershirt T-shirts created confusion for people who thought it meant all white T-shirts were banned.

The Dome posted this image of banned clothing items on its Facebook page. (Grafton Connor Group)

With files from Carolyn Ray