Bar Dress Code


Depending on the setting and the crowd, going out to a bar could involve anything from jeans to semiformal chic.  Regardless, the main principle is to look cool and have fun.

For the ladies

Let’s break bars down into two major categories: pubby bars and clubby bars.  You know what we’re talking about.  Pubby bars have lots of dark wood, probably some TVs showing the game, and chili cheese fries on the menu.  For these you’re probably good with jeans and a cute top, or maybe a skirt.  Here you can play with fun accessories (silver earrings, colorful necklaces) and clothes that are interesting and unique without being formal in any way.  For clubby bars, you’ll want something closer to a nightclub outfit.  You’ll know a clubby bar because it’ll have any of the following: a glowing backlit bar, super dim lighting, sleek decor, and/or an extensive, expensive martini list. Bar Dress Code

For the guys

As for the ladies, guys, first ask yourself: Is this bar pubby or clubby?  If you’re going here to get beers with the guys, you’re probably okay in jeans and whatever shirt you picked off the floor.  If you’re looking to meet women, you’ll want to class it up a bit, even if you’re at a pub: wear your nice jeans or pants, maybe dressier shoes, and a button-down shirt (which you can tuck in or not — your call).  If you’re at a fancier locale, then you’ll want to come supplied with a jacket — jeans are still probably okay unless it’s very upscale indeed.  For more of a clubby bar — does your drink cost more than a Bond DVD? — check out our nightclub guidelines.

Rules of Thumb

  • If you’re going to a fan bar to watch a game during the daytime, you’re good with jeans and a jersey, or something in that neighborhood.
  • For ladies, the lower the lighting in the bar, the lower your neckline can be.  (Note: this is entirely optional.)
  • Hair, makeup, and accessories can be fun and appealing while still quite casual.
  • If you anticipate sitting on a barstool all night, don’t wear a short skirt.
  • If you’re an Olympic-level drinker, you’d be well advised to consider bringing along a wallet chain, if you’re a guy, or a handbag that zips closed, if you’re a girl.  Lest you inadvertently be parted from your valuables.