The New York Times finally weighs in on 21 Club’s infamous relaxing of its dress code, with the club’s affable manager Bryan McGuire breaking his silence. “We wanted to be on a more level playing field with our competitors,” he tells the Times. “We didn’t think it was that big a deal.” Oh but it is, say some critics. “It’s the final victory of Los Angeles,” snipped Tim Zagat.
“Etiquette is on a downward spiral, and politeness is disappearing,” said Michael O’Keeffe, owner the River Café. “I will miss the tie policy at ‘21.’ It held up an example of what etiquette could be.” Scoffed another, “Now Bill Gates and the Google guys can come in.” Menswear designer Alan Flusser said the no-tie policy “is unfortunate.” He added, “I’m a traditionalist, and I don’t think this sends the right message to young people.”
Yet some shrug off the change. “I’m not shocked at the news,” said one longtime customer. “It is an appropriate change.” La Grenouille manager Charles Masson, who lifted his tie-only policy in 2003, raises a good point. “There used to be a time when men wore white wigs, too,” he said. Yet one thing remains: the famed tie drawer located in the cloakroom, where neckwear was offered to the unaware and under-dressed. They still offer ties to those in need.