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Why Bars and Clubs Sometimes Ban Hats

By Taylor James


Updated on

Old Hollywood photographs certainly portray glamorous nightlife to be one of the more conducive scenarios for fun, elegant, and bold hats. In real life, that might not always be the case. The reality is bars and nightclubs often take on a strict “no hat policy,” a rule that might seem confusing to those just looking to spice up their outfit on a night out with no malintent.

There are a few reasons why this might be the case, though bars and clubs certainly don’t have these printed out on handy brochures. Let’s get into some of the possible motives behind the club “hat ban:”

  1. Maintaining a dress code standard
  2. Etiquette
  3. Implied meanings
  4. Security
man wearing a cap in a bar

There might be more than one valid reason to ban hats at bars and clubs – let’s dive deeper and understand some of them:

1. Maintaining a dress code standard

For years now, select nightlife spots have become notoriously famous for enforcing their dress codes, often seemingly put into place to attract a certain crowd to specific establishments. In modern times, when the most popular hats are beanies and baseball caps, the use of hats might clash with the desired aesthetic, meaning it’s an easy no at the door.

2. Etiquette

If we look at it from a more traditional perspective, simple etiquette would find it inappropriate to wear hats indoors at all, let alone when you are constantly interacting with new people left and right. Whether it’s a matter of respect or habit, taking your hat off during a greeting or as you enter an establishment seemed to be default behaviour, and so it is reasonable to consider that this might be why some bars opt to have this requirement to this day.

3. Implied meanings

Both in schools and in social settings, accessories like hats were known to have once been used as identifying gang uniforms. While headwear is certainly not the only one way that these group members could have been picked out from a crowd, it certainly seems to have been one of the most popular in the nightlife context especially in a dark, often small, environment. Needless to say, it would be inconvenient to break up fights in the middle of the night and blame it on a guy’s snapback.

Hats also have many other ways of implying possibly conflicting meanings and statements, such as the ones made through the way of sports teams’ logos and phrases, for example.

Rather than come up with a solution for this issue at the time, banning hats altogether seems like a much more straightforward approach, don’t you think?

4. Security reasons

Lastly but certainly not least – security reasons! In this day and age, security might be the number one driving force behind the bar and club hat ban, and it is not hard to understand why. Hats undoubtedly have the capacity to obscure a partygoer’s face, particularly when they are trying to be identified through low quality video cameras and eyewitnesses.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.