4th Street Live Patrons Say Dress Code Is Back

By Shannon Davidson

(LOUISVILLE, August 2nd, 2004, 5:30 p.m.) -- It's the hot new spot in town known for its bars, restaurants, shops, and upscale venues but since 4th Street Live opened, much of the focus has been on its dress code. In June, the company that runs the entertainment complex rescinded many of its original demands regarding a dress code. But some patrons say a dress code is being enforced, seemingly at random. WAVE 3's Shannon Davidson reports.

Executives at the Cordish Company, the company that runs 4th Street Live, recently thought better of a dress code that prohibits jerseys, ball caps facing the wrong way and sleeveless shirts on men. The company agreed to drop those rules amid a media nightmare that was overshadowing the opening of the venue.

But now some patrons are saying the company is trying to slip under the public radar and slowly re-enforce it again. Adam Willis has done an aboutface when it comes to his opinion of 4th Street Live. "My first opinion was, this is great, because we need people downtown."

Willis says he was excited when 4th Street Live first opened, but after security told him to turn his hat around during a recent visit, he's changed his tune -- and shared it with listeners on 84 WHAS radio Monday morning during the "Francene" show. He says two security guards "came up to me, shoulder to shoulder, like they were going to physically escort me out if I did not turn my hat around frontwards, and it was simply on backwards."

The confrontation puzzled Willis, since he thought he was up on the most recent rules regarding the dress code. He even cited an article in the June 30th edition of the Courier Journal where a representative from the Cordish Company said "no one will be turned away" based on their dress.

The amended dress code banned indecent attire and requires a shirt and shoes. But Willis says security is still picking and choosing whose clothing is up to snuff and whose isn't. "It's very confusing when you go down," he says, "because you can go down one day and they're not saying anything, and the next day you're wearing the same outfit, and you're not allowed to come in."

The latest tenant at 4th Street Live, Lucky Strike Lanes, is now hiring for its September opening. Like other 4th street businesses, it plans to be an upscale venue that will enforce its own dress code.

"We don't want people dressed in pajamas," says General Manager Ken Blackthorn. This is gonna be a nice place, we want people to come down dressed nice and have a good time."

But some are still wondering what exactly is the proper attire to make it past 4th Street Live security.

Technically, when each end of 4th Street Live is blocked off with barricades, which is generally done Wednesday through Saturday nights, the venue becomes private property. That means the Cordish Company can enforce any kind of dress code it wants.

That may be the case, but people we spoke with says they'd appreciate a final answer on what that code is -- with signs posted out front listing what is acceptable and unacceptable dress.

Online Reporter: Shannon Davidson

Online Producer: Michael Dever