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Former Atlanta Mayor Denied Service for Wearing Leggings to the Capital Grille at Perimeter Mall

Former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she was asked to leave the pricy steakhouse chain on April 15 for wearing leggings, which apparently violates the dress code

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The Capital Grille
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Another Atlanta area restaurant is coming under fire for its arbitrarily enforced dress code after denying service to former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for wearing leggings.

Bottoms claims on Twitter she was asked to leave the Perimeter Mall location of pricy steakhouse chain the Capital Grille on April 15 for wearing leggings, which the restaurant apparently considers “gym attire,” according to the dress code policy.

“Polite Notice – For the comfort of all guests and to better deliver on our promise of a refined atmosphere, proper dress is required,” the statement on the restaurant’s website reads. “Thank you for not wearing: gym attire, sweatpants, tank tops, hats, clothing with offensive language or images, exposed undergarments.”

In a later tweet, Bottoms says she then observed a woman likely dressed in similar attire walk into the restaurant, but did not see the woman leave. Bottoms never confirms what the woman was wearing, but the tweet implies she was dressed similarly to the former Atlanta mayor.

“Odd that a restaurant in a mall parking lot turns away customers in ‘mall’ attire. Asked if I could sit in the bar area and was told, ‘No.’,” Bottoms tweets. “Rules are the rules, just wonder if the woman who came in immediately after me, who I did not see come back out, was also denied service.”

One man in the comments on the former mayor’s tweet says he was not denied service three weeks ago at the Perimeter location for wearing a Nike sweatsuit and Nike Air Jordan 11s. Past diners, some posting photos in the comments, also alleged wearing or seeing people dining in jeans, medical scrubs, tank tops, jogging suits, and neon jogger pants at the Capital Grille’s Perimeter location. The national steakhouse chain also includes a location in Buckhead.

Eater reached out to the Capital Grille in Dunwoody for comment.

This isn’t the first time an Atlanta restaurant has come under fire for inconsistent enforcement of a dress code. In 2020, Umi in Buckhead was accused of racial discrimination after a Black couple with a reservation was turned away due to the husband wearing white Nike Air Force 1 sneakers. At the time, the dress code included no sneakers as part of its rules for dining, but the restaurant’s Instagram featured several photos of diners wearing similar high-end sneakers while dining there. The dress code has since changed to allow for such footwear.

Then, in 2021, Buckhead French restaurant Le Bilboquet caught flack for similar reasons, first from a patron attempting to dine there, then by Atlanta Hawks basketball legend Dominique Wilkins. A woman with a patio reservation was denied service for wearing a matching cotton track suit. However, while walking out of Le Bilboquet, she claims to have observed other patrons seated outside dressed in ripped jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts. Wilkins arrived days later in “designer casual pants and a shirt” and was told he wasn’t in compliance with the restaurant’s dress code.

Wilkins received a public apology from Le Bilboquet. The woman said she never received one regarding her dress code experience.