At This Restaurant, a Table for Anyone Over 30

Men under 35, women under 30 won't be admitted inside new St. Louis restaurant
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2024 9:00 AM CDT
Under 30? Don't Bother Coming to This Restaurant
New restaurant restricts men under age 35, women under 30.   (Getty / Boris_Kuznets)

A new restaurant in Missouri has some strict rules at the door: No one under the age of 30 is allowed inside. KSDK writes that Bliss, an upscale West African and Caribbean eatery in St. Louis, wants to protect the sophisticated scene it's striving to create vis a vis age limits. Women must be 30, and men 35 to eat there. "This policy is in place to ensure a mature, sophisticated, and safe dining environment for everyone," the restaurant writes in a Facebook post, or, as they put it in an Instagram post, to offer a "grown and sexy" vibe. Owner Marvin Pate, who at 36 just makes the age cut, likens it to a resort. "It represents pure happiness and pure utopia. It's a home away from home."

Naturally, we've got some opinions about the rule. Over on Yelp, reviewer Liz J brought up a wrinkle in the age restriction: "Why 35 and 30? This makes no financial sense. I'm 30 and dating a 33 year old, but he can't go. They just lost 2 patrons, not one." Others have noted that age doesn't necessarily guarantee good behavior, but those who have made it past the ID check appreciate a place to be with their peers. "It stops all of the riffraff that goes on in St. Louis," 50-year-old Sean McLemore tells the New York Times. "The atmosphere is real chill. It's a great environment." Pate is rolling with the reviews, both positive and negative.

"Of course, we have been getting a little backlash," he says, "but that's OK because we're sticking to our code." That code is coming under more scrutiny. The Washington Post notes that age limits are legal at restaurants, though sometimes they can stir up controversy when kids are involved. But according to the Times, requiring different ages for men and women hits a legal gray area. "My knee-jerk reaction is that it is technically illegal," says Sarah Jane Hunt, who specializes in discrimination lawsuits. Travis Crum, an associate law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, agrees, citing Missouri's Human Rights Act, which "prohibits discrimination by public accommodations on the basis of sex." (A renowned chef has banned vegans from his restaurant.)

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