Austin restaurant no longer bans neck, face tattoos after backlash

DALLAS (KXAN) — Little Woodrow’s, a restaurant and bar chain with five locations in Austin, has rescinded a no face and neck tattoos policy after facing growing backlash.

It started in Midland earlier this month, when Joeseff Rivera posted a Facebook video outside the bar complaining he was denied entry because of his tattoos, even though, he noted, the bouncer was “tattooed up.”

Wednesday, following a stream of criticism on social media, the company said the policy existed at only two of the chain’s 16 locations. “At those locations, we implemented a policy where we requested that neck and/or facial tattoos not be openly displayed,” according to a statement posted to their website. The chain has decided to rescind the policy, adding they regularly review and modify their policies when its reasonable to do so.

Oliver Peck, a tattoo artist and host of “Ink Master,” discovered the policy when he was turned away in Dallas. “Not everyone with a neck tattoo is in a gang. Sorry to break the news to ya,” he said.

While people with tattoos are not considered a protected class, like race, sex and age, a restaurant must enforce the dress code on all of its customers.

In June, KXAN reported the story of a local man who said he was humiliated after he was turned away from a North Austin bar for his tattoos. The man was turned away from The Dogwood at the Domain, before he could pull out his ID. He said at the time he would like to see bar employees trained on what tattoos are gang-affiliation and what is not. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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