Over the past several years, the American dining scene has become less and less formal. Once upon a time, high-end dining was synonymous with white tablecloths, waiters in tuxedos, and more forks than you could count, but today you could find yourself sitting at a counter in jeans at some of the country’s most expensive restaurants, like Nashville’s The Catbird Seat. But for certain restaurants, that most old-fashioned of dress codes, "Jackets Required," is still alive and well. We found 11 restaurants that still make men wear a jacket.
In the not-so-distant past, if you wanted to have a meal at a nice restaurant you needed to dress up. It’s not that outlandish a concept: you’re going out for the night, you’re going to eat a big meal and spend a lot of money at a fancy restaurant, so you put on a jacket and tie for the occasion. But not anymore; today it’s all about how casual we can get away with being.
The trend toward dressing more casually doesn’t just apply to restaurants, either: heck, people even used to wear a jacket and tie to go to a Broadway show, but tourists today show up in shorts and flip-flops.
So what’s the reason behind the "casualfication" of the dining industry? It’s hard to tell, but it’s most likely an attempt to do away with some of the stuffiness that usually goes with high-end dining, and a simple bucking of convention. Expensive restaurants used to involve elaborate theatrics, white tablecloths, and plenty of pomp and circumstance, but many chefs and restaurateurs are purposefully going in the opposite direction, serving food that’s just as refined and delicious to casually dressed diners in smartly designed but unmistakably downscale dining rooms.
But as casual as some restaurants might be, there will always be ones for those who are craving that upscale experience. You’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant these days that still makes men wear ties (there was a lot of uproar when New York’s "21" Club did away with that rule in 2009), but there are still a handful of restaurants left in the country that require men to wear a jacket, mostly concentrated in New York and Chicago. We’ve tracked down 11 of these restaurants, and they just so happen to be 11 of the best restaurants in America.