CORRECTION: It appears that I’ve been had. Commenter Dietsch at Jacob Grier‘s blog points out that the article was probably an April Fool’s joke. There are such things as beard net regulations on the books in various cities. But this particularly amusing story appears not to be true; probably for the better.
Hair nets have been a staple of the food service industry for a long time. They are not the most dignified fashion accessory. But they serve a useful purpose. Just like church and state, hair and food are best kept separate. Hair nets are a much easier way to accomplish that goal than, say, mandatory baldness for all kitchen staffs.
Which brings us to the latest fad in Brooklyn’s trendy Cobble Hill neighborhood: mustache nets. For some reason,Victorian-themed restaurants and bars are all the rage right now. Bars are redecorating with old-fashioned furniture and artwork. Bartenders are redecorating themselves with outlandish 19th-century facial hair, from mutton chops to handlebar mustaches.
Unfortunately, a regulation from approximately the same time period is getting in the way of all this nostalgic fun. New York State law requires all persons with facial hair who are serving food or drink to wear a mustache net.
Regulators have been cracking down on un-netted mustaches. They have cited several establishments, as Chow reports:
The crackdown was a surprise to restaurant employees—one bartender apparently panicked and attempted to hide behind a taxidermied warthog. However, many of those cited have remained defiant.
“I’d be happy to have my staff wear mustache nets—if I could find a sustainable source,” said a representative of one of the establishments targeted in the raid. “And so far, I have not found a mustache net farm whose mustache netting practices I believe in.”
It’s pretty easy to see why the nets aren’t very popular. A Google image search for “moustache net” yields this picture:
Doesn’t exactly befit the image of a chic bartender. But in New York, that’s the law.