People are losing it over this restaurant's 'elitist' (and hilariously specific) music policy

A list of bands whose music is banned in the Baldwin Street Grille
(Image credit: Paul Wildhoney)

You don't spend much time in the heavy metal business without encountering your fair share of elitism, but even we here at Metal Hammer can't quite recall ever seeing a metal music policy quite as strict - or as hilariously specific - as this.

Baldwin Street Grille, a dive bar/restaurant from Madison, Wisconsin usually known for its Friday night fish fry and cheese-stuffed burgers, has gone viral after one of its workers posted a music policy enforcing a strict ban on some of metal's biggest names - not to mention the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer and even French EDM legends Daft Punk and Damon Albarn's cartoon heroes, Gorillaz. Oh, and "pizza thrash", whatever the hell that is.

The policy, enforced by restaurant sous-chef and lifelong metalhead Paul Wildhoney, was meant as a lovingly tongue-in-cheek poke at gatekeeping within the metal scene, and thanks to the powers of social media, it's now taken on a life of its own.

"I didn’t know a lot of people who listened to metal when I was growing up, so the only place where I could talk about music with others was the internet," Paul tells us. "As internet communities are centred around memes and jokes, I was inspired by my peers to go over the top with my elitism."

Paul Wildhoney with his elitist metal sign

(Image credit: Paul Wildhoney)

Even Paul, however, didn't anticipate the photo of the policy he posted online getting the reaction it did.

"I woke up one morning to see my list get posted by a large number of meme pages and get shared in almost every metal Facebook group I’m in," he notes. "But I only truly recognised how big it’s gotten when I went to see T-Pain and Lil Jon last week and a guy recognised me from the photo I took posing next to the list."

Paul also co-runs a progressive metal label, Red Nebula, and reveals that the unexpected attention has enabled him to further platform the label's core values.

"It's pretty amazing to know that I made a lot of people around the world laugh," Paul reflects. "Honestly, the best part is the amount of exposure that the label I help run has gotten. The free publicity has been huge for giving us a bigger platform to spread our anti-racist and anti-NSBM message."

See the policy in full below. Surely they can play a little Metallica, right? Even hardened gatekeepers love those first four albums...

The elitist music policy from the restaurant, which doesn't allow the likes of Metallica, Pantera, Weezer and more

(Image credit: Paul Wildhoney)
Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.