A Prahran bar and restaurant has received a social media backlash after a woman holding hands with her girlfriend was allegedly refused entry and told to go home and “put on a dress”.

The Herald Sun reported 34 year-old Ari Missikos was repeatedly denied entry to Hoo Haa on Saturday with her girlfriend Kay Girandi because her outfit did not meet the venue’s dress code.

Restaurant management have denied allegations of homophobia, saying it does not discriminate against anyone.

Missikos was still refused entry after changing her shoes and top and when the bouncer was asked if it was “a gay thing”, he allegedly told her he didn’t have to answer. A staff member allegedly told Missikos that she and her friends should return on a Wednesday when the bar was more liberal about who it let in.

Missikos took to the restaurant’s social media pages on Urbanspoon and Facebook with her story. It has gone viral online with people spurning the restaurant over Facebook, so much so that management had to stop people posting on its page.

Co-owner Paul Kasteel said he would investigate the accusations but denied his business was discriminatory and added it had been a Melbourne Queer Film Festival sponsor for three years.

He said the business employed gay and straight people and had encouraged a diverse range of people to go to their venue.

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