Northeastern students with plebian taste in beer get Newbury Street watering hole in trouble

UPDATE: Licensing Board ordered a four-day suspension: Three for serving the minors, one for owner Joseph Cimino's actions during the police investigation. Cimino can appeal to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

It was bad enough, police say, that they caught four underage Northeastern students inside Daisy Buchanan's with Bud Lights. Even worse was that owner Joseph Cimino tried to keep them from questioning one of the four - after he had already tried to flee out the back - two detectives told the Boston Licensing Board yesterday

Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey says Cimino's action, which included refusing to sign acknowledgment he'd been served a citation, was so egregious he wrote him up both for the underage drinking and for "hindering enforcement agents of the Board," something he said he has never done in several years of enforcing the city's liquor and entertainment regulations.

At a hearing yesterday, however, Cimino denied trying to hinder anything. He said the guy he told to "just leave" appeared to be 23 and that he did not realize he was one of the people police suspected of being an underage drinker, but that instead he thought the guy was just a nosy patron wondering what all the fuss was about.

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take against the 240A Newbury Street restaurant.

Mulvey and Det. William Gallagher were on a routine inspection on Sept. 13 when they noticed a table of four young looking people with beers. They asked for IDs and one of the four tried to skip out through a back door, Mulvey said, adding he managed to grab him. Gallagher said he warned the four that he wanted to see real IDs and that if they gave him fake ones, he'd lock them up. Two immediately broke down and confessed, the other two tried to pass off one fake ID and one real Massachusetts license belonging to an older brother.

Mulvey said that as he was questioning the failed escapee, Cimino went up to him and told him "Just leave."

Cimino, though, said he approached to watch the interrogation; he felt it was his right as the restaurant owner. However, he said he thought the guy was somebody who was just generally asking what was going on and who told him he felt anxious with all the hubbub. At that point, Cimino said, he told the guy that if he felt so uncomfortable he should "just leave."

Cimino said he refused to sign for the citation because he didn't think he had done anything wrong.

"I'm insulted you'd use that kind of excuse," board member Suzanne Ianella told him. She said he's been a restaurant owner in Boston long enough - and has racked up enough citations in the past - to know that signing for the citation is just acknowledging receipt, not guilt.

Cimino and his lawyer, Karen Simao, acknowledged underage drinking may have occurred, but pleaded for mercy based on what they said were extenuating circumstances. The doorman that night - who also attended the hearing - had just a terrible night: He was taking a medication that hindered his thinking, the battery on his license scanner died and then he got a phone call from Greece that his grandfather had just died.

Cimino said he let the employee go after the incident; the doorman said he attended the hearing because he realizes his role in what happened and because Cimino had always treated him well.

Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer, however, indicated that might not be a good enough excuse for her, because bartenders and servers should have asked the four for their licenses and not just relied on the door staff to check IDs.

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    Comments

    Jeez, Ferrer

    For somebody who ostensibly went to college for 7 years, you're a pretty dumb lady sometimes. What do you think the doorguy's job is? To check ID's. They're not there to greet people and take coats. To suggest that the bartenders and servers in a busy bar perform that task (some of whom might not have the necessary training) indicates your complete ignorance of an industry that you're compensated quite handsomely to oversee.

    Frankly, it's insulting to anybody that works in the field. Is the concept of doing actual work for money foreign to you? I ask only because you're on the city.

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    Anyone remember why we have a drinking age of 21?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller....

    It's because of concerns about drinking and driving.

    Which is why nowadays in New Mexico, supermarkets (which sell beer) will have signs saying "cashier is underage" on half the registers, lest a dainty and innocent 16 year old sully her hands holding your six pack over the scanner.

    And why we have cops busting undergrads in bars even though it's fucking Boston, and nobody drives to or from a bar.

    Ugh.

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    Maturity Not Driving

    We don't have a drinking age of 21 to prevent drinking and driving. We have a drinking age of 21 because its an arbitrary way of weeding out those not responsible enough to make good decisions when drinking. It's clear the age limit itself is not an accurate measure of maturity and good decision making but since you can not readily test maturity and responsibility levels in any uniform way, the government needs to have something to rely on. Alternatively one could submit to a government held psychological screening to obtain a drinking license, but I fear such legislation would not be popular.

    Riddle me this, BlackKat

    Why is the US pretty much the only country around with a 21 drinking age, then?

    Oh, but our snowflakes are DIFFERENT than Canadian, Australian, British, Irish, European kids.

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    Banned In The USA

    Many of those countries still have drinking ages, it's just 18 or such. Some do not but most bartenders in those countries aren't going to be serving multiple pints to an obvious young teen just out of a sense of personal responsibility. But it is also true that in most countries outside the US that their young people are less prone to drink irresponsibly than their US counterparts. They just know how to handle their liquor better or behave better.

    But it is also true that the US is a restrictive country when it comes to tossing around bans and age limits. Mandating behavior a la Bloomberg instead of letting people make their own choices. Many states are passing ridiculous legislation stating you now need to be 21 to buy cigarettes instead of the already ridiculous 18 age limit. And everyone remembers the PMRC campaign to ban records or install age limits on their use. And movies and video games are restricted in content and age allowances more strictly here than most other democratic countries.

    21 Drinking age does not teach responsible drinking

    But it is also true that in most countries outside the US that their young people are less prone to drink irresponsibly than their US counterparts. They just know how to handle their liquor better or behave better.

    And this, of course, has nothing to do with such drinking taking place in public, with friends, moderated by consequences.

    Oh no, nothing like that.

    I took my son to Germany, Czech Republic, and Switzerland this summer. He had a little wine here, a bit of Radler there. Always with food. He even ordered beer with his lunch and dinner when he was off on his own for a while. Most young people we saw were enjoying beer and wine with families and friends, in moderate quantities. When beer is food, consumed with meals with family or friends or even alone, of course kids will learn to consume more responsibly than if alcohol is contraband to be consumed quickly to avoid getting caught.

    It isn't that the kids are more responsible - it is that they learn to drink responsibly as they grow up because they are allowed to grow up!

    Then again, kids in the US are treated like young children regardless of developmental stage unless they are being punished for something. I noticed, as did my son, that for three shining weeks he got to be a Young Adult, with a limited set of privileges permitted to 16 and 17 year olds, but not children (and not people under 18 or 21 in the US). A clear intermediate stage of growth, with its own social status.

    Being treated like infants, without intermediate training stages, makes US kids irresponsible. Funny how some of the same people who decry the naivete and lack of skills in helicoptered millennials are often the same ones who seek to infantilize teens and young adults at every opportunity.

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    States are trying to fulfill

    States are trying to fulfill their obligation of maintaining public safety and responsibility through their "locus parentis" role, because unfortunately many of today's parents are failing to raise their children in a manner which will guide them into emotional maturity and stability as adults. It's a sad state of affairs, but loosening certain laws isn't the answer....nor is misdirecting blame to licensing board members.

    Yea right....

    Mommy and Daddy: "Jonny got a C in your class, he deserved an A, you just didn't teach him well enough"

    Teacher: "No actually, Jonny hasn't been doing his homework, and has been disruptive in class, those are probably the reasons why he got a 'C' "

    Mommy and Daddy: "No, I think I'm going to make the principal give Jonny a new teacher that will give him the 'A' he derseves. It is your fault Jonny isn't getting an 'A', not Jonny's fault"

    Please....

    Weather vs Culture

    Our snowflakes have absolutely nothing to do with this, it's our culture that's very much different. And over the last 15 years, young adults have gotten less emotionally mature, not more, further justifying an age requirement.

    #LOGICFAIL

    Serious logic failure here. You are confusing consequence with cause. Like saying that kids without access to schools are stupid and we should close more schools. Fail.

    Great idea!

    What could possibly go wrong? Manufacture of alcohol is a highly technical and complex process and the precursor ingredients are easily controlled, and the distribution channel is highly concentrated among a few players, so it's hard to imagine a significant black market developing.

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    This is idiotic

    It is clear that age does not confer some magical ability to handle alcohol maturely. Some adults do, some don't. What is clear is that by preventing individuals from drinking until they are adults forces them to A) Never have the chance to learn from more experienced drinkers (such as parents) the effects of and responsibilities conferred by drinking, and B) Drink only in surreptitious groups of their equally ill-prepared peers.

    Having a drinking age is worse than useless; it is actually dangerous.

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    The drinking age is tied into

    The drinking age is tied into Federal Highway funding. States can set a lower drinking age, but then they loose the $$$. So it's a reasonable assumption to say it's tied to DWI's.

    Of course, having a stupid high drinking age not only causes all the issues listed above, but if anything leads to more incidents of DWIs. Growing up in the country, your average high school upperclassman spends weekends driving to a field, drinking with groups of kids sitting in/on their cars, and then driving home. I'm sure the suburbs have a similar phenomenon. The more they crack down on parents who "let" their kids drink underage, the more kids are drinking and driving, because it's the only way to not get caught.

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    Really?

    I was around when the age was raised from 18 to 21, and the argument put forth in favor of 21 was all about drunk driving. In fact, the lever that the federal government used to coerce the states to change their drinking age was to withhold federal highway funds from states that did not comply, which also suggests that the issue was couched in terms of roadway safety.

    Agreed

    I always cringe when I read about bpd expending resources to go into bars and pick up these ticky tack citations (remember awhile back the 4 detectives who set up a sting operation to bust the revere hotel for giving out complimentary glasses of champaign in people's hotel rooms??)

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    Same in MA

    They do the same thing in Massachusetts, at least at Wegmans. The underage cashiers have to call over a manager to ring in your purchase, and the underage baggers aren't allowed to touch it either.

    One key press on the cash register

    It appears that some group of talmudic scholars have studied the arcana of the law and determined exactly what during the whole process of checking out of the supermarket constitutes the exact moment that the sale occurs; in my experience the cashier scans the alcohol and passes it to the bagger, calling for a manager or an over-21 colleague, who reaches over and presses one key on the cash register.

    MGL's and the research to

    Here are 4 reasons that the drinking age ought to be 21.
    People under 21 brains are still,developing. Specifically their frontal lobes. Where decision making and inhibitions are located
    Study after study shows that earlier initiation is linked to future alcohol (mis) use and addition. People who begin drinking before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to grow up and have an addiction that those who wait till they are 21.
    Underage drinkers, who may think they are invincible and lack the maturity/ experience have an increased risk of fatalities and unintentional injuries.
    Alcohol use is associated with many adolescent risk behaviors.

    If or when you compare kids here with, say, Western European kids you will,find that American kids fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to adverse outcomes. Like binge drinking.

    Sure 21 is not precise. Sure some kids who are introduced to etoh when younger may not obsess over it. BTW it is legal for a parent, guardian or spouse to give alcohol to their own minor.

    I train liquor Licensees in all of this and also worked in this industry for 20 years. What this Licensee did seems negligent. Enforcement, laws and Licensees own policies can and should address this.

    Brains develop continually, even in adulthood

    They also don't grow if they aren't challenged. You don't "magically" become responsible one day - skills develop through learning, and learning occurs as a result of challenge. So we want kids to learn in structured environments how to handle alcohol in moderate consumption. An excessive and ridiculous drinking age won't do that.

    The US is an extreme outlier with the 21 drinking age. Our kids are no different from those others in Europe, Canada, and Australia - where there are some countries with beer/wine drinking as young as 16. The "brains aren't done growing" is just an excuse for a policy that has FAILED, and which has promoted irresponsible drinking and binge drinking. All the 21 age limit does is promote socially-unmoderated, secretive, and excessive use.

    The ONLY reason that the US has such an extreme drinking age is that we have such an extreme dependence on driving alone. The 21 drinking age has left less of a dent in that issue than the culture of designated driving.

    Time to stop pretending that there is any real, rational basis for this policy when there are so many other places - including car-dependent Canada and Australia - that don't have the issues with binge drinking and alcohol poisoning, but do have lower drinking ages. Much easier to control youthful drinking by making sure that it takes place in public and controlled circumstances.

    Mass. raised the age from 18 to 20, then 21

    Ed King was elected governor in 1978 as a big proponent of an age 21 drinking age. He succeeded in upping it to 20. At the time there was a lot of concern about teen drinking. One of the aims was to keep it out of the high schools.

    Later the age went to 21 to comply with federal rules tying the age to eligibility for highway money. At some point the types of ID's that were considered valid were sharply restricted, basically in-state driver licenses, US passports and military IDs.

    I have traveled a bit in Europe, and cannot say that I have always witnessed the utterly proper drinking habits described in the posts above. A two week trip to Sweden that included a wedding involved copious amounts of alcohol. The Swedes slammed down the beer and shots as fast as anyone I've ever seen, and I bartend. The big difference with the US, though, is that people just do not drink and drive. There is both a stigma and severe penalties for doing so.

    Know the industry first

    The bartender is just as responsible as the doorman. Either way, one let in someone underage and the other served someone under age. If you think the drinking age should be 18 your a fool. Take a look at how stupid 21 year olds are when they drink now imagine what 18 year olds would be like, besides all the dog sh!t you have to dodge on the side walk next to it will be a puddle of vomit. Look at all the fights at sports bars now add an 18 year old with liquor balls and the police will really have to work their new raise!
    In the EU hard liquor is much more expensive than it is here, and a lot of the beer which is much cheaper is lower in alcohol. Plus those kids aren't taught for 18 years that alcohol is taboo.
    It's a messed up system, you can watch beer and alcohol commercials on TV which flaunt consumption, but to visit their website you have to tell them you're 21. I forgot 21 year olds know how to do math, 18 year olds do not...wait look at our average educational level, that's correct. "Please leave the room if you're under 21 we're about to show a beer commercial and while you're up get your dad another 16oz PBR!"
    And if you think Bostonians don't drink and drive go stand out side any liquor store around 2:45 and see how many construction workers are grabbing 30 racks of beer and opening them up before they get to their truck. Being in the industry I can't tell you how many times they ask for nips and pints AT LUNCH!