An underage New Jersey woman with a driver's license that wasn't hers got herself and the Sidebar on Bromfield Street in trouble in December when a BPD detective on a routine inspection spotted her with a Bud Light and ferreted out her real age - by calling her mother.
Sgt. Det. William Gallagher and Det. William Mulvey told the Boston Licensing Board this morning that when they entered the Sidebar on Dec. 31, their attention was immediately drawn to a table of four young women.
Three handed over valid New Jersey licenses all showing they were 21. The fourth woman, though, gave Mulvey a New Jersey license showing her age as 25.
Mulvey said this made him suspicious because in his training, young drinkers tend to segregate themselves by age. Also, the woman didn't really look like the photo on the license, he said - her hair was in bangs, rather than pulled back as in the photo and her facial features just didn't seem to jibe.
Still, he said, the woman persisted. "I said this is not you," he recalled telling her. "She was very stubborn and insisting it was her." So Mulvey asked her for her mother's number in New Jersey - and when he got through, the woman confirmed the detective's suspicion that her daughter was, in fact, only 20.
That was good enough for a citation that had the bar hauled before the licensing board today.
Bar attorney Richard Scimone said this was the first time in 13 years the bar has been cited for serving an underage person.
And he tried to challenge Mulvey and Sgt. Det. William Gallagher on how the bar could have possibly known the woman with a valid New Jersey license was not who she said she was. Gallagher said looking at the woman's face and then the license was one way.
Unlike bars in certain other parts of town he could mention, the Sidebar is right near Suffolk Law School, where inter-age friendships are more common, he said, adding it's location downtown also attracts people who work in the same office who might be of different ages.
The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take against the bar. Gallagher said the woman faces a criminal complaint.