BU students with fake Connecticut licenses get restaurant, pub hauled before licensing board

The Boston Licensing Board decides Thursday what action to take, if any, about an underage Boston University student served a vodka drink at Eastern Standard on May 2 and an underage BU student served a Red Bull and vodka the next night at T's Pub.

In both cases, the establishments acknowledged the violations and said they were taking steps to prevent them from happening again. Eastern Standard fired the bartender who served two young looking women - one of whom was actually at least 21 - without checking their IDs. T's Pub's manager has met with BU's dean of students to try to figure out what to do.

"It's a constant struggle," T's Pub manager Joseph Donovan told the licensing oard at a hearing today, noting that roughly 80% of his clientele consists of BU students. He said fake IDs are just getting better - the freshman who scored the Red Bull and vodka has an ID that passed the ID scanner the pub uses.

Donovan agreed with board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini that one step local colleges could take would be to imprint student's birth dates on their college IDs. She said that because they're more sophisticated than driver's licenses, because they are used for everything from getting into dormitories to obtaining meals, they might be harder to fake.

At Eastern Standard, managers said they were caught a bit by surprise by their violation, partly because they cater to a more mature crowd than a place like T's Pub, partly because the bartender failed to double check the IDs after the women had been okayed by a doorman. A manager said that, in addition to firing the bartender, he has been redoubling training, to emphasize to employees that "if there is any sliver of doubt, you need to say it's not worth it," and to deny a young-looking person a drink.

"I don't think it's a student hangout, but students are everywhere," restaurant attorney Dennis Quilty said.

On Thursday, the board could vote "no violation," warn the establishments to be more careful in the future or suspend their licenses for one or more days.

The students themselves now face criminal charges of, at a minimum, being a minor in possession of alcohol.

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Comments

Lost in the shuffle

partly because the bartender failed to double check the IDs after the women had been okayed by a doorman.

On what planet is it the bartender's job to check an ID if there's a doorguy on duty? That the bartender got fired is insane. I hope the bartender hands ES their lunch in an unemployment hearing.

Hell, the bartender should sue for the number of hours they worked there all time x what the doorguy gets paid per hour, since the bartender was clearly expected to do that job as well.

> On what planet is it the

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> On what planet is it the bartender's job to check an ID if there's a doorguy on duty?

The planet where that's how the law works, i.e. this one.

We're not debating law

We're debating accountability among the bar's employees, and the wrongful termination of an employee who appeared to have absolutely no reason to believe that they were serving a minor based on the presence of an on-duty employee who was checking IDs.

Take a seat, Will

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The manager of the restaurant testified that he has a policy in place that bartenders always check the IDs of young looking people ordering drinks, regardless of what happens at the door. The bartender didn't do that. He was fired.

You're right, this isn't a question of law, but this is the United States of America, where employers have the right to terminate employees who don't follow their policies.

Also in the United States of America

The employee gets to claim that they were not aware of the policy. Based on the lack of competence I've seen from bar/restaurant management, I'd give it 50/50 that this policy was not in writing.

So if you're this incensed

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You're going to go into Eastern Standard this afternoon and demand to have a talk with the manager, right? Because your beef is with him and his allegedly shoddily enforced policies, which you seem to know an awful lot about for somebody who otherwise just seems to be spouting off.

I'm with you Will. This is

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I'm with you Will. This is utter crap.

Just like the stupid War on Drugs, the "War on 20 year olds Having an Alcoholic Beverage" claims another victim.

How much time and effort was wasted (and stress was caused) by this stupidity?

At Eastern Standard? Not happening.

Eastern Standard has top notice service and a well trained wait staff. (I know as I eat there several times a year and know some of the chefs.) The bartender knew the drill. Maybe he got lazy or maybe he was hoping for a bigger tip but regardless to claim ignorance is bunk.

Plus the fact that they were

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Plus the fact that they were ordering a vodka drink should have been a clear sign that the drinker was not of drinking age.

Actually is it a question of law...

In many states, including Massachusetts, the law can hold an alcohol vendor civilly liable for providing alcohol to the intoxicated person who caused injuries to others - not just DUI. These kinds of claims are known as "dram shop" claims.

The owner of the bar as well as the person actually serving can be jointly and separately held liable.

The one where there's more than one way in

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The doorman's job is associated with a single door. I guarantee you the bar has two doors, thanks to fire code. I'm not saying that the second door is supposed to be used by the public, but I am saying that it's possible for folks to get in despite there being a doorman.

Which is why it's also the barman's job to check for ID.

Hotel Entrance

If I'm not mistaken there's both an exterior entrance at street level and a separate interior hotel entrance. I'm almost positive I've gone between Eastern Standard and the hotel without going outside first.

Yep

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And it's even legal to take a cocktail from The Hawthorne to your table at Eastern Standard if you choose to go there while on the wait list. You just have to go through the hotel and not down the sidewalk.

2nd door

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I'll play your hypothesis game:

Yes, for an assembly space of this type and occupancy count, a second door is likely. However, you fail to realize that the second door does not have to have hardware on the exterior of it. It is for egress purposes only. Further, it could be alarmed so that it should be used only in an emergency, negating the ability for someone to get in that route without notice.

In reality, yes, there is probably another door that is used for deliveries and/or trash removal.

industry standard

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It is absolutely the job of the bartenders and servers to check for ID. Most of these high end restaurants require their employees to be TIPS certified, which means that they know the rules and laws governing dispensing of alcohol. I worked for a high-end restaurant (BOH) and the pre-shift meeting every night was a recitation of what forms of ID are acceptable, what date means the guest is 21 years old, and what to do if there are questions about the validity of an ID (notify a manager immediately and go look in the binder for examples of every state's DL, passports, and probably college IDs).

In the Boston Metro area at least, one violation like this usually triggers, in addition to fines, closure of the restaurant for one night; a second violation triggers a full weekend; and a third results in closure until the place can get their shit together. So because one person didn't do his/her job, every single person in that restaurant - from dishwasher to server captain - is facing loss of wages for one night, or more. So yeah, you fire someone that stupid/lazy to not only set an example but to preserve your business.

Is Fish your father?

You write things that demonstrate you utter ignorance of the issues you are ranting about. Example: "you hope the bartender hands the ES their lunch at an unemployment hearing."

Please explain just how he would do that...all DET rules on is whether the termination is the results of actions attributable to the employer or the employee. You don't get anything more than what the standard unemployment compensation rate provides for.

As for suing ES - under what law - are you familiar with the "at will" doctrine? An employer can fire an employee for a good reason - bad reason or no reason at all. Exceptions to the doctrine would be the presence of an union or employment contract that contains provision that govern the reason for and method of termination. Other exceptions would be terminations that violate employment law or public policy.

Claiming that an employee was not familiar with a policy may seem clever but generally it is irrelevant (that is, unless the employee has vested rights under some law or regulation which a employer has the duty to inform the employee - example: FMLA).

You are kind of like Fish you know...spewing out crazy talk without a clue as to what you are talking about.

Word salad

Just spewing out crazy talk - 11 years in a bar - isn't that special! Did you ever get another job since the last time you were fired?

Also

T's Pub's manager has met with BU's dean of students to try to figure out what to do.

Oh cool, the BU dean of students is also a lawyer? Man, that's quite a skillset. I knew there were some enterprising whippersnappers at BU.

No I wouldn't

I don't even remotely believe that it's the responsibility of a college to go out of its way to tell its customers not to commit crimes.

That's as ridiculous a notion to me as the idea that a football team which exists ostensibly to prepare athletes for playing in the NFL should be affiliated with a college, and that a player's eligibility to play for said team should be tied into performance in a college course.

Remember this?

I don't even remotely believe that it's the responsibility of a college to go out of its way to tell its customers not to commit crimes.

Remember this? And this?

Ever since, on the eve of a Big Game NU (and I assume most other local colleges/universities) sends out reminders to celebrate safely and responsibly and to please not riot. It is simply the responsible thing to do.

Does the licensing board

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Does the licensing board really believe that bars can catch all of them? Nothing has a 100% success rate.

A few are going to slip through the cracks.

Oh for chrissake

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Donovan agreed with board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini that one step local colleges could take would be to imprint student's birth dates on their college IDs. She said that because they're more sophisticated than driver's licenses, because they are used for everything from getting into dormitories to obtaining meals, they might be harder to fake.

Yeah, that sounds foolproof... counterfeiters are now so good that they can defeat barcode scanners that are designed to stop state-level actors. But I'll bet Emerson (or whoever else) will do just as good a job embedding holographic VR technology in their student IDs, and that every school in the greater metro area will have completely unforgeable IDs (because whichever one is the crappiest is the one that every counterfeiter will duplicate).

I'm sure there are commercially-available barcode scanners that actually make a live connection to the issuing states' DMV database, like what the police use in their cruisers. I'll also bet they're tens of thousands of dollars apiece. If the city council cares so damned much, maybe they can bankroll one for every bar in the city. Otherwise, maybe they can stop sanctioning the places that are at least making a good-faith effort to curb underage drinking.

Take a lesson from Montreal?

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Montreal is a similarly sized and transit resourced college town with an 18 drinking age.

They let the college kids drink. However, if you are under 22 and get caught with a BAC of more than 0.02, or are driving a bus or truck? That's impaired driving. Much of Canada has the same rules.

If drinking and driving are the problem to solve, then stop penalizing people who don't drive!

Ha!! It's even easier!

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Why would anyone going to a bar take their college ID if they thought it could be used against them?

"I think this driver's license is fake. Show me your college ID with its awesome sophistication and accurate birth date on it that matches this license."

"I don't go to college."

Ta-da!

Can we stop paying Pulgini to pontificate on stupid approaches to age-old issues during these meetings and just get down to whether there was a violation and the penalty for it if there was, please?

Only in America does drinking

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Only in America does drinking alcohol have such a ridiculously high minimum age requirement. In most other countries the legal drinking age is 16-18. Time to change these dumb laws!

Fake ids.

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They said that the student possessed an id that passed the scanner. That's why no bar or restaurant or anyplace serving alcohol should not rely solely on a scanner. Connecticut ids are one of the most common fakes out there. They're also some of the easiest to spot that they're completely fake based on the appearance and by simply taking 2 seconds to check the multiple features on the id.
Scanners are ok. But they'll never be as good as an experienced door guy who knows the ids and knows what to look for when verifying an id. Knowing what questions to ask if you question the validity of the id. There are other tricks as well but I'm not going to divulge all the information and tips and tricks. That's what we get paid for.
Part of the problem is that bars restaurants and other places with doormen don't want to pay a premium for the service. So they'll stick some inexperienced guy at the door. Without knowing what to look for you might as well just put a blind man out there. He will do just as good of a job.

Yep

I hear 12 bucks an hour + $20 per confiscated fake is the going rate. You make five figures in sales a night, the license is worth six or seven figures on the open market...and your steward of who can legally get in makes $12 an hour.

Sometimes, the bar deserves what it gets from the overpaid kangaroo court that oversees it.

$20 per confiscated ID

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Explains why I had to argue a bouncer for my license back when I was *23* years old. Dude wanted his bonus.

Thankfully because I was a legal adult, I was able to choose to not patronize businesses that treat their customers like that, and elected to do my socializing elsewhere.

Why arent older persons doing something similar

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Why not get fake "elder" IDs to claim senior discounts ?

Imagine someone forging AARP cards to rack up discounts...I look 60-65 and should get a break on some prices

Meanwhile, in Washington DC,

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Meanwhile, in Washington DC, the Supreme Court recently decided that police officers don't have to know the laws they're enforcing.

We are holding bartenders to a higher standard of diligence than we hold police officers.

I've been going to T's Pub

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I've been going to T's Pub before and after BU hockey games for years(and I see Dean Elmore there all the time). The place gets slammed when the games end and then the bar-hopping students begin to flood in later. Checking ID's and whatnot is not fool-proof by any means.