The owner of Wonder Bar, 178 Harvard Ave., acknowledged today that he and his staff need to do better after police detectives on a routine inspection found six underage college students with mixed drinks at a reserved table after the Head of the Charles Regatta last month.
One of the six tried to escape the detectives but was detained and arrested instead.
"It's completely unacceptable," Noah Eisendrath, who has run the bar for more than 12 years, told the Boston Licensing Board at a hearing today. "Longevity is my plan. Having a freshman hangout isn't going to work. I'm embarrassed."
Eisendrath and his attorney were accompanied by four bar doormen, not for their testimony, but so they could see the seriousness of what happened.
"We could've gone on and found more (underage drinkers)," Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey said.
Det. Daniel MacDonald said he and Mulvey found the six - from schools that included Harvard, BU and BC - with rum- and vodka-based drinks around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.
Five of the six acknowledged using fake out-of-state IDs with their names on them. The sixth, 19, used his 24-year-old brother's Massachusetts license - but unsuccessfully tried to make a run for it when the detectives approached, MacDonald said. Because of that, he was charged with resisting arrest in addition to the false-ID and minor-in-possession charges the others face.
Eisendrath said that for some reason Wonder Bar has become very popular among college students this year, and said he and his staff now turn away 30 to 40 seemingly too-young would be patrons every night. He added that the fake IDs kids can buy online now have gotten so good that they now routinely pop up as legitimate on the computerized scanner Wonder Bar has - so staff have stopped using it.
But he agreed with board members that staffer need to take other steps - such as insisting on back-up IDs with birth dates on them. And staffers should be asking particularly fresh-faced would be customers seemingly simple questions that seem to trip up college students who are not quite as smart as they think they are - such as the nearest cross street to the address listed on their licenses.
The board votes Thursday what action, if any, to take. Eisendrath has another hearing scheduled in two weeks on a similar violation.