Battle Against Underage Drinking Begins at the Door - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/13/05

Battle Against Underage Drinking Begins at the Door

Local bar owners say the battle against underage drinking getting more difficult as fake IDs become realistic. They tell us some IDs are even fooling electronic scanning devices making those not as effective. So, door staff and observant bar tenders and servers are using additional training to keep minors from drinking.

"The law says you need to be 21 in the state of Texas to drink, so if you're not 21, don't even come in," said Gerald Critez, one of the owners of The Blue Light.

Minors are not allowed in The Blue Light, but Critez says his staff is trained by TABC to spot fake IDs if a minor does try to get in.

"Our philosophy is if it's anywhere close to being wrong, we just don't take the chance," said Critez.

And right next door at Tom's Daiquiri, bartender Kaitlen Williams says they're not taking any chances either.

"I carded somebody who was born in 1967 the other day, just cause she looked young - I had to make sure," said Williams.

Establishments where minors are allowed have to watch those they let in closely.

"You have to have your markings, your identifying markings and your wrist band, and we hold your ID at the front door," said Bleachers General Manager Jeff Trevino.

Some minors try to get around the law by wiping their marks off or by having someone who's 21 order two drinks, then giving it to the minor in the bathroom. That's why they have extra staff on patrol.

"We always have door staff and security staff walking around on the upstairs and downstairs levels," said Trevino. "We don't tolerate it, we have a no tolerance policy on minors drinking."

He adds the no tolerance rule protects the minors and the bar owners.

"My job is to make sure that everyone has a good time, but we also have laws to pertain to," said Trevino.

If a bar is caught selling alcohol to a minor, it's a class "A" misdemeanor. It's punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000 dollars. After multiple offenses, businesses can lose their liquor license.

Bar owners say "take it as a compliment" if they look at your ID more than once.

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