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Licenses restrict students from bars

7 October 2012 By Brandi Bottalico, Associate News Editor No Comments

Just days after senior Valerie Pickens celebrated her 21st birthday, she tried to buy her first bottle of alcohol at a Frederick, Md. liquor store, and the shop owner wouldn’t accept her ID.

She had celebrated at the bars at Towson on her birthday, but was denied at two more liquor stores because she hadn’t changed her license to a horizontal orientation.

“The first place I went to he said sorry I can’t serve this to you,” she said. “I said, I am 21 just look at the birthday and he said they’re not allowed to unless it’s flipped.”

Liquor Board Chief Administrator Mike Mohler said there is no regulation that states an establishment must only accept horizontal licenses.

“The only thing we regulate is that the person is 21 and how the restaurant determines that is up to them,” he said. “With all the plethora of fake ID they’re going to be hopefully a little more diligent.”

Each individual establishment can choose whether they choose to accept vertical licenses, though that makes them liable if the individual isn’t 21 and is using someone else’s old ID, Mohler said.

Charles Village Pub allows anyone 21 and over to enter with a valid driver’s license, regardless of orientation, CVP’s bar manager Jason Jankiewicz said.

“We prefer them to have the horizontal license, but as long as it’s not expired we don’t care,” he said.

Pickens went to Applebee’s in Towson with a friend who had recently turned 21 and was unable to sit at the bar because her friend hadn’t updated her license.

It doesn’t allow those without the horizontal license to be served because they want to protect the restaurant, general manager Michelle Deschaine said.

“You must be 21 years of age to sit at the bar with a valid ID and by the Maryland state law they are stating that a valid ID is one that says you are over 21 and the license is not vertical but horizontal,” she said.

Deschaine said she knows of smaller restaurants that allow the vertical license but that any business has the right to deny serving alcohol to anyone they choose, which helps prevent fraudulent use.

“I remember back in the days when I was in college people were easily able to sell their IDs,” she said. “To protect our liquor license, which is a very valuable commodity for us, we just follow the law to the strictest letter.”

Student Matthew Pudinski, 24, said he used to own a bar in Locust Point, and wouldn’t allow people in unless they had the new license.

“I would of gotten sued if I allow them in and they got sick or some other thing happened and I wouldn’t be covered under insurance due to the lack of responsibly I took for allowing someone with a questionable ID in,” he said.

Freshman Stephanie Vaughn said that if the birthday is on the license and it isn’t expired, then it shouldn’t be a problem.
“I know I would be really pissed if I went out on my 21st birthday and I couldn’t buy alcohol,” she said.

Pickens said that this policy is inconvenient for students as well as businesses. “I think they’re losing business because a lot of college students don’t have time to go home and get it changed,” she said.


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