Underage guzzlers try to enter pubs with fake IDs

The owner of a chain of popular pubs said that on a weekly average, they turn down 50 to 100 entry requests from underage guests.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

BENGALURU: From providing fake government identity documents to pushing their way inside a watering hole in the company of an adult of drinking age, owners of well-known pubs and bars in Bengaluru say they face such events regularly, but turn down underage guests politely but firmly.

Following the shocking Pune incident in which a 17-year-old boy allegedly drove his father’s Porsche under the influence of alcohol and fatally knocked down two motorbike riders, owners of reputed pubs and bars said many underage guests come with fake government IDs to gain entry.

“In Karnataka, the drinking age is 21 years. We do not accept ID cards, which look fake on the face of it. They are fraudulent papers which are laminated to look real. We have sensitised reception and staff to gently ask for government IDs from our guests, who physically look very young. They check physical IDs and also from digilockers because fake ones look as good as real IDs,” said pub owners, who didn’t wish to be named.

“Some of them accompany an adult of drinking age; often with parents. We refuse to serve alcohol to them even on parents’ request. We are aware of the rules and don’t wish to risk our business and cancellation of licence for the sake of entertaining stray requests,” they added.

Quoting an earlier incident, a pub owner said once a group of youngsters came into his pub and showed their government IDs. “They were already drunk. Even as they were settling down, one of them passed out on the chair. Fortunately, a couple sitting at the next table identified the boy who had blacked out as their son’s classmate, and we found out that the government ID shared with us was fake. We called the youngster’s parents but they didn’t turn up. Someone known to the family came and escorted him back. The group was asked to leave the pub immediately,” he narrated.

Many of them, however, pointed out that there are places which do not have enough manpower to carry out adequate checks. “There are instances of underage people, mostly students, found drinking,” they added.

The owner of a chain of popular pubs said that on a weekly average, they turn down 50 to 100 entry requests from underage guests. “We also refuse to serve more alcohol to guests who we feel are drunk and not in a position to handle more alcohol. These are business ethics,” he added.

Pubs and bars are not the only place where teens and underage adults can drink. “Alcohol causes neurological and cognitive impairment. The young have a higher threshold level and can drink huge amounts of alcohol without feeling subjectively less impaired than adults, it’s worse when they drink and drive. For them it’s a daring and thrilling act because it’s how most youngsters feel at that age,” said Vivek Benegal, Professor, Psychiatry, Centre for De-addiction Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (Nimhans).

He added that India has some of the best rules, which are unfortunately enforced in the breach. “Most parents do not take part in their children’s growing up. Bringing up children should be one of the most important parts of their lives,” he said. Benegal added that informal societal control is most important as a larger social response to incidents like the Pune horror.

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