04 November 2011
By Arun Dev
If you’re 19, going on 20, you may be stopped from entering pubs. Close on the heels of a recent Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) survey revealing that teenagers form a big chunk of pub visitors, police are talking about surprise checks on watering holes, while pub owners are planning to enforce the age cap of 21 strictly, by asking suspects to produce their age proof.
Pub and bar owners in the city acknowledge they have teenagers pouring in, but most times, they are sent back. “We had a large crowd coming in the whole week. It isn’t possible to check everyone. So only if somebody looks like a teenager, we ask him or her for age proof. In this process, some others may sneak in. However, most times, we send them back. But parents can throw drink parties and get their children there. We can’t do anything about that,” said a pub owner who didn’t want to be named.
There is the usual exchange of words between teenagers and pub staffers when they are not allowed inside. “Even last week, many teenagers came in during the anniversary of our pub. When we asked for ID proof, they showed their driving licences but that is not a valid ID proof. When we stop them, they argue that their parents allow them to drink, so what’s our problem?” said Ashish Kothare, owner Le Rock and Legends of Rock.
However, parents are not ready to buy youngsters’ claims. Maya Purushotham, a private firm employee and mother of two, has this to say: “There is an age limit prescribed for drinking. I don’t think any parent would encourage drinking among children. Pubs and police should take strict action to prevent our teenage children from drinking.”
“We’ll brief our men and they will be checking for ID/age proof of anyone who looks like a teenager, even if it inconveniences them. And we don’t have a problem with police surprise checks. We’ll extend full cooperation to them,” said Ashok Sadhwani, owner of the Couch and Pub World.HIGH SPIRITS
Approximately 15–20 pubs/lounges in and around M G Road, Brigade Road 250–350 people found in major pubs on weekends 20–45 is the age of majority of pub customers Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 is the average spend by a person The decision by cops to check teenagers for age–proof will put pub owners in a dilemma. When they row with teenagers about the age bar, the latter claim they have their parents’ permission to drink