Kids will try anything to get into a bar and have a drink. Bartenders are on the front line and have a front row to the ridiculous things that kids attempt with their IDs (or their sister's ID). Stories have been edited for clarity.
Don’t Start A Fight Over A Girl
“The funniest time was on a Friday night. This girl came in and applied about a week prior. We KNEW she was 19. So I’m walking through the bar to take a quick smoke break and I see her as I’m walking. She tried to act all nonchalant and turn away even though she made eye contact and had that ‘oh no’ face on, but I go right over to her and tell her kindly to get out. The guy she was with was hammered and tried to take a swing at me. Well, he didn’t see the jacked bouncer right behind him and as he brought his arm back to give me a nice big haymaker, the bouncer swung his arm right under this guys arm and around his torso/neck area and pretty much rock-bottomed this dude into oblivion. It was incredible. One of my favorite moments from my bartending career.”
One Angry 11-Year-Old
“While working at a bar in a holiday camp a young girl approached the bar. She can’t have been older than eleven. She proceeds to ask me the price of a drink. I told her the price and she left, seemingly quite happy. Half an hour later she returns to the bar and ask’s for a drink. I naturally ID her, to which she pulls out a bus pass and exclaims she had to give her Birth Certificate so it ‘totally counts.’ After I decline her bus pass she then started profusely swearing at me and threatened to stab me. She was kindly asked to leave.”
“I bartended for a little while, but my funniest story actually happened to me when I was under 21. It was a few months before my best friend and my 21st birthday and we were partying with our friends who were over 21 already. At college, I had learned how to ‘chalk’ my ID by writing over it with a gel pen and spraying it with hairspray. I’d successfully chalked mine months ago so all the info was real on it other than the year I was born. (This was before my state had barcodes on our licenses.) Before we went out, I chalked my best friend’s, but I didn’t do as good a job on hers as I had with mine, mainly because of time constraints. We get to the bar and all our friends go in. I hand over my ID and the guy looks at it like he’s cautious. He wipes his thumb over my birth year to see if it wipes off, but it doesn’t (since it had set on there months ago) and he allows me to go inside. He’s still a little suspicious when he gets to my best friend. She hands over her ID, he rubs the year with his thumb and when it wipes off he says, ‘yeah, this is phony.’ My friend yells, ‘OH CRAP, RUN!’ and flies down the street in her heels leaving her ID and me. The bouncer just looks at me and says nonchalantly, ‘Um…can you give this back to her? I’m not going to confiscate it. She’ll be 21 in two months.'”
Don’t Ring That Bell, Kiddos
“I was a bartender at a local bar. It’s a 16+ bar because in Austria you are allowed to drink anything but the hard stuff at the age of 16. There are no bouncers or something because it’s a small pub in a small city.
So one night our local football (soccer) team won a tournament and many people came to celebrate and we had no chance to check all the IDs because we were 2 barkeepers and about 200+ people are in the pub.
So in this pub, there is a bell. When you ring that bell you have to pay for a drink for everyone in the pub (which is common for pubs I think).
So this one night a kid rings the bell not knowing what it means. Suddenly there was cheering all around and the kid is confused as heck. I walk over to him. Tell him what he just has done. He looks at me with pure terror in his eyes telling me he just has about 50 bucks with him.
I look at him and tell him that he has 2 options right now:
Go to the ATM.
Show me his ID to prove he is not 16.
He goes for option 2, shows me his ID that states he is 15 and runs out of the pub nearly crying. That was really fun to watch.”
Latiff Freaks Them Out
“I have a friend named Latiff. He’s a big guy. 6’2, 300 pounds. Used to be a linebacker in high school and a bouncer for a while after that. We went out for drinks one night at some hipster spot in Brooklyn. This bar does not have a bouncer but often deals with underage college kids trying to get in.
Latiff was dressed in his black hoodie, leather jacket, and baggy jeans, and does not look like the typical patron. We had a few brews and were about to leave. As we’re heading towards the door, Latiff spots some young kids coming in off the street so he drags a nearby bar stool to the front door and sits on it, crossing his arms in front of his chest. In the deepest, scariest voice he can muster he says to the kids, ‘IDs. IDs.’
The kids pooped themselves. This is not a bar that normally has a bouncer. And they’re clearly underage. One starts digging in his pocket for an ID and the other two just booked it out of there.
Latiff still gets free brews at that bar.”
I was working the door and there was a kid who couldn’t have been older than 16 try to get in with an ID that said he was 21 and from Pennsylvania. He still had braces, acne, the American Eagle hair swoop and not a hair on his chin. This is a bar in Louisiana. It was a slowish night so I decided to have some fun with the kid
‘Pennsylvania eh? That’s quite a far ways away from here.’
‘Yeah, I um…I’m here visiting some uh friends.’
‘Yeah? What do y’all like to drink up in Pennsylvania?’
‘Oh, um, I just drink you know…regular stuff. Hard stuff.’
‘Hard stuff, huh? Man, I can’t drink those. You’re a bigger man than I am. You know I think officer Roland right inside drinks those. Why don’t I ask him, hey Roland, would you come here for a second?’
Officer Roland lumbers on over. The kid takes one look at him and makes a break for the door. Outside the door, there’s a metal pole that’s very inconveniently placed, except for this instance. The kid busts out of the door and nails the pole, knocking himself out and bloodying his nose. Roland is standing there with his eyebrows raised while I’m losing my mind. The kid comes to, stands up, and wobbles to his friend’s car, who I assume he was going to try to sneak in. I let him go but keep the ID
I don’t think he’ll be back soon.”
Well, That’s Embarrassing!
“A girl I vaguely knew from around came into a local bar when I was 18. I recognized because she’s around the same age as my younger brother. She was at most 15 (drinking age in my country is 18) at the time and trying to buy a drink. So I ask her for an ID, and surprise, surprise, she has one. Hands it to me for a look and I see that it’s not even a fake, it’s the ID of a girl about 4 years older than her, who I also know. ‘This is not your ID,’ ‘Yes it is,’ ‘I know girl’s name very well,’ ‘Oh. Sorry,’ she said and then left. I laugh whenever I see her.”
It Takes All Kinds
I have a few of good busts:
Once, a girl came in and put down an ID that said Brittany for her name. She was wearing a necklace in her cleavage that said ‘Jessica.’ Whoops…
Another time, a kid came into my store and put down the ID of a guy that I went to high school with. Here’s the kicker: that guy died in a car crash in 2006. So I was like ‘HOW DID YOU GET THIS ID?’ and the kid freaked out. He was using a dead man’s ID to try and score drinks. What’s worse? I found out through yelling at the kid that the ID’s was his older brother’s. I never knew the younger brother at all in high school, the younger brother was 5 years younger than us. So messed up; using your dead older brother’s ID to try and score drinks.
A third time, I had a kid come in who put down some bottles and I was like ‘ID please, and for your friend over there too’ so the kid pulls out his ID and says ‘Yo, Brandon, he needs your ID.’ The kid named Brandon puts down an ID with a different name… So stupid.
Finally, I messed with a kid who was clearly under 21. He had a Pennsylvania ID. So I asked him what his sign was. Everyone knows their own sign but not others. Busted.”
Be Careful Making Assumptions
“I was a doorman at an upscale nightclub in a corporate park in NJ – but it was near a local University, so we often had college students try to get in. One of the more creative ways was to enter with a bunch of people and have the one without ID in the center of the ‘pack,’ hoping to get in without being carded.
So there I am one evening, doing my thing, and a whole pack of people comes in at once – like twelve. In the middle of this group is a petite young woman…my radar goes off. I extend my hand into this group of friends, take her hand and say ‘Come with me, please.’ I ask her for her ID.
Turns out, she had turned 40 that day – her husband had surprised her with a group outing to the nightclub, and she didn’t want to go because she felt ‘old.’ My carding her made her night – she gladly showed me her ID, practically bouncing off the walls to give it to me…’Ta Da!’ She and her friends practically ran into the club, while her husband slipped me $20, saying – ‘That was great. I would never have thought of that on my own!’
She, her husband and her friends wound up having a great time that night – they all came to the door a few times to chat with me, and thank me again. Good times.”
“When I was a barback, they let me tend during slow times, i.e. Tuesday night. No bouncer at that time. One night, 3 clearly underage college girls come in, already hammered and order some mixed drinks. I ID ’em and go to swipe them in the reader, so I have a legit reason to deny them. (They were HOT). The real bartender sees this and tells me to take their order and make them their drinks with nothing in them. He waits 2-3 minutes, them shouts out to the bar, ‘OK guys, if you want a smoke, you have 5 minutes. The police will be here to do an ID check then and we can’t have you outside when they come.’ They didn’t quite run out, but they left quick.”
A Thief And A Liar
“My cousin was a bouncer at a bar in his hometown. A girl he didn’t know walks up to him and hands him the ID. He recognizes the ID because it’s his girlfriend’s ID. So he’s about to let her and her friend in because they must be friends with his GF, right? So, he asks ‘How do you know Rebecca? Her response, ‘I am Rebecca.’
‘No. You’re not. Rebecca’s my GF. I’ll let you in – I just want to know how you know her.’
‘Then I guess you’re my boyfriend then.’
He told her and her friend to wait for a sec, and then got his buddy Phil to come out. Phil was an off-duty cop, and even though Phil was three sheets to the wind, and could barely stand up, apparently the sight of a badge and handcuffs got the underage girls to burst into tears and admit to pickpocketing the ID off Rebecca.”
Use A Little Common Sense
“I bartend at a dive bar in a small town. A couple weeks ago on a somewhat busy Friday night, this young kid came in and ordered a couple of cold ones. I asked him for his ID, and I asked him who the other one was for. He gave me a blank look and after a few seconds said they were both for him.
He gave me his ID, and he had just turned 21 a few weeks before. I asked again who the other drink was for, and he said he was just going to double fist and drink them both. Obviously, I look like I was born yesterday. I sold him the drinks and told him that if I saw him giving a drink to anyone else, he was out.
He didn’t even walk 15 feet before handing one of the brews to another kid, and they started walking quickly toward the pool room, where our back bar is. I ran out and yelled, ‘Hey!’ They both stopped in their tracks and slowly turned around, the one said ‘Oops,’ and hung his head.
I asked the other kid for his ID, and he pulled out a Firemen’s Club membership card, (just his name handwritten on a line on a piece of paper, basically) and told me that was all he had because he lost his license. He was a fireman so I should trust him because he’s 21. I told them they were both out and they had to leave, and I took the brews from them. On their way out, they asked if they could at least get their money back. NOPE.”
Don’t Get The Cops Involved
“Former bouncer here. Once a kid tried to use his friend’s ID to get in, I took it because he couldn’t spell ‘his’ last name on the ID. The friend comes to get the ID saying it was his and how he doesn’t want to pay $75 to get a new one from the DMV. After telling him repeatedly he wasn’t going to get it back he threatened to bring police into the mix. I gladly agreed on the idea. A police officer shows up and we both explain our sides of the story. The officer says ‘Well, you can go get a new ID for $75 or you can go to jail for attempting to providing to a minor and providing false information to a police officer.’ Guy does a 180 and walks away head down.”
‘F’ For Effort
“I live in a small town with a busy summer season, so I’m friends with all the bouncers at the one bar we have.
Last weekend I was talking to one of them and this girl came in, clearly underage with a fake ID. I’m in Canada and our IDs are WAY more intense than American ones. Hollograms, heightened signature, secret messages are hidden in your picture, the whole nine yards so it’s really hard to make fake ones.
This person handed him a fake ID printed on printer paper, the ink was running low so the colors were all warped and she ‘laminated it’ with packing tape.
Our cards aren’t even laminated!! They are made of plastic, I seriously thought she was kidding.
He humored her for a good 20 minutes. Asking her when her birthday was, what year she graduated (she didn’t), what month her birthday was. It was hilarious, she totally thought she was going to get in.”
The Backwards Address
“I am a server and I had this girl who had a California ID. Now, normally I only check the date, make sure it is valid, and just give it a once over to make sure it is authentic.
The fact remains some fakes are impossible to tell from the real ones.
While searching for the birth date (why can’t we all put it in the same location…?) I saw the town where she has her home address is ‘San Pedro.’ Hey, I used to live there! I asked her how she likes the East Coast and she gives me this weird look; I say well San Pedro is beautiful this time of year. She responds with, ‘Where?’ I respond, ‘Right outside of LA…’ The final response from her: ‘I have never been to California.’
‘Well, this is a very convincing fake then.’ I hand it back and go to get their waters; came back out and both had bolted, they also left me $10 on the table.
The other funny one is this group of college kids (I live in a college town) come in and this guy hands me a German passport and orders a brew.
I gave him it and he ordered two more before he left. As I dropped off his check I realized he was only 20. His birthday was listed as 1/12/1992. In America it is day/month/year, but not in Germany – his birthday was December 1st, not January 12th…”
Calling Out A Kid From High School
“I used to work at a store.
One day I was at the counter when a couple underage kids come in. I know they’re underage because I recognize them from high school, I had graduated a few years prior. Kids shop around, acting like they are browsing, this throws a red flag. This is typical underage behavior, if you want to buy a case and not peak the store staffs attention, just grab what you want and go directly to the register.
One of the kids finally grabs a mag of hard stuff, comes to the register. Ask for ID. It’s a good fake. So good that my boss doesn’t realize it’s a fake. He begins to ring up the guy when I finally step up.
‘Dude, you’re not 21, I know you from high school.’
The kid starts freaking out, calling me a variety of terms and threatening my little brother who still goes to school there. My boss says he’s calling the cops. He storms out with his crew and speedily drives out after hearing that.
My boss gives me a free six pack and a handshake. It was one of the better times at my job.”
“I card at a college bar in a big college city. There is usually another person with me carding/keeping a count on how many people enter the bar. If I see a really bad fake I will laugh and hand it to him so we can laugh together. If I am training someone on how to card I will take a fake and point out all the reasons it is fake to the trainee in front of the kid with the fake, very degrading.
The bar where I card also has a scanner that we break out when we feel like a ‘not so nice’ crowd is in town. So usually once a night a pack of girls will roll into the entryway, see the handheld scanner and just turn around and walk out while we all laugh at them.
I have had people not know their own county/capital (looking at you fake Ohios). I have had kids ask to buy back ID’s as well. It is really obvious when a pack of girls stands 35 feet from the door and talks about ‘who is going first,’ then they all approach at one time with their ID’s out…just don’t look like such freshman if you want to be taken seriously at the door.
I will say the worst is telling someone you think their ID isn’t real and it turns out their state just makes crappy IDs. I have done it twice and it sucks, but usually, the person is understanding.
Also, is it really a huge deal for me to spend an extra 3 seconds with your ID’s? I double take a lot of ID’s when the bar is at capacity and some girls are just huge mean girls. I will often get ‘Really?’ or a little ‘Uh!’ if I hold on to the ID for a second more. One girl was slightly more pronounced when she said: ‘Really? Come on!’ I told her to come back and called her out in front of her friends for being a witch. Her friends backed me up. I stay at the bar till 4:15 am cleaning up after you, don’t be a witch.'”
“This is from the other side of the bar many years ago…
I am 20 months older than my brother and at the time we lived in California several hundred miles apart. A few months after I turned 21, my brother borrowed my birth certificate and went to the DMV and got an ID (not drivers license) made. It had my birthdate, but his picture and his address. He never had a problem with it. Several months later we are on a trip with friends and family to Marathon, Florida for some fishing. One night we go out pub crawling with the other early twentyish-year-old extended family members. Our routine was for one of us to head straight to the restroom while the other got something from the bartender. On this one occasion, it was my turn to hit the restroom first. After a few minutes, I hit up the bartender and answer ‘I don’t know, surprise me with an island drink.’ He responds with ‘No, I said I need to see your ID.’ I pull it out and hand it to him not expecting any problems because after all, I am over 21. Unbeknownst to me, the bartender also had the same first name as me and had noticed this when serving my brother a few minutes earlier. The bar was small and only contained about ten people, the bartender looked over at my brother and said, ‘Hey, let me see your ID again.’ Without missing a beat, my brother shows the ID and says, ‘We’re twins, same father, different mothers.’ The bartender mutters ‘…California…weird…’ and continues to serve us.”
A Straight Refusal
“I live in Australia, where the legal drinking age is 18. Despite looking 16, I myself recently turned 18 and got a job at a fairly busy bar in the middle of the city.
Not an hour into my second shift and still quite nervous and unsure of myself manning the bar, a guy who similarly looks on the wrong side of 18 comes to the bar and asks for a drink. This was the first potentially underage customer I had encountered, so I am halfway through adding the drink when I remember that I should probably ID him. So I stumble through asking to see some ID, and the guy outright denies to show me any, saying that I am not even 18 myself. He goes on to threaten that if I didn’t serve him, he would tell my supervisor I was illegally serving a minor.
Gus the security guard let him out.”