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Anyone of legal drinking age is welcome at The Dew Drop Inn, says one of its partners, despite the presence of a sign that indicates otherwise.
The sign, posted to the bar’s Facebook page on May 14 and picked up by PoPville yesterday, reads, “The Dew Drop Inn Is A Private Rock N’ Roll Establishment, and We Welcome Guests 24 Years Old & Up.” For “question and comments,” it provides contact info for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the non-existent Catholic University Office of Off Campus Living, “or Mom.”
Matt Szymanski, a partner in The Dew Drop Inn, says via email that the bar “has to be extra vigilant” when it comes to patrons who are between the ages of 21 and 23, as they “are more likely to show up at the bar knowing that someone in their group has a fake ID.” The Dew Drop Inn is located near Catholic University.
“Our policy is not to ‘ban’ 21-23 year olds, but to be extra vigilant regarding their IDs,” he writes. “This is a bigger issue for alcohol establishments in college neighborhoods, because only about 25 percent of ‘college students’ are of the legal drinking age (the Senior class); so most undergraduates are not old enough to be in bars.”
Szymanski adds that the bar, not the person using the fake ID, is penalized by the city if the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration finds out that an underage person drank there.
“So, being in a college neighborhood, Dew Drop Inn’s sign ‘welcoming’ 24 year olds, is our way of saying that we will be scrutinizing all of our younger patron’s ID’s very closely, and that we hope to err on the side of caution,” he says.
While the Office of Human Rights could not comment on this specific situation, Director of Policy & Communications Elliot Imse says that District law prohibits private businesses from discriminating against people based on age.
“Although we cannot speak specifically to the rules of the bar you mentioned without a thorough investigation and legal review, District law does prohibit private or public establishments from discriminating against people because of their age, and that nearly always includes unnecessary age limits,” Imse writes. “District law takes an expansive approach to age discrimination, prohibiting it against all people 18 and above in the areas of housing, employment, educational institutions, and public accommodations, which includes bars or restaurants.”
Update, 2:25 p.m.: A spokesperson for ABRA writes, “The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration is currently investigating Dew Drop Inn; however, no further information is available at this time as the investigation is ongoing. ABRA’s record for the licensee does not reflect any history of violations.”