We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
So you’ve reached the inebriant shores of the District’s legal drinking age. Congratulations! But not every bar wants you.
Outside Rose’s DejaVu at 1378 H St. NE is a new sign specifying its ban on drinkers under the age of 25. Danny Roberts, one of Rose’s owners, confirms that the sign was recently installed given increased pedestrian traffic in the area. This way, Roberts explains, potential patrons will know about the nightclub’s age restriction instead of finding out at the door.
“We have the rights [sic] to choose this,” he writes in an email, adding that for more than 13 years the bar has prohibited people under 25. (Before moving to its current location, the nightclub operated a couple doors down as Rose’s Dream, at 1370 H St. NE.)
“We haven’t had any issues with this policy.”
But get ready to have an issue, millennial haters, because the practice is illegal in D.C. An “establishment cannot deny admission to any person 21 years of age or older that displays a valid identification document,” says a spokeswoman at the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
The agency plans to investigate the case.
In recent months, other commercial venues in the District have caused a stir for trying to ban young customers. In May, the CVS at U and 10th streets NW took down a sign that read “no kids allowed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.” after City Paper inquired about it. Also that month, Dew Drop Inn in Brookland had posted a sign that said “we welcome guests 24 years old & up,” before clarifying that it was being “extra vigilant” regarding fake IDs.
City Paper asks that our younger readers please take their Jigglypuffs and their Kik accounts and their Kylie lip kits and their emoji LOLs to these establishments to test their proprietors‘ commitment to equal access for youth drinkers and shoppers. Report back to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the relevant section of D.C. law that prohibits age discrimination by food and beverage venues towards patrons older than 21, per ABRA:
“§ 25-782. Restrictions on minor’s entrance into licensed premises. (a) The licensee under an off-premises retailer’s license, class A, shall not permit a person under 18 years of age to enter the licensed establishment between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on any day in which the public schools of the District are in session during the regular school year. (b) It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (a) of this section that the licensee or a licensee’s employee was shown a valid identification document indicating that the minor was 18 years of age or older, which document the licensee or the licensee’s employee reasonably believed to be valid, and that the licensee or the licensee’s employee reasonably believed that the person was 18 years of age or older or was not truant or unlawfully absent from school. (c) Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to a licensee under a retailer’s license, class A, for a supermarket if its primary business and purpose is the sale of a full range of fresh, canned, and frozen food items, and if the sale of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the primary purpose and constitutes no more than 25% of total volume of gross receipts on an annual basis. (d) Except as otherwise permitted, a licensee shall not deny admittance to a person displaying a valid identification document displaying proof of legal drinking age. (e) The provisions of this section notwithstanding, a licensee not shall discriminate on any basis prohibited by Unit A of Chapter 14 of Title 2.”