Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

So you think you can drink?

5 tell-tale signs you’re underage at a bar
Advance-Titan File Photo – The consequences of being caught with a fake ID include a court date and a whopping fine of up to $1,250.

Last year, UW Oshkosh Police Department handed out 230 underage citations. 

I get it — you’re a big bad sophomore, and you’ve totally graduated from stupid freshmen parties in a crumbling basement to a luxury downtown college bar. It sounds like heaven, really. No more mysterious jungle juice, an actual dancefloor and you can finally take that cute picture on the Peadbody’s Ale House swings (Heads up: You will fall off. Everyone does.)

However, if you’re not actually of legal drinking age, you might not be as inconspicuous heading into a bar as you think you are. As someone who’s worked in a bar for seven years, here are some of the most tell-tale signs you’re not actually 21 yet. 


1.) Your fake ID sucks

I’ve seen a lot of fake IDs in my time, but I could count the number of actually convincing ones on two hands. Trust me when I say the unevenly-lit selfie that feels like it was printed on a Post-It note isn’t fooling anyone.

If you’re purchasing a fake ID with your portrait, name and address, the best case scenario is the bouncer laughs in your face. Worst case scenario, they confiscate it and now you’re out 80 bucks. 

If you can find someone who looks similar to you and is willing to let you use their ID, you will probably have better chances of getting served. However, make sure you know the consequences of getting caught using someone else’s ID.

Not only do you get a court date you’ll have to explain to your parents, you also can get a hefty fine of up to $1,250, so tread carefully.


2.) You beeline to the bathroom

As someone who has used this trick before, I am immediately suspicious of young-looking people who make a mad dash for the bathroom before coming to the bar, especially in a group.

Trying to avoid the bartender simply makes you look nervous and like you’re trying to hide something.

Having an older friend order your drinks is just a second red flag, and the bartender will most likely ask who the drink is for. Odds are, they will ID everyone in the group if even one person looks a questionable age.


3.) You don’t know how to order a drink

There’s a certain smoothness to ordering a drink at a bar, and if you don’t know how, you will be asked for your ID.

Common mistakes while ordering include taking far too long, asking what’s good, saying the wash before the liquor or even just stumbling over the words.

Most people have their go-to drinks when they go to the bar, and not having a clue what you’re ordering is a sure sign that you either turned 21 that night, or that you’re getting kicked out soon. 


4.) You won’t make eye contact

Bartenders tend to be very outgoing and inviting while they’re working, and we are typically met with a similar greeting from customers. Afterall, we are the ones serving your drink.

Avoiding eye contact, being particularly quiet and other signs of nervousness show that you’re not supposed to be here and you know it.

If you’re really looking to fool a bartender or bouncer, walk in with a casual confidence like you’ve been there before. We can smell your fear.


5.) You move in herds

Underage drinkers tend to stick together out of fear of being caught. Seasoned bar-goers aren’t afraid to slightly stray from their group and mingle with others, and they often show up at different times.

In theory, traveling in massive groups can work to conceal the age of one or two underagers by creating a lot of chaos to distract the bouncer or bartender.

In reality, we know your tricks and you’re really bringing more attention to yourself. If you’re not ready to shrink your herd, maybe it’s best to stick to the house parties. 

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