Age isn't just a number
Bartender Caitlyn Bock pours a drink behind the counter at Bruno’s Tavern. Bruno’s is one Uptown bar that restricts entry to those ages 19 and older. ERIC BURAS/ Staff Photographer
While some bars allow 18-year-olds through their doors, other college bars require their patrons to be 19 years of age or older to enter with the hope of reducing underage partying.
According to David Melius, owner of Bruno's Tavern, a licensed bar in New Orleans is allowed by law to let in anyone over 18 years old, but the establishment has the option to raise the bar entry age however its owners see fit.
Melius said Bruno's raised its bar entry age to 19 in 2009 so it could avoid the high school students who may be 18 years old and have underage friends with them.
"We found that locations that allow 18-year-olds inside have issues involving students under 18 trying to get in," he said.
Local Uptown bars take these measures to keep the underage high school crowd out of their establishments.
A 2011 national survey done by the University of Michigan found that 40 percent of high school seniors had consumed alcohol within the past month.
The Boot Bar and Grill, recently deemed by USA Today as the best college bar in the U.S., is among the few bars in the city that has an entry age of 18 and older.
Nicole Rico, day manager and bartender at The Boot Bar and Grill, said although the bar limits entry to those 18 and older, students must have a college ID to enter.
"Requiring students to bring their college ID for entry helps filter out the amount of high school students that try to come in and underage drink," Rico said.
Some Loyola students appreciate that certain neighborhood bars have set the entry age at 19.
Paul Smith, business junior, said he would rather go to a bar with a higher entry age because it reduces the amount of underclassmen within these places.
"On the weekend, I prefer going to bars that have an entry age of 19 and older," Smith said. "I can hang out with more students in my grade."
Despite it being illegal to purchase alcohol until the age of 21, Melius said that Bruno's allows people under the age of 21 into the bar because the space offers more than just alcohol.
"We serve food from 11:30 a.m. till 2 a.m. every day," Melius said. "We have 14 televisions, pool, darts and video golf for entertainment."
Sofija Javor, psychology junior, said that she prefers the less-crowded atmosphere of bars that don't allow 18-year-olds inside.
"Bars like The Boot that are 18 and older usually have a longer wait line outside, and it's more crowded than bars with a higher entry age," Javor said. "As an upperclassman this year, I will definitely be going to bars that are 19 and older."
Julia Nolan can be reached at
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