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Age no bar: Easy liquor for teenagers in Mumbai pubs

Aug 01, 2013 12:24 PM IST India India

Mumbai: Weeks after the Gurgaon pub was found serving liquor to more than 100 school children, a CNN-IBN investigation has revealed how rules are openly being flouted in pubs and bars in Mumbai. Bar owners in Mumbai seem ready to ignore the laws on the age limit for drinking.

CNN-IBN, with two 19-year-old boys, who are well below the legal age for drinking alcohol, hit some of the most happening clubs in Mumbai to see whether they have any kind of age identification or perform any kind of check on the young lads when they order hard liquor.

The first stop was Canvas, a liquor bar in central Mumbai. At the entrance, one of the team members, a 21-year-old, was asked for an ID, but the two 19-year-old boys were allowed in unchecked. Inside, their order for vodka and liquor-based cocktails was taken without a blink. The service was prompt, even obliging.

The waiter at Canvas said they don't serve anyone below the age of 21. The question then is as to why then was the 19-year-old served hard liquor.

Next, the team went to Tryst, another known watering hole. The steep Rs 2,000 cover charge was a small price for a night without rules. The club managers were in demand outside, changing the rules at will. Without any checks, two 19-year-olds entered and there was no check even when they ordered hard liquor. Other youngsters confirmed that age was no bar at this bar.

CNN-IBN reporter to a customer: What about everyone in here, are they all below 21?

Girl: Yes mostly. Most of the people who come in here are 21 and below.

A boy outside: There are other places where alcohol is not a problem.

CNN-IBN also saw another group of teenaged students from a popular city college having a birthday party there, with expensive alcohol flowing.

At about 1:30 am CNN-IBN reached the Hawaiian Shack Shack. The police was there to ensure the place shuts on time. But the underage party was able get in and order one last drink with no checks outside or inside. Clearly, there's no reason to stop saying 'cheers' even for teenagers in Mumbai.

Reactions of Bar owners:

The owner of the Hawaiian Shack accepted that her staff may have made a mistake. "Our staff is guided to follow the rules. I don't encourage underage drinking at Hawaiian Shack. But if somebody has got in, I accept the Manager might have made a mistake. This investigation would be helpful to me," her statement said.

A statement by Canvas said, "We strictly allow people only 21 years and above. Each patron is scrutinized for dress, behavior and valid age proof. However, we would point out that it is not just the responsibility of the club, individuals also need to be conscious about guidelines meant for the betterment of society."

"This is shocking to hear. We have a strict 21+ club policy. I will take the matter up with the employees. But if customers show fake IDs and look older, how can we refuse," said a statement by Tryst.