Ask the Editor: I’m Clearly Over 21. Why Do Bartenders Still Card Me?

I'd never pass for an undergrad — so what's the deal?

why does bartender card me

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Why do bartenders still card me even though I’m well into my 40s?

—Michelle in Manayunk

Philly Mag food editor Alex Tewfik

I’ll never forget the face my dad, who was 73 at the time, made when he was carded at a bar. He thought he was being pranked. (That bouncer wasn’t the pranky type.) Pennsylvania is so strict about its liquor laws that the state has underage secret diners who get deployed to see if restaurants and bars will serve them. If they do? Bam! Fined. Multiple offenses could mean revocation of a license. Lawyer William B. Morrin says his clients are advised to card all patrons who look like they might be under 35 — but 35 can look like anything these days. Out of an abundance of caution, it’s just easier to card everyone. Including you, Michelle. And my 73-year-old dad.