No Beer For You

This past weekend I was visiting my parents. My brothers had the great idea to have a bonfire, so I went on a mission to buy s’mores ingredients and beer. At the beer store you can only purchase 36 packs, so an awkward, teenaged-looking boy who looked too young to operate a car- let alone sell alcohol, directed me to the bar next door to buy a six-pack. Having never been to a bar while it was still light out, Vasudha and I entered the dimly lit room a bit hesitantly.

The inside of a bar is an interesting place on a sunny afternoon. I won’t say that the music stopped and everyone turned to look, but two innocent-looking girls in skirts attracted some staring among the regulars.


I walked up to the bar and ordered a six-pack of cider.

The young man (certainly younger than myself) behind the bar asked for my I.D. Fair enough. I don’t think I have ever gotten carded in Canada, but it’s a bar, that’s their prerogative. I handed over the only ID I carry, my Ontario driver’s license.

Bartender (more loudly than necessary): What? What is this? I can’t find the date of birth. (Loud enough for the entire bar to hear over blaring TV) Where’s the date of birth?
[Note: At this point, I would have intervened and pointed out the two places were my DOB is clearly written, but the Bartender turned to his boss in a near panic]
Bartender: Can you help me find the date of birth?
Bartender’s Boss: Hmm. No. I can’t take this. It’s from a foreign country.
Me: Huh? Seriously? Wait, really?
Bartender’s Boss: Nope. NOPE! This is from a FOREIGN country! Can’t take this. Bye.

And with that, I was cast again into the bright world, furious and beer-less. Canada is a foreign country whose ID’s the US doesn’t accept? Seriously?

(Vasudha and I seem to have issues with valid ID’s)

Note the DOB written twice, the halographic picture of the face in the right hand corner


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jill
    May 31, 2011 @ 10:53:44

    WOW. I can’t believe that!! I’d be like, “So you’re saying that people visiting the US from other countries over the age of 21 can’t buy alcohol from you . . . is that even a real law???” Ok, I just googled this and apparently this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. People are saying that you should use your passport as ID. Who knew?


    • Amelia Rana
      May 31, 2011 @ 10:57:27

      I know, Jill, right?!?!

      As someone who lives outside of their own country, my passport is my lifeline. I have guarded it with my life for the past 6 years as it is the fount of security and my ability to work, study and travel. Even to my homeland. So no, I don’t carry it to bars. Thanks, America.


  2. steph
    May 31, 2011 @ 12:41:16

    haha, i had to laugh


  3. Team Oyeniyi
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 07:57:56

    How ridiculous! That really is just silly. Having said that, I do hope my own country isn’t as silly and I just do not know it!

    Try this though – to get into a bar in Qatar (they do have them for foreigners) you have to HAND OVER your passport! They scan in and keep the copy on file – each time you go! They don’t keep it until you come out, they give it back to you as soon as it is scanned.


  4. Chantal Thomas
    Jun 01, 2011 @ 12:51:57

    I had that issue in LA, and had to drag out my passport to buy a six pack. MM has also had issues with his SK license in NY, so we now usually use our passport.


  5. Julie Anne
    Jun 02, 2011 @ 03:31:17

    oh dear. I’ve taken note, just in case Ann Arbor is equally silly with my Alberta licence.!


  6. John
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 19:50:21

    the worst part about this whole mess is that YOU’RE AMERICAN….who just relocated. That’s crazy that they gave you a hard time. Didn’t you keep your PA license just for fun memories? Maybe that would work!


    • Amelia
      Jun 03, 2011 @ 19:55:08

      I know! I wanted to tell the guy that I was born about 20 miles from the bar….not in Djibouti. Unfortunately, someone realized that allowing the populace to have multiple driver’s licenses was basically asking people to sell them; so no, when you get a new license you have to give in your old one. At least here.


  7. karen
    Jun 04, 2011 @ 00:28:48

    If you lose your license, and pay to have it replaced, and then you find the first one again – you can keep it! I know – it has happened a couple of times . . .


  8. Ana (Ana Travels)
    May 01, 2012 @ 09:51:41

    I find that many American bar tenders, cashiers, and the like tend to panic when confronted with a foreign driver’s license. So my husband makes a point of using his UK one instead of his Texas license for a laugh.


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