Fake IDs and the Milwaukee bar scene, then and now
Matt Olson remembers a cold evening about 10 years ago, working the door at The Nomad World Pub, when he carded a group of younger patrons, including a "big jock guy" and a girl who appeared to be several years younger than 21.
"I look over the 17-year-old's ID, and it was definitely not her," recalls Olson. "She gave me these puppy eyes and big smile trying to look like whoever was on the ID. I told her that that was obviously not her and I am taking the ID."
Olson, who now bartends at The Highbury, says he took her ID, only to have the big jock guy get confrontational.
"So while he is yelling at me and basically threatening me, he is not noticing the large group of regulars that are congregating behind him. He eventually turns around and notices about five guys the same size if not bigger than he standing right behind him waiting for him to do something. He then turns to me and says, 'You're Lucky!' and leaves."
Joseph Gagliano, who worked at Fitzgibbons Pub in 2001, recalls another case of mistaken identity.
"A young lady tried to get a drink using my sister's ID," he says. "My sister had given her the ID when she turned 21. I explained to the young lady my sister is 5'11" and she was no more than 5'3". She still tried to talk her way in."
Going father back, the stories get even more ridiculous.
Kelly Allen remembers working at L.A. Freeway in the '80s when a patron left his wallet on the bar before heading back to his table. "When I checked the wallet for identification I found his real ID. When I called out his real name he was terrified, grabbed his wallet and ran.
"Also, when working at Henry's on Downer, a young man handed me an ID that was his older brother's, who was one of my best friends in high school," says Allen. "He was shocked when I called him by his real name ... I actually let him stay."
And bartender Chip Bush's favorite Wisconsin fake ID story actually happened when working in college in Ohio. He had come to expect underage patrons at his pub, and when carding two guys at the corner of the bar, he noticed something fishy.
"The first guy hands me his ID, and it passes muster," recalls Bush. "The second guy though, hands me an abomination that apparently was supposed to be a Wisconsin driver's license. I guess he thought it would be safe to use, as Wisconsin was four states away, and 90 percent of the students at this school were from Ohio. And the last thing he counted on was that the person serving him would actually be from Wisconsin and would know what a Wisconsin ID was supposed to look like."
Bush pulled out his own ID for comparison. "Finally accepting defeat, he admitted that it was a fake. In the end though, I let him hang on to it since he and his friend were quiet and polite, and not a couple of obnoxious fraternity types. I just told him that I had better not ever see that ID again, because the next time I would be confiscating it."
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I don't quite understand the out of town id concept. Do these bartenders give extra scrutiny to out of towners trying to drink? Doesn't seem to friendly to me.
Back in the late '70's I was bartending for my neighbor Dave Pump at the Road House in Tosa and guy came in for a sixer of Miller to go. I asked for his ID and and he pulled out that little cardboard card you get when when you buy a new wallet... with "Name" "Address" "Date of Birth" etc., each followed by a blank line for you to write in your info. I laughed so hard I almost let him have the beer. Almost.
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