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No Beer For You

Posted by on May 31, 2011

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 Responses to No Beer For You

  1. Jill

    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

      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

    haha, i had to laugh

  3. Team Oyeniyi

    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

    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

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

  6. John

    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

      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

    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 . . .

    • Amelia

      Haha, love it, Karen. Unfortunately, to GET a Canadian license I had to surrender my USA one…so that wouldn’t help too much…

  8. Ana (Ana Travels)

    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.

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!