While some people may find it flattering if a server asks for ID, the reason might not be because you look young.
An increasing number of licensed establishments in the city, including the Factory, the Famous Warehouse and Moose Vancouver, are opting to err on the side of overcaution rather than risk fines from the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LLCB) and are now carding all patrons no matter how old they look.
The Dime Roadhouse, a new food primary restaurant on Commercial Drive, recently introduced a mandatory identification policy from customers, including their regulars, no matter how many wrinkles or grey hairs they have.
"No matter what your age is, we'll ID you," said Dustin, a Dime manager who declined to give his last name. "It is becoming a new thing that a lot of businesses are trying to instill. It just saves our butts."
He said the restaurant was recently handed "a pretty hefty fine" and they don't want to risk falling victim to the Minors as Agents Program (MAP), an LLCB compliance initiative launched in 2011 that hires underage teens to attempt to purchase alcohol. A first offence carries a $7,500 fine, and a second offence in a 12-month period is a 20-to 30-day licence suspension. The B.C. program, the only of its kind in Canada, originally targeted retail liquor stores but expanded last May to include restaurants and bars.
"It's not just the business, they fine the servers as well and a lot of them are just kids and students," Dustin added. "It sucks for us because we have to spend the time explaining and we lose a lot of business. It's just one of those things you end up having to deal with."
Sandra Steilo, a public affairs officer for the Ministry of Energy and Mines that oversees the LLCB, said sparking more stringent ID policies wasn't an intended consequence of the program.
"Obviously this is something that is up to the restaurants themselves," she told the Courier, "but if they are carding 80-year-olds, that seems kind of goofy."
In the first year of the program, 344 private and 98 government liquor stores were tested, with an overall compliance rate of 87 per cent.