Dew Drop Inn if you are at least 24 Years Old

Dew Drop Inn

Update: Response from Dew Drop Inn here.

A reader reports:

“Was at Dew Drop Inn tonight [Saturday] and they were putting up lots of new signs saying they are only a 24+ establishment now. We asked security and bartenders what the change was about and everyone said they are “not authorized” to speak about what happened “last night.”

2801 8th Street, NE

144 Comment

  • Weird…wonder what happened.

  • Catholic U students have discovered a convenient if mediocre neighborhood bar. I was there Friday night, and they clearly didn’t seem happy when a number of students showed up.

    • Yeah, this sounds like a Catholic U student-related problem.

    • It’s obviously CU students based on the reference at the bottom of the sign. This is probably a long time coming. Late on Friday and Saturday nights, the college kids kind of take over and it is a whole different place.

      I’m glad they did this. Love this bar!

    • They were upset about having customers? This is bizarre and doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m not sure I want to go to a bar that’s going to impose arbitrary restrictions on entry like this.

      • College students cause trouble. Liability issues w/r/t college-age drinkers could sink your establishment. It’s understandable why they’d want to avoid that hassle.

        Whether it’s legal is a whole other thing.

        • it’s legal. 21-23 yr olds are not a protected class.

          • Anyone over 18 is a protected class in DC.

          • Age is a protected class. We don’t legislate protected classes that narrowly and you must know that. That’s why it’s unconstitutional to ban Muslims from immigrating even though Muslim isn’t a protected class; religion is.

          • Pretty sure age is only a protected class for 40 and older (and even that might just be for employment purposes)

          • LH: that may be true federally, the District has much broader protections.

          • Age is a protected class in DC under the human rights act, but that only pertains to housing, employment, education and public accommodation. Anybody can have a private club.

          • This is not a private club. You don’t need a membership. It’s a licensed tavern, which makes it explicitly included as a public accommodation in the DC Human Rights Act. The matter of this place being a public accommodation is really, really, really not up for debate. (And yet somehow was already debated multiple times in this comments section somehow!)

        • palisades

          Let’s be real – it’s not that they cause trouble. It’s that they’re just not the clientele that this place was hoping for. They probably feel like it’s turning into the next McFadden’s or something.

          • To what degree is it okay to mandate what kind of crowd you want at your bar? If your bar happens to be near several gay bars, and that results in an influx of gay patrons, can you ban gay people at the door? Same goes for black folk or muslim folk (what if you open a bar near a mosque)? This bar is near a college campus; nobody forced them to open there.
            I get that age is different from those other groups. It’s printed on an ID, after all. But there’s a reason why there’s rich legislation against this kind of ban in public accommodation, and this might be narrowly pushing up against the line on one side or the other.

        • There are liability issues beyond making sure they’re 21? That don’t exist for 24-year-olds? Please enlighten me.

          • Ever try to rent a car if you’re under 25? It won’t work out so well for you.

          • As I understand it, car insurance companies are not considered “public accommodations” under current case law. That’s why they can also discriminate based on gender and marital status.
            In any case, I’m not sure why that’s relevant. This is a bar; they are not a car insurance company. If we apply your logic, blanket bans in public businesses will be all over the place.

          • Accountering


            If that is the case, that is unfortunate wrt Car Rentals. I see a car rental as a necessity for interstate commerce, travel, business etc. A bar in a city filled with hundreds of them? Not so much.

          • Neither is a tavern a “public accommodation.” In fact the sign itself says the Dewdrop is a “private establishment.”

          • @Accountering. I agree that it’s a bigger problem with car rentals than it is this one bar. I wish car insurance companies were barred from this practice and it probably could be with a court judgement that they need to comply with civil rights laws. Some states may already bar them from doing this in their jurisdictions. But that doesn’t necessarily make it okay or of clear legal acceptability within DC for this bar to do this.
            @James W. I’ll quote myself from below where you said this same thing: “You’re wrong. Dew Drop Inn is licensed several times over by the DC government (as a business, as an occupied commercial space, as an alcohol-serving establishment) and is, in fact, a public accommodation. This isn’t somebody’s house.”

          • Perhaps a little buffer for the fake id contingent.

          • Last post since this is frankly tiring. You can argue private vs public all you want (despite the sign saying it’s a private establishment), yet that doesn’t change the civil rights act to somehow protect age. The only federal law protecting age relates to employment practices and those age 40 and older. Perhaps DC is some kind of oddball college-aged bar utopia where a CUA student can assert a civil rights violation for not freely being able to get sh*t-faced anywhere they please on a Friday, but I doubt it. Until you start offering forth some actual case law, then I don’t have much faith in your gut-borne thesis (helped with some Wikipedia searches it appears).

          • James W. – I would imagine it does get tiring to continually argue against reality. No one is arguing that age is covered under federal anti-discrimination laws. It is, however, very clearly covered under DC laws.

            As for the public vs private debate, bars are clearly included in the legal definition of “public accommodations.”

          • James: You are right that there is no case law. But it would require DC case law to prove the point. The thesis also cites areas of DC’s law on DC’s website. Neither federal law, nor the Civil Rights Act, is relevant other than to establish what a “public accommodation” is, which (believe it or not!) is not legally affected by simply putting up a sign with the words “private establishment” outside the building.

          • Young people of drinking age, particularly young men under 25, are more likely to binge-drink, drive drunk, etc. These things can come back and hurt the establishment they were drinking at.

          • @Cuno. Should it be okay for bars to ban entry for males under 25? Males in general? I imagine there are correlations between drunk driving arrests/prosecution based on race too, either because of socioeconomic class correlations or just good old-fashioned racist policing. Should we indulge those stats with allowed bar bans as well?
            Maybe age is fine even while the other things aren’t. That’s fine. But as soon as you bring other things (like you just did with gender) into it, you hit at exactly why I don’t like this policy.

  • ah

    I love that they ask people to direct questions and comments to:

    Catholic U

    • Catholic U MADD BRO?

    • What happens if my mom is a well-connected lawyer looking for what could turn into a high-profile case of age discrimination? (Not sure if this is obviously legal or not, but I can certainly imagine plenty of room to squabble.)
      You’d think Dew Drop Inn is hoping to avoid costly lawsuits.

      • You’re going to get Mommy involved because you can’t get into one bar in DC?

        • We must’ve gone to very different schools, because yes – many kids with means get their parents involved when deemed necessary.
          (Note, I’m well out of college and did not attend CUA, but my understanding is that CUA isn’t that different from what I recall from school.)

      • Accountering

        I would say its unlikely that a high profile lawyer is going to get involved in attempting to sue a bar because they don’t want college kids to come. Being 22 is not a protected class…

        • You’re probably right about the high profile lawyer thing, but probably wrong about how protected classes work. From my comment above:
          “Age is a protected class. We don’t legislate protected classes that narrowly and you must know that. That’s why it’s unconstitutional to ban Muslims from immigrating even though Muslim isn’t a protected class; religion is.”

          • Timebomb, protected classes are only a factor in Constitutionally protected activities. Patronizing a bar is not one of those. Neither is, say, renting a car or owning a home in a retirement community. Both activities are also frequently restricted by age. Your comment is just as wrong the second time you posted.

          • Thank you, James. Now this person and “nevermindtheend” can please stop repeating themselves.

          • I don’t think that’s true. The civil rights act bans racial segregation in restaurants (based on the premise of the federal government regulating interstate commerce), even though eating in a restaurant is not a constitutional right.
            The Supreme Court recently extended the right to marry to same-sex couples based on some degree of them being a protected class. Again; marriage isn’t explicitly granted in the Constitution.
            And, in any case, this is a matter of DC law; not federal law. 18+ is a protected class. Protected classes are defined broadly by category (i.e. gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc), not specific group within the category.
            Your comment makes no sense and you are dead wrong.

          • James W: based on your comments, I doubt you’re motivated to research anything you want to talk about, but consider this Wikipedia article a jumping off point:

          • Except that the Civil RIghts Act does not mention age anywhere. Saying you’re too young to come in my business is way way different than saying blacks aren’t allowed. There is a Federal statute covering age discrimination as it applies to EMPLOYMENT for those OVER THE AGE of 40.

            Can we just stop making stuff up and pretending like it’s the law please?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Re protection of age and other classes: yes, DC’s Human Rights Act covers age. Most state’s anti-discrimination laws do not cover age, but DC’s does.
            Also, quick reading reveals that privately-owned businesses that serve the public are public accommodations. Bars are generally public accommodations. There exist special kinds of private clubs that are exempt on those grounds, e.g., things like an Elks Lodge or whatever, but the Dew Drop Inn is no such thing and does not even attempt to represent themselves one.
            All of the above notwithstanding, there are lots of exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. Not admitting patrons under 21 into bars has been upheld on the basis of “business necessity.” Differential age cutoffs for men vs. women have been found illegal. This is neither, and is murkier, and in my opinion is legally dubious, but I suspect that Accountering is correct, that nobody will bother to challenge it.

          • I guess I’ll also note that my references to federal issues (including the Civil Rights Act) are mostly to illustrate how “public accommodations” are usually interpreted legally and also partially to spell out how uncomfortably close this kind of policy is to the policies the Civil Rights Act set out to prevent. Age is not race (although the correlates wrt wealth/status in that neighborhood, with a large public housing complex that’s mostly black and a large university that’s mostly white), but justifications for any blanket policy is likely to go look the same, and look really bad in my opinion.

        • You’re likely correct, but given that there appears to be a lot of ambiguity w.r.t DC law, someone may take this case to set a precedent.

  • Is this necessarily legal? I suppose if it’s legal to make a place 18+ or 21+, 24+ isn’t that far off, but those other ages have legal distinctions associated. Could a bar be 30+ only? 50+ only? Is there precedent for this sort of thing?

  • Given that age discrimination is illegal in DC, I don’t see how they can get away with this.

    I also completely understand why they want to keep Catholic University students away.

    • If patrons are being disruptive in some way, they can be asked to leave for their disruptive behavior. Having a blanket ban on an entire age group is a terrible way to address the problem. The reason discrimination of all kinds is illegal is because this exact logic was used to blanket ban all sorts of people who were considered statistically correlated with undesirable behavior.

    • I believe that it’s only illegal to discriminate against people over 40, except in employment, which is 18+. So, it’s fine to exclude the youngsters but not the old folks. Take that kids!

      • Nope – anyone over 18 is protected against age discrimination:

        Protected Traits in DC

        The DC Office of Human Rights enforces the DC Human Rights Act, which makes discrimination illegal based on 19 protected traits for people that live, visit or work in the District of Columbia. The DC Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and educational institutions.

        Protected Traits for Housing, Employment, Public Accommodations and Educational Institutions include:

        1. Race: classification or association based on a person’s ancestry or ethnicity
        2. Color: skin pigmentation or complexion
        3. Religion: a belief system which may or may not include spirituality
        4. National origin: the country or area where one’s ancestor’s are from
        5. Sex: a person’s gender; sex discrimination includes sex harassment, and discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, breastfeeding, and reproductive health decisions.
        6. Age: 18 years or older
        7. Marital status: married, single, in a domestic partnership, divorced, separated, and widowed
        8. Personal appearance: outward appearance, but is subject to business requirements or standards
        9. Sexual orientation: homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality
        10. Gender identity or expression: your gender-related identity, behavior, appearance, expression or behavior which is different from what you are assigned at birth
        11. Family responsibilities: supporting a person in a dependent relationship, which includes, but is not limited to, your children, grandchildren and parents.
        12. Political affiliation: belonging to or supporting a political party
        13. Disability: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; includes those with HIV/AIDS.

        • Got the protected traits list here:

        • What about 21+ bars? Is there an exception carved out for those? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen bars refuse entry to people under 21, but maybe I’m imagining it/thinking only of experiences outside the District? Or conflating it with people who didn’t have a valid ID who were blanket refused entry in case they were under 18?

          • ah

            There’s a business necessity exception, so at a minimum they would have that for 21+ when it’s illegal to drink under 21.

        • “The DC Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and educational institutions.”

          Is a bar a public accommodation? I thought that meant hotel?

          • According to wikipedia: In US law, public accommodations are generally defined as facilities, both public and private, used by the public. Examples include retail stores, rental establishments and service establishments as well as educational institutions, recreational facilities, and service centers.

          • It says right on the sign that it is a “private establishment” – meaning it does not constitute a public accommodation.

          • James W.: Just stop. You’re wrong. Dew Drop Inn is licensed several times over by the DC government (as a business, as an occupied commercial space, as an alcohol-serving establishment) and is, in fact, a public accommodation. This isn’t somebody’s house.

          • TimeBomb, what dog do you have in this hunt? The Civil Rights Act does not cover age. Federal age discrimination law only covers age as it applies to employment and only those over age 40. You now have several examples of legal instances of “age discrimination” aka people under a certain age being legally prohibited from conducting certain types of activities, yet you insist that what you believe is inherently what is the law. You’re casting way more heat than light here and it’s tiring.

          • James: Did you see the part where I said this is not a matter of federal law? Federal law does not protected people 18+ from discrimination; only 40+. DC law protects people 18+, as nevermindtheend has cited.
            You said people 21-23 are not a protected class, and you were a) wrong about the scope of how protected classes are defined, and b) wrong about DC law, which you don’t seem to recognize as distinct from federal law. People aged 21-23 are captured as a protected class by DC law (not federal law) by the 18+ category. Dew Drop Inn must adhere to DC law.
            Your examples of where this is acceptable don’t apply. This is a public accommodation (by all definitions of what that means that are legally relevant and not your intuition about how businesses should work in a libertarian utopia) in DC. Not a car insurance company. Not a bar in Wyoming or some other state with few state-level protections.
            The “dog” I have in this “hunt” is not wanting this kind of class-wide discrimination in my city/state. As a voting member of the public, their licensing comes indirectly from me and I have a right to voice disapproval. I’m also a customer, that can and will choose not to frequent this establishment because of this. What’s your “dog”?

        • so a bar that turns from 18+ to 21+ after a certain time of night is breaking the law? as well as clubs with dress codes

          • Well, dress code is probably covered under the “but is subject to business requirements or standards.”

            I’d imagine 21+ bars have also carved out an exception due to the legal drinking age and liability issues. Or it’s just not something 18-20 year olds have sued over, because they expect it?

          • “taste in clothing” is probably not a protected class. But age is.

        • HaileUnlikely

          “The DC Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and educational institution.” We definitely aren’t talking about housing, employment, or an educational institution here. What is the legal definition of “public accommodation.” Is a bar a public accommodation? (I’m thinking “no,” but I honestly do not know.)

          • This Memorandum discusses the definition of “public accomodation” and that it covers bars/nightclubs.

            The Memorandum also finds that different age restrictions by gender violate DC law, but age restrictions in general do not necessarily.


          • I believe the bar is a public accommodation. This is the same kind of wording (“public accommodation”) used in the civil rights act to ban racial segregation in restaurants.

          • from Wikipedia: “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States[5] that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.[6] It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as “public accommodations”).”

          • According to wikipedia: In US law, public accommodations are generally defined as facilities, both public and private, used by the public. Examples include retail stores, rental establishments and service establishments as well as educational institutions, recreational facilities, and service centers.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Anon – Thanks, that was helpful. I suspect that not admitting patrons under 21 is justified on the basis of a “business necessity” exemption. I’m not sure another cutoff could be similarly justified. Point well taken regarding differential age cutoffs for men vs. women.

          • Ultimately, it sounds like this will only be resolved by DC deciding to take action (which Dew Drop Inn will probably relent to, because it’s a ridiculous thing to go to court over) or because of a lawsuit against Dew Drop Inn by, I imagine, a group of CUA students (and maybe some younger Edgewood housing complex residents?) (again, people probably won’t bother because there isn’t a big political lobby trying to destroy this practice).
            So it’s on OHR/ABRA to decide to do something about this.

  • So you open a dive-ishy bar a couple blocks from a university and get pissed when student of drinking age show up on the weekend? Without Johnny Ks or Elis Island, where is a self-respecting CUA student to drink these days?

    • This sort of reminds me a cafe/bar where I grew up. They opened up a wannabe hip coffee spot that catered to adults with finer sensibilities in the evening. Of course the problem was that it was a wealthy suburban town and there were no 20/30 somethings looking to indulge in wine and whisky in a strip mall after 10:30. There were however lots of high school students no longer subject to curfew with cash to spend on fancy coffee and sweets and no where to go.

      Ultimately they decided to turn it in to a 21+ establishment in the evening, assuming it was the young’ns keeping people away. It closed six months later. Turned out the loud, but well of high school students were their business after all.

      Sort of amazing that no one has thought about the whole neighborhood population aspect before opening an establishment but alas hard to feel sorry for the bar here.

  • I used to frequent this bar and probably won’t unless they reverse this policy. I’m thoroughly grossed out by it.

  • Back in my day, it was very common for students not to be welcome at certain pubs/bars. Usually, there would be a “Locals Only” sign or something of that nature. Often times, the odd student who did wander in would be fine as long as they were traveling in a pack or acting stupid. Other wise the patrons were quite happy to do the chasing out. I don’t see this as being much different to that, just more public.

    • Except in this case, a 23-year-old “local” would be excluded from entry. The fact that this bar skews towards the white/gentrifier crowd may make that distinction irrelevant near-term, but that just makes it worse.

      • You’re right; I don’t agree with the age thing, and what I was trying to say is that I understand wanting to exclude students. There are just other ways of doing it. I’ve never been here, and I am absolutely positive that it is very different from the working class pubs that were “locals only” in my college town. It seems a little ironic that they are chasing out the kids who in a few years will be their target audience too.

        • Yeah, I find it hard to believe this would endear students to the bar and that they’ll be excited to go as soon as they’re old enough.

        • Not only are they chasing away their future target audience, but also a good segment of their current. I see parents with infants/toddlers here every time I go, which I assume won’t happen anymore with the new age restriction. Not sure this is a place people will be getting a babysitter to visit.

          I suppose they could just selectively enforce the new policy, but that would probably lose them any claim to a ‘business necessity’ exemption if they are challenged on a discrimination claim.

        • By the time the students are old enough, most of them will be gone. And obviously this doesn’t apply to children. Children don’t come on their own, the bar is currently 21+ or with a guardian over that age, and now it 24+ or with a guardian over that age.

          • Heh. As a native of the area, I frequently categorize people I meet (a biased sampling that probably overlaps heavily with Dew Drop Inn’s target demo) based on what originally brought them here. I’d say 30ish% came for college and stayed, which another 20ish coming for work immediately after college, which would make them slighted by this policy for a year or two as well.

    • Exactly. They’ve clearly decided they don’t want to be a “student bar” in a neighborhood near a school without raising the prices to the point where neighbors are priced out.

      They could do that via piecemeal ejection of anyone doing something remotely rowdy, or they could have a door person rejecting anyone who seems too rowdy in advance, both of which are less elegant than a blanket “no adults of the age where, in this neighborhood, a large cross-section act irresponsible act particularly irresponsible”. In a neighborhood quickly filling with young professionals, that could make plenty of sense. If the goal is to curate what kind of customer shows up, this might be the most fair thing if they don’t want to have their staff needing to regularly toss people (plus, that’s harder with a second-story bar anyway).

      • Yeah, I’m not sure why they need a blanket ban. A bouncer can, ya know, bounce people that they don’t want in their premises. Nightclubs and bars do this all over the world – they use discretion and curate their crowd. Just because it’s open to the public doesn’t mean they need to let every person over the age of 21 in the door.

        • It’s possible they have been doing this already, and it’s been an issue so they decided this was easier.

    • *weren’t traveling in a pack

  • Is it possible they are overreacting to CUA students being a little extra rowdy at the end of the school year leading up to graduation or has this been an issue for at least a couple of months? I have lived on 7th Street for 5 years now and the CUA kids party hard at the beginning of the 1st semester and really hard at the end of the school year.

    I have seen the age thing done before, I have seen it split by sex too e.g. men / women 24 / 21

  • Don’t car rental places also have an odd lower age restriction, like 24 or. 25 as well?

  • The reference to MADD is dumb. I’m sure most Catholic U students are driving home from Dew Drop Inn. That’s what uber is for!

  • I constantly see babies here. I guess that won’t happen anymore?

  • Has anyone considered that CUA itself had a active roll in this? It could be some kind of consent agreement between the bar and the University. Schools often get involved with this stuff to “protect” their students. Until recently there were very few bars in the area for CUA students. In the early 2000’s they all would go to Irish Times and another bar by the Capitol that’s name escapes me. The Union Station area was the CUA bar scene.

    I also agree, that the operators of this bar didn’t and don’t want it to be a college bar, they wanted it to be hipster bar. That said they are the closest cheap bar to CUA and could have foreseen this outcome. The only thing that keeps Brookeland Pint from being overrun by CUA students is the price point and there are still plenty of them in there whenever I go. Some people must have nice trust funds to afford 7.50 beers.

    I have actually been worried that the students would take a liking to the Right Proper Brew House across the tracks.

    • Is CUA being involved supposed to make it okay? CUA doesn’t want to their students going to the bar so they had the bar impose a restriction on all 23- people from visiting? If they really want to impose something like this, they’re going to need a database of students to check IDs against and only disallow CUA enrollees (which would be ridiculous, obviously).

    • Kelly’s Irish Times is the other bar that is/was popular among the CUA crowd.

  • I live nearby and have been meaning to try this place, but definitely will not be patronizing them unless they reverse this idiocy. The idea that a few years ago I would’ve been banned from a bar just because of a few obnoxious Catholic bros is just crazy.

    • It’s actually a cool “dive” bar. I stopped going due to all of the college kids taking over.

      • Is there an issue with hanging out with college kids? I do not get the disdain honestly.

        • llucas is 24 and soooo over the immature 23 year olds.

        • I was hanging out there in the beginning as well and as the drunk college kids starting visiting in greater numbers on weekends, it made the place pretty unbearable. Think Madhatter or Sign of the Whale on weekends. Just terrible. I personally support this but can see where it might be, at best, a legal grey area that would need litigation or abra intervention to be reverted. I will definitely check it out again with this policy in effect.

  • I was curious about why they directed people to the off campus services of CUA and after reading the below it is quite clear that is clearly directed at the students. It almost seems to be the owners saying to the students that they know about the Code of Conduct and y’all failed.

    II. Community Standards

    CUA students living off campus and/or visiting the surrounding neighborhoods have a
    responsibility to the local neighbors, the university and the District of Columbia to be mindful of their behavior and that of their guests and/or housemates, and its effects upon the community.

    Students are encouraged to take advantage of the positive and rewarding aspects of CUA while simultaneously practicing responsible citizenship and conducting themselves in a manner that is compatible with the expectations of them as adult citizens and members of the CUA community. Loud music, large parties, being disruptive when traveling to and from campus, littering, or not maintaining an off-campus property properly might seem trivial to students. However, what might seem inconsequential is very disruptive to neighbors and other community members. It is incumbent upon students to respect the standards of the extended community.

    When living in or visiting the local neighborhoods, students represent the university to people who form an impression of CUA based on the students’ behavior. Understanding who the neighbors are (e.g. professionals, retirees, families with young children, and/or long-term residents of the community) might help students recognize how their behavior(s) may be perceived and the positive (or negative) impact they can have on community members’ impression of CUA students. Each year the neighbors must adjust to a new group of students living in the neighborhood with them; the negative actions of just one group of students can have a lasting impact on the community as a whole.

    III. Student Responsibility and University Response

    Expectations of CUA students do not change once they leave the physical boundaries of the campus. Even when off campus, students can be held accountable for their actions – the Code of Student Conduct applies to all students, whether they are on or off campus. Student behavior shall be consistent with the published Code of Student Conduct, laws and regulations, and “Expectations of a CUA Student.”

  • There was an ABRA sting Friday night timed to CUA graduation that involved the use of a fake ID. The policy is temporary to prevent any further potential ABRA trouble the next night.

    • Why would this help if that’s true? Do fake IDs rarely exceed 24 years of age? I don’t think this would happen because this bar isn’t that great at all and nobody would bother, but, if anything, a higher cutoff would mean more fakes (because those aged 21-23 will also need fakes).
      Again, no self-respecting 21+ person would do that because this bar isn’t that great and there are many options.
      I have no idea what percentage of fake IDs show ages 21-23 and what percentage are 24+, but just based on the fact that people carry fakes for multiple years (and they presumably already worked when they started carrying them), I bet the majority show ages over 23.

      • But if you are in college, some of the people you’d hang out with on weekends are over 21, some are under. So those under would get fake ids to come here with the group. Now if all of you need fake id’s (to show you’re all over 24), it becomes a bigger hassle and you’d just go somewhere else.

  • This rubs me the wrong way. If it had been done without the snarky sign or had just straight-up banned CUA students, then maybe I’d think better of it. It’s hard to say without hearing from the bar or the unruly patrons.

    I graduated many years ago from a local university next to a bunch of bars. I worked the door at the bar nearest the university. We had an ID scanner to spot fakes, but I guess there was nothing to keep you from using your older twin brother’s ID. Ownership made it very clear to the door staff that WE PERSONALLY would be held accountable for any issues with underage or overserved patrons. So we allowed no funny business. Not once did that bar have to resort to blanket bans. Students got plenty drunk there. But problems were dealt with as they occurred. Does this bar have properly trained door staff?

    I’ve never been a fan of “some of you are bad, so all of you are banned.” There’s gotta be a better way. Is there any other bar in town that bans anyone under 24?

    • How does one have an older twin? Any way, smartass comments aside.
      When I was in HS there was a 7-11 type store and a taco ball in a strip mall around the corner from my school. Students were banned (full stop) from the taco bell on weekdays; and banned from bringing backpacks/purses into the 7-11 (all times). (This was 1996, so the most expensive electronics one could be carrying was like, a fancy CD player or a graphing calculator, depending on degree of nerdiness.) You’d see a row of backpacks outside after school, and my friends and I all swore we’d never patronize such places even when we were of age. 20 years later, and I just sent an email to several friends saying “We should all hit up Dew Drop this weekend to show support!”
      I think it’s a little …interesting … how people on this site hate on the roving bands of teenagers in this city, but not the roving bands of college students.

      • I suspect it’s because the roving bands of college students are less likely to hassle or threaten them (not to mention rob them or injure them).

        • i dunno, my experience with roving bands of teens is that they just want to get a rise out of people, and very few are causing actual injury (just like in the grand scheme of all college students in the US/DC/etc, very few are setting out to rape fellow students – but it happens, and it’s big news when it does. I ignore the teens bumming around in my neighborhood, and they shout an insult, and I ignore them some more, and they move on). I think don’t think roving bands of college students are setting out to maliciously hurt businesses, but I’m also a graduate of GW (came for 4 years, stayed for another 16 and counting!) and drunk dumbasses can inflict a hell of a lot of property in their wake.

  • I didn’t read through all the comments, so this may be redundant, but age discrimination has to do with employers discriminating against employees- not businesses discriminating against its customers. Also, generally, other types of discrimination are illegal if the state/federal government is the discriminating party, not a private entity (think the business who refuse to do business with gay people or businesses that pay women less than their male counterparts.)

    Also, a personal anecdote, when I was in college there were bars that were 18+ for all, 19+ for females and 21+ for males, and then of course 21+ for all– all next door to each other. Each bar had its own vibe, draw and crowd.

    Just some thoughts.

    • This has been covered many times over. You are talking about federal law. DC has broader laws covering 18+ rather than just 40+ and including that class in laws about “public accommodation”, which this bar clearly qualifies. It is unclear whether DC would choose to act against this place and unlikely anyone would file a civil suit, so we may never know if this is legal or not without a court adjudicating it.
      People are conflating federal law with DC law, constitutional law with statutory law, and what they think is okay with what may/may not be legal, and it’s all pretty dumb. I would recommend continuing to not read the comments.

  • Ehh, who cares if some bar doesn’t let 22-year-olds in? I mean, maybe it’s illegal (though that seems unclear at best from the above discussion) but if so it’s a stupid law. I disagree this is some sort of slippery slope or some sort of human rights violation. Every human being is welcome in this establishment… once they’re 24. An age floor is completely different than banning people by race or religion. People don’t become different races over time.

    • I’m uncomfortable with the age restrictions because the justifications look uncomfortably close to the kind of things people would say to justify race/religion bans (“it’s private property”, “those people are more likely to cause trouble”, “they don’t match the vibe they want to create”). If this is specifically meant to target CUA students because of something related to CUA’s policies/demands, then I think a blanket age floor is unnecessarily broad and at least a little tonedeaf, given that there are people in the neighborhood that didn’t come for a nationally-renowned university and those people largely contrast with CUA students and Dew Drop Inn’s target demographic in ways that are protected.
      DC’s law does appear to be a little ambiguous on this issue, and I would like it to be illegal. I’m not a fan of strict age floors for many normally age-restricted activities (like drinking and driving, frankly), but accept them as a fact of life and not something DC can easily address within its borders. But if DC doesn’t choose to act against this, I’m not going to make it my life’s work to make it. I just probably won’t go to the bar ever again.
      All that said, I totally agree that age floors for a bar are different than race/religion discrimination (we already put age on IDs, so one of the worst parts of that kind of discrimination, that it leaves too much up to people’s imagination, is resolved) and that if we did resolve the ambiguity in DC’s laws such that age floors were fine, I’d accept it and not get too heated about slippery slopes.

  • I have no idea what happened, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the place was getting overwhelmed on certain nights and the age restriction is the only feasible way of keeping things under control. I also wonder if there was an issue with non-CUA kids taking the space over at times. Folks who have been in the neighborhood a while may remember what happened to places like the Cardinal’s Nest and The Library.

    I live in the neighborhood and have been to DDI a couple of times; it’s a great little bar. While I can imagine some of the older CUA undergrads of legal age may be frustrated about being kept out, there are plenty of other places in the neighborhood to drink.

  • Sorry, not reading through all the back and forth from kids who are 2L’s flexing their legal education muscle.


    the human rights act (DC law, not federal), defines “public accommodation” as follows:
    “Place of public accommodation” means all places included in the meaning of such terms as
    inns, taverns, road houses….

    Inns, Taverns, Road Houses are all other names for the same thing: BARS. IMO, this definition would not even be litigated in length in front of a judge. Public Accommodation includes bars. CASE CLOSED.

    hopefully that puts to rest all the back and forth.

    • Bars are already allowed to discriminate based on age (21+). Does the law allow that discrimination but proscribe it for 21-24 year olds? If so, please cite.

      • I would say no, but there is nothing in the DC case law that says otherwise. That, not the definition of public accommodation, is the proper way to phrase the question.

        however, § 2-1402.31 states the following:
        (a) General. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the following
        acts, wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based on the actual or perceived:
        race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance,
        sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family
        responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, political affiliation,
        source of income, or place of residence or business of any individual:
        (1) To deny, directly or indirectly, any person the full and equal enjoyment of the
        goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any
        place of public accommodations

        considering, as you mentioned, that bars are legally allowed to discriminate if the patron is under 21, sub-section 1 would imply that bars are not legally allowed to discriminate based on age so long as the patron is over the legal drinking age (as well as barring any other circumstances which may hinder their ability to be served, ie, the patron is already intoxicated, etc).

    • Clarifies the point about public accommodation, not so much whether the 18+ protections in DC law cover this kind of policy. Conclusion reached by everyone above is that it probably would, but not without legal action being taken. Fancy DC-barred lawyer, is there any case law that would shine some light on that?

    • HaileUnlikely

      Everybody here except that James guy stipulated that about a hundred posts ago. I don’t think that puts the issue to bed, though. I am aware of no serious legal challenges to turning away patrons under age 21, even though lots of establishments that serve food in addition to alcohol allow people of all ages to enter. Dress codes seem to go basically unchallenged even though their rationale with respect to patrons is much less compelling than it is with respect to employees. Whether a public accommodation can set some other age floor besides 21 is an interesting question whose answer I don’t think is altogether clear.

      • I think standing is a more interesting question if a law suit is the final destination.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I don’t really care about the procedural stuff nor the existence nor disposition of any case that may or may not come out of this – I seriously wonder, though, whether the intent of DC’s Human Rights Act would allow for a business to have an arbitrary age floor other than 21.

        • Given how trivial (and politically uninteresting) the topic, I doubt anyone is going to go to court over this issue. Seems like DC OHR or ABRA could write them a letter saying it’s illegal and threaten a fine, which seems justified given the legal texts we’ve all acknowledged, and Dew Drop Inn would relent. I don’t think Dew Drop Inn would call their bluff and fight it in court, but I don’t know the owners or exactly why they want the ban in the first place, so who knows.
          I think a civil suit by would-be patrons is significantly less likely. But as someone said, a kid might have a bored litigious parent, or be a bored and litigious trust fund brat themselves. Who knows.

    • § 2-1401.03. Exceptions. (a) Any practice which has a discriminatory effect and which would otherwise be
      prohibited by this chapter shall not be deemed unlawful if it can be established that such practice is not intentionally devised or operated to contravene the prohibitions of this chapter and can be justified by business necessity. Under this chapter, a “business necessity” exception is applicable only in each individual case where it can be proved by a respondent that, without such exception, such business cannot be
      conducted; a “business necessity” exception cannot be justified by the facts of increased cost to business, business efficiency, the comparative characteristics of one group as opposed to another, the stereotyped
      characterization of one group as opposed to another, and the preferences of co-workers, employers, customers or any other person.

  • This seems unnecessarily stupid on the bar’s part. They open near a college campus and don’t want college students? It’s like those small rusty college towns that triple their population when college is in session, but all the locals hate the college and the students. Doesn’t make sense, sorry.

  • not going to lie, I’m pretty excited by this. I’ve been there on nights that college kids show up, pound a few drinks to getting immensely drunk and rowdy. I’ve had a very clearly newly “out” boy very drunkenly hit on and try to undress my friends boyfriend, in front of the whole patio. The staff there isn’t too keen on kids getting wasted and puking in the like ONE bathroom, and us local patrons aren’t either.

    stay home with your red solo cups, kiddos.

  • Awesome. I support this 1000000.00%. Loved going to Dew Drop when they first opened. Then went on a weekend when school was back in session and… good god.

  • I was there yesterday (Sunday) and we saw the sign but were annoyed the bar was full of little children. The wait staff were super nice but we definitely wondered about the sign.

  • Everyone gets so fed up with Catholic U students it seems..? You guys live in a college neighborhood surrounded by college kids. Correct me if I’m wrong but the new growth and revamping of the Brookland neighborhood to what it is today is due to that of the revenue brought in by the university’s students.

  • this spot is probably fed up with dealing with the headache these college kids bring. do any of you defending the college kids even work in the industry to know what dealing with them EVERY weekend is like? find another bar to go drink and get over it.

    • Have you ever been barred, explicitly in signage, from entry because other people that share characteristics with you are seen as uncivilized? Were your grandparents?
      Age discrimination of these kids is not the worst possible crime, but the language forbidding it in the DC Human Rights Act is completely on point, and there are no exemptions carved for people under 30 and bars, and it seems silly to put something so specific in. So maybe people who’s profession it is to serve drinks to people who drink should learn to tolerate their job or find another one, like basically everyone has to do.

  • Timebomb – Get a life and stop pretending this is your Norma Rae civil rights moment. First, this bar is awesome. Second, if they want to avoid the $10,000 fine for serving someone underage with a fake ID (which any idiot would know would read as 21-24), that is extenuating business circumstances that warrant an age ban.

    You’re not planning on going back to this bar? Good. That single-handedly makes this ban worthwhile.

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