Don't get booted from the bar!
December 6th, 2013
07:00 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

As some of us know from first-hand experience, it’s not hard to get into trouble at a bar. In some states, it’s surprisingly easy to go one step further and break the law. In Indiana, for instance, apparently it is illegal to carry a cocktail from the bar to a table; only the server is allowed to do that. Likewise, in Hawaii, you can legally order only one drink at a time. Your friends have to buy their own, and any minors who were hoping you’d get them a cocktail have to go to Plan B.
And now, some bars are imposing their own sets of rules, from no suits to 25 or older to drink.

Phil’s Crummy Corner - Brooklyn, New York
After neighbors complained about noise levels - the bar is known for loud late-night parties on Fridays and Saturdays - Phil’s Crummy Corner’s management raised the drinking age to 25 after 10 p.m. on weekends.

In the past year, complaint calls to 311 have reported loud music and talking. Said one local resident, “You will be shocked about the conversations you can hear from my bed. They’re animals. Friday and Saturday night, it’s like animal town.”

Thomas Foolery - Washington, DC
Among the “rules” at this ’80s-themed DC restaurant: During the daily 5 to 7 p.m. Angry Hour, if you order a drink in your best "angry" voice, you get $1 off. There is no confirmed price for Smirnoff Ice: Play Plinko, and the drink is whatever price you hit.

If you are dressed like Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do a decent Running Man, you get 10 percent off. If you play hopscotch and buy something for 30 days in a row, you can pick a beer for the menu and get menu credit.

Hop Sing Laundromat - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
First you ring the doorbell at this unmarked Chinatown speakeasy. Then you have to answer a series of questions. Assuming all goes well, you’ll hang out in a waiting room while you listen to the house rules. According to CBS, those rules include no cell phone conversations and no photos; break the rules, and you’ll be escorted out.

Yelper Steve T. reports that a bouncer let him know that wearing a paper bag on one’s head is also not allowed.

Green Russell - Denver, Colorado
This “chef-driven cocktail bar” only allows cell phone use in a designated phone booth. The place posts a list of house rules at the entrance, some on the straightforward side, like “No Standing” and “If you need to use your cell phone, enjoy the privacy of our telephone booth.”

Other rules are more behavioral suggestions: “Be kind and dress smartly” and “Please be patient. Your cocktail is being made with loving hands and quality ingredients.”

Lounge Bohemia - London
, England
At this speakeasy-style underground bar in the Shoreditch neighborhood, there is a strict dress code: no suits. (Also no standing; it’s a reservations-only spot.) Fans love it for its low-key, quiet atmosphere.

Said London blogger Drisk, in Time Out: “A while back now I became obsessed with finding the perfect bar to be able to have a proper conversation with friends.... Lounge Bohemia has all of the perks of a private members’ bar without actually being one. It doesn’t come with entry criteria or even a hint of snootiness from patrons or staff, all you do need to do is book ahead and what you get is great drinks in a comfortable bar while you relax and talk (not shout) to friends.”

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© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Bars • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Restaurants • Sip

soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Skeptic

    The only bar rule I know is "A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2".

    December 9, 2013 at 12:00 am |
  2. Robert Platt Bell

    This whole thing reminds me of that Ron White bit.....

    December 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  3. EEK! Someone is speaking on a cell phone!

    Luddites are SO last year.

    December 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Roebrt Platt Bell

      No, actually they are hollaring on their cell phone, and it is a technical issue with many phones – lack of Side Tone (google it) which makes the phone sound "dead" so many people shout into them. Add in a noisy bar, and you have people screaming into cell phones and it is unpleasant for everyone else.

      The phone booth is a great idea. If you want to go out with friends, go out with friends. If you want to stay home and talk on a cell phone, do that.

      It's called manners.

      December 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Thinking things through

        Exactly!!! And if you really do have to make or take a phone call, take it outside.

        December 9, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  4. Honest Citizen

    Its amazing just how loud people talk in public places. Im nearly deaf and without my aids I can still hear people sharing their personal thoughts from two tables away. And they wonder how people know so much about their intamate lives!

    December 8, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • rob0rah

      Just the boos talking.

      December 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Roebrt Platt Bell

      Another technical issue, really. Most bars have horrific acoustics. Chain restaurants – the kinds with concrete walls and exposed ceilings are the worst. We were in one the other day and could barely hear ourselves think.

      I believe some restauranteurs like this, as a "noisy bar" sounds like people are having fun and it is popular and all. But sometimes, noise can be painful and no fun at all, when you have to shout to be heard by the person next to you.

      Some sound-absorbing materials could make a world of difference, but that costs money – and a quiet bar might not seem as "interesting" to the plebes.

      December 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
  5. Edwin

    Is it actually legal to discriminate in the basis of age? I thought restaurants and bars had to legally serve everyone, unless they caused a disturbance of some sort. Denying drinks to customers solely on their age (assuming they are above the age of 21) sounds illegal.

    December 8, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Pat

      Bars have the right not to serve anyone. You know, like when you are so drunk you and your 21 year old friends can't keep your voices down and you think everyone wants to know you just did a shot of kettle one.

      December 8, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • If you think that 21-24 year olds have the monopoly on speaking loudly

        If you think that 21-24 year olds have the monopoly on speaking loudly, you haven't been around any drunk 28 year old vapid, clueless, flighty Sex-in-the-City types.

        December 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
      • KHS

        Do they have the right not to serve racial minorities? I don't think so.

        December 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  6. jamvee1941

    The biggest problem with bars or restaurants, at least to me, is the noise level. Now days, it's very hard to carry on any sort of real conversation in most of them. You have to nearly shout, which, of course worsens the problem!

    December 8, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • duffin

      then don't go to a crowded bar or a bar with a band if you're looking for serious conversation. ha ha

      December 8, 2013 at 9:42 am |
      • George Miron

        There's almost no choice as most restaurants and shops have been cranking out the volume levels of their Moozak as the youngish managers who have become totally desensitized to this due to their listening habits are becoming more and more deaf...

        December 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • rob0rah

          One time I was in a very busy Hard Rock restaurant with my girlfriend for lunch. She had enuf and demanded the Mgr turn down the volume.........they did. Its one of my favorite stories!

          December 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Roebrt Platt Bell

      A lot of these places have exposed brick walls and exposed industrial ceilings, which looks all high-tech, but reflects every single sound. Bad acoustics is the problem – it amplifies crowd noise.

      The nice quiet lounge from my parent's generation is very hard to find these days.

      December 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  7. Peter

    If you look near the top of the page, just below the picture, you will see that this article was posted 12/6/13.

    At the bottom of the article, you may notice a line that reads, "© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved."

    Since when are reruns acceptable for a news company?

    December 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • dbarak

      Ah, Grasshopper, there is your error – CNN is not news company. CNN in entertainment business. Think Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan. Newsroom has no chairs, only casting couch.

      December 8, 2013 at 1:02 am |
    • peter

      thomas foolery didnt exist until a few months ago. impossible its a republishing.

      December 8, 2013 at 1:03 am |
  8. Still in luv with SF

    Three words – Persian Zam Zam

    December 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Still in luv with SF

      When Bruno owned and ran the place (80' – 90's) – it's a crap hole now, sadly

      December 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  9. Scott

    In reference to IN and HI, as some posted, I have a feeling those may be local laws, not state laws. Most states I have been in/through are all at the local level

    December 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Shawn

      I'm confused. They won't let you in if you're hi?


      December 8, 2013 at 5:07 am |
  10. BobInIrvine

    "In Florida it is illegal to throw dwarfs in an establishment that serves alcohol. Absolutely true."

    It's no coincidence this is in a state with the last syllable pronounced "duh!"

    December 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • Shawn

      I've heard that too. However I've also heard it is legal to use them as birdies. Fortunately, few Floridians have ever heard of badminton. God bless all midget birdies.

      December 8, 2013 at 5:17 am |
    • Dameglet

      But I can still throw them in the Burger King, right?

      December 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Roebrt Platt Bell

      Time out for a history lesson. Back in the 1980's they had a "bartenders decathlon" and it was even on television. One of the "events" was throwing someone out of a bar. Since most bartenders can't pick up and throw a 200-lb man, they used dwarves or midgets who wore a harness for this "event". Dwarf-tossing enjoyed a modest heyday after that – just as mechanical bulls did. A lot of people thought it was unseemly, so no doubt Florida outlawed it.

      I am guessing this was before you were born. I think cocaine was involved. It was a crazy time.

      December 8, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  11. rxlawdude

    "In Florida it is illegal to throw dwarfs in an establishment that serves alcohol. Absolutely true."

    Not surprising for a state with the last syllable sounded as "DUH!"

    December 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  12. Jim

    In Florida it is illegal to throw dwarfs in an establishment that serves alcohol. Absolutely true.

    December 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Roebrt Platt Bell

      Google "Dwarf Tossing" on Wikipedia. It was a "bar sport" back when I was your age.


      December 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
      • Roebrt Platt Bell

        Truth is stranger than fiction:

        Dwarf tossing is a bar attraction in which dwarfs wearing special padded clothing or Velcro costumes are thrown onto mattresses or at Velcro-coated walls.[1] Participants compete to throw the dwarf the farthest. A related activity was dwarf bowling where the little person was placed on a skateboard and used as a bowling ball.[2]

        Robert and Angela Van Etten, Florida members of the Little People of America, convinced the state's legislators in 1989 that dwarf tossing be made illegal. A measure banning dwarf tossing was passed with a wide margin.[10] New York later followed suit.[11][12]

        A lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court by Dave Flood, who appears on the MJ Morning Show as "Dave the Dwarf," names Governor Jeb Bush and the head of the state agency that enforces the 1989 law allowing the state to fine or revoke the liquor license of a bar that allows dwarf tossing. The sport was popular in some Florida bars in the late 1980s.[13]

        In October 2011, Ritch Workman introduced legislation that would overturn the ban on dwarf tossing, claiming such a ban to be an "unnecessary burden on the freedom and liberties of people" and "an example of Big Brother government". Although not a personal advocate of the activity, Workman stated "if a little person wants to make a fool out of themselves for money, they should have the same right to do so as any average sized person".[14]

        December 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm |

    Any Idiot that would allow themselves be subjected to humiliation and derision,just to be seen in a "Velvet Rope"Cool place deserves what they get!

    December 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  14. Buzzer

    The Green Russell makes it pretty clear that they don't want your business. I have been there three times, and their wait/reservation policy is enraging. They will make you wait 30 minutes, just to make you wait, reservation or not. And if you don't have a reservation, even if the bar is empty, forget it. Unless you're a pro sports'll get in just fine. The quality of the cocktails is outstanding, and the food is very good, I'll give them that. One time, we waited over 45 minutes at about 5:00 on a Thursday, then walked into a bar with maybe 8 seats taken out of 100 or so. Of course, we expected it to fill up with reservations, but we sat there for three hours and it never got more than 20 people.

    You can go to Williams and Graham, get the same quality, same vibe, and not the aggravation of feeling like you're a burden on the staff.

    December 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  15. roblindman

    Indiana - "apparently it is illegal to carry a cocktail from the bar to a table" - seriously, f off!

    December 7, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • Living without frivilous rules

      Can't buy your friends a drink in Hawaii – seriously, f off!

      December 7, 2013 at 8:39 am |
      • Hawaii Bartender

        In Hawaii you CAN buy drinks for your friends, hey you can buy a round for the bar! But you can only buy TWO drinks per person at a time i.e. a beer and a shot is totally legal.

        December 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Erik

      I live in Indiana and have carried drinks from the bar to a table on numerous occassions in plenty of places. I call shenanigans.

      December 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Scott

        In reference to IN and HI, as some posted, I have a feeling those may be local laws, not state laws. Most states I have been in/through are all at the local level.

        December 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
      • KHS

        Then you re lucky you are not in jail!

        December 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  16. term limits

    Message to clubs that play faux, remedial rock! Journey, kansas, styx, acdc, rush, and all things pedestrian metal. You need too edify your brain.

    December 6, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • FooSilly

      Dude you watch this and tell me it's remedial!

      December 7, 2013 at 12:42 am |
      • Jon

        Thanks Foo! Needed a good music break! Angus has always been a madman, one of the best.

        December 7, 2013 at 1:51 am |
        • Robert

          That's not Angus, that's Bon Scott, the original lead singer.

          December 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • dbarak

        How has Angus avoided concussions and whiplash after all these years? I could watch that guy bounce around through the whole song.

        December 8, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Jejune comment.

      December 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  17. abbydelabbey

    So glad I do not waste my money or time in such establishments.

    December 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • psx2rulz

      and you must be at taco bell, according to thine name

      December 7, 2013 at 12:49 am |
      • TxStoney

        Not that taco dubm ass

        December 7, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Partisanhackshatefacts

      lol...can't get in; huh?

      December 7, 2013 at 7:28 am |
      • Living without frivilous rules

        You have been hanging out with too many partisan hacks. You are starting to reason like them.

        December 7, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  18. Truth™

    "In the past year, complaint calls to 311 have reported loud music and talking. Said one local resident, “You will be shocked about the conversations you can hear from my bed. They’re animals. Friday and Saturday night, it’s like animal town.”

    Ok, that description on its own warrants a visit...

    December 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • donald

      i would love to go there.

      December 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
      • The Flamingo Kid

        Because you're a loser.

        December 7, 2013 at 1:29 am |
        • Dameglet

          Pot calling the kettle black? LOL

          December 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • guest

      Tape those conversations and put them on you-tube, that will eventually quiet the conversations down.

      December 6, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  19. svscnn

    Dammit. Can't get those two minutes of my life back.

    You owe me two minutes CNN.

    December 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • ∞ Weeds ∞

      Put the lime in the coconut and call them back in the morning...

      December 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • ∞ Weeds ∞

        December 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

          I love lime. I'll cut wedges just to eat them

          December 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  20. NorCalMojo

    Some of my best memories involved getting kicked out of bars.

    December 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Kathleen

      Amen. I will forever cherish the time we got kicked out of Schultz's Beer Garden in Austin.

      December 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • Lee Crowell

        The name of the place is Sholtz's Beer Garden. It's one of my favorite places here in my hometown.

        December 7, 2013 at 2:47 am |
        • SpellingBeeChamp

          Actually it is Scholtz's, but I knew what he was saying. When you correct someone you should be correct, don't you think?

          December 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • Toddnews

        What does a girl have to do to get kicked out of a beer garden? I wanna party with Kathleen! :-)

        January 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
  21. palintwit

    I encourage tea party patriots to eat at Chick-fil-A as often as possible. Also to order extra lard, gravy, and butter then to wash it down with Everclear out of a mason jar. Because we cannot be a great nation without a healthy tea party population.

    December 6, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      there we go! where ya been?

      December 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • ∞ Weeds ∞

        Must be coming out of their drunken stupor. Yeehaw, now we got all weekend to party!

        December 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • Ryan Texan

        Let's be honest: some people simply fear any limits on Gov't.
        So they hate anyone who actually wants the US Constitution obeyed.
        It's always ironic that those who most like regulations, sure do hate anyone who wants Gov't regulated.

        December 7, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Ruby

          What the hell are you talking about? Sounds like you need to calm down a bit, have another drink.

          December 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
      • palintwit

        Oh, I've been around. Attending lots of fundraisers for Sarah Palin. (Not)

        December 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • bs

      What a sad little child...

      December 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • april

        The comment obviously upset you. Head on down to Chick Fil A.....or McDonalds (even better) a bunch of food, cheer yourself up!

        December 7, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • ∞ Weeds ∞

          what a positive spin.
          I just love positive people.

          December 7, 2013 at 1:19 am |
  22. MMeans

    But, but, but, without phones people will have to ***GASP*** have interesting, face to face conversations???!! AAAAAHHHH!!! I'd give anything for a bar where standing is not allowed an cell phone users have to go outside.

    December 6, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • blusky1

      There may have been a time where such a policy made sense but I believe it has passed. We've all been subjected to the obnoxious boor who thought everybody in the room needed to hear his irrelevant conversation but it's been a long time since I've encountered anyone like that. These days I see people using their phones to browse online, check email and text. I can tell you honestly that any restaurant/bar that tells me I can't do any of that sitting at my table is not going to be somewhere I would go.

      December 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  23. Truth™

    Who is Carlton?
    And by Running Man, is that a reference to the 1986 Schwarzenegger movie which predicted the popularity of reality TV?

    December 6, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Joe

      You know who Carlton is. I am so sick and tired when people post a comment claiming to
      have no knowledge of something or someone that is obvious. Tool.

      December 6, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      • JBJingles@Joe Schmo

        I don't know who Carlton is either, never watched the Prince of Bel Air or whatever it's called...

        December 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      December 6, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • Truth™@Kat

        Ok, that explains a lot. Grad school was right at that time, and I was only barely aware that an invention called "television" even existed...

        December 6, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫ @ Truth

      The Running Man is a corny dance move:

      December 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        Uncle P, if you were so deep as to not know The Carlton or even the Running Man I hope you make a fist full of dollars, These are cultural icons these days.

        December 7, 2013 at 8:35 am |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants

          Get your face out of a effing textbook. Look around. And not the plane to Asia.

          December 7, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  24. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Thomas Foolery sounds like a freakin' awesome place.

    December 6, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Danzer

      Totally! Mandatory stop next time I come through DC. Why aren't there more bars that sound this fun?

      December 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  25. The Witty One@Sir B

    So when are we hitting up Thomas Foolery?!?!

    December 6, 2013 at 10:15 am |
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