As Mason Dixon Closes, Increased Vigilance for Underage Boozers on LES

Photo: Lauren Klain Carton

“This is one of the little things we have to do now,” said a doorman at Max Fish, which reopened Friday night, one week after it was shuttered for underage drinking and operating after hours. The doorman, who requested anonymity, had just finished electronically scanning the I.D.’s of several young customers and then stamping their wrists. Owner Ulli Rimkus also had to hire one more security guard to get back in business, bringing the total number of her bouncers up to four, said the doorman, who was plainly steamed. “They seem to have different standards for different places,” he said of the 7th Precinct’s cabaret unit. “This isn’t a bad place, but they treat it like it is. We’ve been here 21 years.”

Nearby at Pianos, general manager Carlo Schiano told us the “ultimate responsibly” for underage drinkers lies with the bartenders — “they’re the gate keepers to alcohol. They control the sales and they’re ones who get the ticket.” But he says it’s hard to keep out young people with fake I.D.’s: “There are people who come in with fake I.D.’s that are really garbage,” Schiano told us. “But some are at a high level and look pretty good. You can do amazing things with Photoshop and computers nowadays. But I think the bigger problem is with people who have real I.D.’s from other people — a sister or a brother … a relative, someone you’re three years younger than. Probably by the time you’re 20, you’ll look close to the way they looked at 21 … That’s going to be a very difficult situation. There some I.D.’s that can fool almost anyone,” he went on. “So you do the best you can.”

Meanwhile, a former manager of Mason Dixon tells Runnin’ Scared that “we had to close down for good because we were losing so much money on extra security, tickets, lost revenue, fines, court fees, lawyers.” Owner Rob Shamlian confirms to Eater that last month’s NYPD shutdown was a factor, but says the bar’s closure is mainly because “it’s being sold and I didn’t want to jeopardize the license.”

As Mason Dixon Closes, Increased Vigilance for Underage Boozers on LES