Nov. 22, 2013 at 8:48 AM ET
Banning the under-12 or under-18 set is nothing new for bars and restaurants, but now one establishment in Brooklyn, N.Y., is making waves for shooing away those under 25.
Phil’s Crummy Corner was racking up complaint after complaint from neighbors about noise, rowdy crowds and drunken antics, so owner Phil Marcano decided to put a sign in his window stating that those under 25 wouldn’t be admitted on weekends.
“You will be shocked about the number of conversations you can hear from my bed,” one resident complained at a town meeting about the bar before the age restriction, according to DNAInfo.com. “They're animals. Friday and Saturday night, it’s like animal town.”
Marcano is quick to point out that he’s not trying to “raise the drinking age” and that well-behaving regulars of legal age are still welcome to come buy a drink—it’s the troublemakers he’s trying to keep out.
“Ever since we put that sign up, [the troublemakers] haven’t been here no more,” he told TODAY.com. “I’m trying to make it better for the block. I’m tired of being the bad bar.”
Lots of clubs in the city informally keep out under-25ers—they just don’t announce it, he points out. But the sign gives the bouncer a leg to stand on.
Former doorman–turned–bar owner Johnny Barounis agrees: “You can stop 98 percent of the problems at the door,” he said. That’s why he initiated a 25-and-older policy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights when he opened his first lounge, The Auction House, on New York City’s Upper East Side 20 years ago this week.
The policy was a huge success and still stands today, he said.
“At the time, bars there felt like the fifth year of college—kids would graduate and move to the area—and I didn’t want to be part of that,” he said. “I wanted to set the tone of what the crowd is and what demographic we’re going after.”
Of course, not every bar owner can afford to turn away young partiers, notes Barounis, who says he went into it with a solid mailing list, phone list and celebrity clientele. “If I had a 22,000-square-foot night club in Chelsea, I’d have to let the 22-year-olds in. It’s almost like an event space, you can’t afford not to pack it in.”
And don’t be mistaken—over 25 does not equal lame, he says, it just keeps the place from feeling like a giant Abercrombie with a liquor license (baseball caps are also forbidden at his intimate lounge). “People are still out to party. It’s still a good vibe and energy, but just a little more mature. A 27-year-old has just as much energy as a 22-year-old.”