I like beer.Â I’ve called myself a beer snob because I tend to drink what many people would call “fancy” beer. (In my fridge right now is some Leffe Blonde [A Belgian ale] and Harp [a lager brewed by Guinness]) I like wine, but I’m not quite as snobby about that. Give me some Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio and I’m happy. A mixed drink here and there is okay, but I tend to go for beer.
Alcohol in large quantities can make very bad, stupid things happen. People drive drunk, they sleep with their best friend’s wife, they get really mad and beat up their kid. No one denies that there are many people in this country that are better off sober. But what I don’t understand is the strange attitude toward alcohol in North Dakota.
People embrace smoking here as a personal choice and therefore don’t want to ban it in bars. One cigarette takes time off your life, one beer or one glass of wine has proven health benefits.
I just don’t get why this state is so guarded about alcohol. The current bill in the Legislature would finally allow minors to consumeÂ food in an establishment that is first a bar, then a restaurant.Â When I was in college, before turning 21,Â a friend and I wanted to go to Bonzer’s Sandwich Pub in Grand Forks for lunch.Â This was the middle of the afternoon, not exactly like we were trying to sneak in a drink, and we were kicked out because of this stupid law.Â And I’m sorry but if a business is a “sandwich pub” my though is that they primarily sell sandwiches. And quite frankly it was a bit embarrassing because we’re from Minnesota, which doesn’t have such crazy laws, so we didn’t know that would happen. It wasn’t like we were trying to pull a fast one on the bar staff, we just wanted some soup and sandwiches. If you want to eat, then eat, if you try to order a drink, get out of our restaurant.
Anyway, opponents to this law say it’s going to be a law enforcement nightmare.Â Why? Someone orders a drink, wait staff asks for ID, if they don’t have it or they’re not 21 they don’t get the drink.Â I’m not getting how this is hard and why it will be trouble for cops. Actually, this saves money for bars.Â They can get rid of the bouncer up front and give the wait staff one more duty that wait staff at regular restaurants have to do anyway.
I was always the youngest in whatever group I was in, and if it wasn’t for a certain bar in the town I went to college in, I wouldn’t have gotten to celebrate my friends’ 21 birthdays. But they were reasonable. They didn’t check IDs at the door, and if you didn’t try and order a drink, they didn’t check your ID. I didn’t mind not drinking, I was just happy to hang out with my friends and celebrate their happy day.
And what really bothers me is this worry about children being around alcohol. If a child sees their parents using alcohol in a responsible manner they are far less likely to abuse it. Many images of alcohol on TV and in movies include extreme intoxication.Â To haveÂ a role modelÂ who enjoys a beer or two with their meal is refreshing, quite frankly.
And let’s get back to my motto, drinking cheap beer, with the object of getting as drunk as possible and spending as little as possible, is quite frankly quintessensial self-destructive behavior. Is it not better to spend $5 on one really good beer than it is to spend $5 on five Natty Lights?
North Dakota has been the No. 1 consumer of beer percapitaÂ for many years, and was most recently ranked No. 3Â behind No. 1Â Montana and No. 2 New Hampshire in 2009. That says a lot right there. Maybe having minors at the bar eating would make the 21+ crowd a little less likely to get plastered, and instead enjoy a beer responsibly. Or, do what Minnesota does, minors can eat in bars unaccompanied before a certain time (I think it’s 10 p.m., but I could be wrong). Once the kitchen’s closed the bar is fully a bar, and a minor would have no reason to be there.
I guess what I don’t get is why alcohol is the enemy and cigarettes aren’t.Â There’s no such think as second-hand drinking. You can’t get brain damage sitting by an intoxicated person, but you can get lung damage sitting next to someone who’s smoking.
Getting drunk looks really fun when it’s a bunch of good looking people in a movie doing it. It’s not so great when it’s a bunch of middle-aged bar flies who get to the bar right after work and leave at closing time. Honestly, having minors in that atmosphere might shine some light on the dangers of drinking and the very unglamorous life of an alcoholic. So let the kids eat some bar food, I think it will do more good than harm.