Cheers or Tears: Will Bartenders Accept An Expired ID?

will bartenders accept expired id
Joe | Last Updated: August 19, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

We’ve all faced that moment: a customer confidently hands over their ID, but upon closer inspection, it’s expired.

Even if the date shows they’re of age, the expiration throws a wrench in the works.

So, what’s a bartender to do? Accept it or turn it down?

The question of whether bartenders should accept an expired ID is one that’s been debated, misunderstood, and often leaves both bartenders and patrons in a squabble.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the legalities, ethical considerations, and practical implications of accepting or rejecting an expired ID.

Let’s get into it…

Will Bartenders Accept An Expired ID?

No. Bartenders typically will not accept an expired ID.

An ID’s validity is not just about the birthdate but also its active status. An expired ID is considered invalid for most purposes, including age verification at bars.

That’s why it’s important for you to always check the validity of your ID before you plan to use it on a night out or in a bar.

bartender serving shots to customers
Image by Freepik

That said, as a bartender who has worked all over the world in many different bars, I have known some bartenders to accept an expired ID on the odd occasion.

It all depends on how lucky you are and the bartender that’s serving you as to whether you’ll be let into the establishment and served alcohol, that is, if you can get the ID past the door staff first.

But as a bar manager, personally, I always check for the expiration date of the ID, as well as the date of birth. If either of the two does not meet legal standards, they are unable to be served alcohol.

So if you’re a patron thinking you’re going to get past a bartender with your expired ID, think again as it won’t happen.

Should Bartenders Accept Expired IDs?

Bartenders often grapple with the question of whether they should accept expired IDs.

From a legal standpoint, many jurisdictions require IDs to be valid for age verification, meaning they shouldn’t be expired.

Accepting an expired ID can put the establishment at risk of legal consequences, including hefty fines or even the potential loss of a liquor license.

Not only that, an expired ID might not accurately reflect the holder’s current appearance, making it challenging to ascertain its authenticity.

While it might seem harsh to turn away someone who appears to be of legal age, the risks associated with accepting an expired ID always outweigh the potential benefits.

Therefore, in the interest of upholding standards, ensuring authenticity, and avoiding legal complications, bartenders should not accept expired IDs.

If the patron is pleading for you to accept it, do not give in by any means. Your job is on the line and it’s not worth the risk.

Can You Use An Out Of Date Passport As ID?

An out-of-date passport is generally not accepted as a valid form of identification.

While a passport, even if expired, contains a photo and birthdate of the holder, bars and other establishments that serve alcohol typically require current, valid identification for age verification.

This is to ensure they adhere to legal standards and avoid potential penalties associated with serving underage patrons.

So, if you’re planning to use a passport to prove your age at a bar, make sure it’s still valid to avoid any complications.

What Happens If You Get Caught With An Expired ID?

If you get caught using an expired ID at a bar, the bartender will most likely refuse to serve you.

They might also confiscate the ID, especially if they suspect it’s not genuinely yours. Using an expired ID can raise suspicions, even if you are of legal drinking age.

Some establishments have policies in place that mandate reporting or involve security when questionable IDs are presented. This could lead to an uncomfortable situation or even being asked to leave the premises.

will bartenders accept an expired ID
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

The good news is that an expired ID is not the same as a fake ID, so there’s likely no chance of the police being called the deal with the matter.

Many people simply forget that their ID has expired and attempt to use it by mistake, but if you’re using a fake ID then that is a different matter with different consequences.

Final Thoughts

Ensuring that patrons are of legal drinking age is paramount for both bartenders and the establishment they work in.

While an expired ID might still show a date of birth, its validity is compromised, making it a risky choice for age verification.

Most of us bartenders will err on the side of caution, prioritizing the establishment’s legal standing and their responsibility to uphold age restrictions.

So, the next time you’re planning a night out, double-check the expiration date on your ID. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference in ensuring your evening goes smoothly.

And if you already know it’s expired, it’s not worth the risk as there’s a very strong chance it will be rejected by the bartender.

See you in the next one.