Bars intolerant of foreign IDs

By Lane Song

Popular bars around campus have been reported to be denying entrance to foreign students.

One such student is Nirav Patel, a student from Portugal in finance. One night, Patel was headed to The Clybourne, 706 S. Sixth St., to attend a friend’s birthday and was refused entrance to the bar.

His friend, Jake Fleming, junior in Business, described how they were rudely treated.

“We went to Clybourne’s before nine, and I was told by the staff that my friend should have no trouble getting in with an international ID,” Fleming said. “We had heard before that Clybourne’s was bad for foreign students, so I wanted to make sure that we could get in.”

Fleming noted that he saw people with fake identifications enter beforehand with no problem. When he and Patel reached the entrance, Patel gave the doorman a European Union identification and was refused entrance. Fleming insisted that the identification was legitimate, at which point the doorman called a bouncer to look at it.

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Fleming said the bouncer said, “I’m sure that ID works wherever the (expletive) you are from, but it doesn’t work here.”

Patel left the bar, while Fleming stayed behind to complain to the manager. For nearly a month, Fleming tried to contact the senior manager of the bar with no reply.

“I was shocked at what had happened,” Patel said. “I never experienced this in any other bar, and I’ve gotten into Clybourne’s before so that made it worse. I have used this ID to get in other bars in America.”

Robin Cook, manager of The Clybourne, said it was too easy for students to buy fake foreign identifications off the Internet. He mentioned that once he nearly called the police because the students were causing a major disturbance about not being let in due to their identifications.

Other students around campus have reported difficulties getting into bars with a foreign identification, including Igor Felizatti Carne Da Cunha, who is studying engineering.

“I had some bad experiences trying to get inside bars in Champaign because of my Brazilian ID,” Da Cunha said in an e-mail interview.

Da Cunha attempted to get into It’s Brothers Bar and Grill, 613 E. Green St., and Legends, 522 E. Green St., with his Brazilian driver’s license but was told that it was not valid.

“I’ve used this ID to get into those bars before, but now they say ‘No, we won’t take it,'” Da Cunha said. “My license is valid in the United States, and I can even drive if I want to.”

The bars would accept his passport, which he said he was reluctant to carry around. Igor related how he and six other foreign students were turned away.

“We went to Brothers in a big group, and everybody was refused entrance,” Da Cunha said. “Almost everybody in the group had a foreign driver’s license.

Patel said he was not happy with the way he was treated.

“I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t let me in, it was just the fact that they were so rude about it,” Patel said. “They could have just said we don’t accept foreign IDs.”

Staff at It’s Brothers Bar and Grill and Legends declined to comment.