Getting carded at a bar always feels like a big deal. If you are underage, you hope it doesn't happen. If you are of legal age it feels a little like an insult.


"I'm 24, why do I still get carded?"

Then, a few years later, it becomes a compliment, like, maybe you do still look kind of young. Well, it's not you. Bartenders are just really bad judges of age.

To prove this, five bar-backs, with experience ranging from 3 weeks to 40 years, were asked to guess if a series of contestants were underage and failed big time. To be fair, I was wrong on a lot of these as well. I could not tell with the women at all.

The big lesson for these bartenders is always card. Sorry, kids. What is most surprising is the reasoning behind their decisions. They rely on intuition judging maturity by how a person walks, their clothing, seriousness, and if they think a beard is hiding a baby face. Age is just a number, man. A really hard to pin-down number.

This may be good news for college students, but bad news for bars and everyone else. Bars that serve drinks to underage persons can be fined thousands of dollars per drink sold to a teenager or even shut down. The bartender will certainly lose their job. As an adult living in a college town, I can tell you there is nothing more annoying or reckless than a drunk 20-year-old. You are significantly less capable than you think.

Fun experiment: the next time you go to a bar, ask them if they think you are underage or not. Still give them your ID, but you might find out you walk like a 19-year-old.