While netas oscillate between 21 and 25 as the appropriate age to start drinking, a city wine bar has thrown up more room for argument. Ivy Grande, the newly-opened outlet of the Chateau Indage-owned chain of wine bistros, is offering a 15 per cent discount to college students. What adds insult to injury is that the happy hours are between 10 am and 6 pm, when collegians are usually running between classes.
When asked, Amog Aundhekar, manager operations for Ivy, appears to be confused about the law itself. “Twenty-one as the drinking age is not official yet, is it?” he asks. When told that the law specifically prohibits people under the age of 21 from drinking, he dithers, saying, “Though we call it a wine bar, they can always have coffee or lunch. I want to invite them over for our food, not only our wine.” He adds that the measure was introduced to offer students an alternative to the college canteen. “We can give them personalised services because there isn’t much rush during these hours,” he says.
Ask how the bar intends to identify underage tipplers and he says, “They need to show us their IDs to avail of the discount.” Meanwhile, teachers and students are outraged. “People shouldn’t be encouraging students to drink,” says Sharon Menezes, BMM co-ordinator at MMK College in Bandra. “This might tempt students to go out drinking during college hours.” National College student Evelyn Sameeksha Mascarenhas, 22, says, “It’s obnoxious and completely incorrect. I’ve hardly seen anybody ask students for IDs, so most will be able to drink. Offering them 15 per cent discount seems like an incentive.”
But 21-year-old Rudresh Ved of MMK College doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. “Who thinks about drinking age these days?” he asks, “Students are already drinking, atleast this way they save a few bucks. Besides, people are responsible today and know their limits. So they won’t abuse such offers.”