Some area businesses choose to make minor changes to their alcoh - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Some area businesses choose to make minor changes to their alcohol policy


Western Wisconsin (WQOW) - In the land of Leinie's, we've noticed some minor changes.  Wisconsin is one of 11 states that allow minors to be served alcohol in bars or restaurants, as long as they're with their parents or a spouse, who is old enough.  Some businesses believe it's too easy to beat the system, so they choose to keep it simple. 

"They can own a bar, they can tend bar, the can do all that at 18," Sally Steinke of Hide-a-While in Rock Falls says.

But they can't consume at a bar in Wisconsin, unless they're with their parents or a spouse.

"It makes no sense to me. If you're old enough to buy a home, get married, everything, but you can't have a beer," Steinke says.

In 30 years of service, Sally Steinke feels confident every minor she's served at the Hide-a-While has been with their parent.

"This is like a ‘Cheers.' Everybody knows everybody. So, I know who the parents are and yes, I do serve them," Steinke says.

But she says her policy may be specific to its location.  

"If I was in downtown Eau Claire I would not because you don't know the people," Steinke says.

Or downtown Chippewa Falls, like Lucy's Delicatessen, that, in their four years, have had a policy not to serve minors with their parents.

"Parents have a right to raise their children how they want, we have the right to run our business how we want," Sheldon Gough of Lucy's Delicatessen says.

A sentiment shared by a rising number of area businesses, like Milwaukee Burger Company and the Court-n-House, that choose to withhold the booze. 

"We have a lot of young people that work for us and we don't want them in an atmosphere where they may be seeing people that they know drinking when they're underage," Gough says.

Minors today may have a different last name than their parents or a different address.

"You could be a minor coming in with anyone and say 'this is your parent, your godparent, your legal guardian," Gough says.

Which is why some establishments are saying when in doubt, opt out.   

Sally from the Hide-a-While says even if a minor is with their parent they won't serve them if the minor is also driving.  Anyone under the age of 21 in Wisconsin is required to have absolute sobriety behind the wheel, which means not a drop of alcohol.

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