Pune Pubs Enforce Strict Age Limits For Entry Amid Excise Department Crackdown

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Pune, 2nd June 2024: Several pubs in Pune have implemented a new policy barring entry to individuals under 25 years old to avoid the complexities of monitoring alcohol consumption. This move follows an excise department crackdown on multiple pubs after the May 19 Porsche crash in Kalyaninagar.


According to the Bombay Prohibition Act (1949), individuals aged 21-24 are permitted to consume only beer and wine, while hard liquor is reserved for those 25 and older.


Confirming the new measures, a representative from a prominent hospitality association mentioned that restaurants and pubs are also prohibiting patrons from dancing near their tables, as this violates existing regulations.


“Many guests prefer to drink outdoors, but we are now only allowed to serve in a four-walled permissible area. This change has not been well-received, but we have no other option as it’s part of the excise rules. Additionally, pubs that previously featured live music are now canceling these events out of fear of authorities,” the representative said.


These strict measures have raised concerns among patrons, who feel that the new rules are adversely affecting the overall dining and nightlife experience.


Outside a popular resto-lounge in Koregaon Park, a large sign now reads, “Strictly 21 years of age and above.”


Ajinkya Udane, Pune Co-Chapter Head of the National Restaurant Association of India, explained the challenges: “Many pubs are not taking any chances and are allowing only those aged 25 and above. It’s difficult for restaurant owners to monitor if those aged 21-24 are sticking to beer and wine only, especially when they are seated with people who can consume hard liquor.”


Several pubs and lounges have voluntarily stopped serving alcohol or temporarily closed, despite having valid licenses. “This is being done out of fear of the excise authorities,” said a lounge owner in Mundhwa. “It’s a grey area, and we do not know how to monitor patrons once they are inside, even after checking their IDs. This has left us with no option but to stop serving alcohol.”


The owner of a European bar and restaurant in Koregaon Park added, “We have stopped allowing entry to those below 25 years of age. It’s challenging to keep track if people at the same table are of different ages, and how do you monitor that those between 21-24 years of age are only drinking wine or beer? We check their IDs on DigiLocker as photocopied IDs are not allowed.”


Another club owner emphasized, “We are strictly checking ID cards and only allowing entry to those aged 25 and above. People aged 21 and under are not allowed entry at all because it’s difficult to monitor if they are consuming hard drinks once inside.”


A lounge owner in Koregaon Park expressed the operational difficulties: “It was becoming very hectic to differentiate and monitor which age group gets which kind of drink with so much rush. Therefore, we have stopped serving liquor and don’t know when we will restart.”


The manager of a bar in Balewadi mentioned that they started barring entry to those under 25 from Friday. Another manager at a resto-lounge in Mundhwa said, “We shut the lounge for a few days after the excise department started taking action. We have a valid liquor license but didn’t want to take any chances. We resumed operations on Thursday but only for food. We are no longer serving any alcohol because a small slip-up can cause the excise department to shut establishments. Many restaurants that were serving liquor until a few days ago have decided to stop serving alcohol completely, even to those above 25 years of age.”