New Law Allows 18 and Older in Music Venues

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: There is music to suit nearly everyone's tastes in Madison's bars and venues. The problem is you have to be 21 to get in.

But the City Council passed an ordinance last night that will allow music venues to let in 18 and older crowds-without going non–alcoholic.

"What we're looking for is a good plan. Alder Judy Olson says any bar with live entertainment or a D.J. can apply for a license under one condition; "They provide us with a really convincing plan that they can control the situation and not be serving to minors."

"It's a good thing for us in that we do some 18 and up shows already," says Annex Nightclub General Manager Mike McNamara.

The Annex puts on about 200 shows a year, but only 2 a month are for 18 and older. "This will allow it to happen more often I guess," says McNamara.

The problem in the past is that when you do an 18 and older show, drinkers were sent to another part of the bar. "If someone wanted to drink we'd have to wristband them and send them into the Regent side to get alcohol," says McNamara.

That meant drinkers had to miss part of the show. So many drinkers didn't bother going at all. This new ordinance will allow drinkers to mingle with the underagers and enjoy the show.

"It's more beneficial that the older crowd–the drinking age crowd–can stay and watch the whole show and drink during it. It's beneficial to us in that way," says McNamara.

But don't expect music venues like the Annex to go 18 and up for every show. Logistically, that's just too much work. "That would require quite a few more bodies on the floor," says McNamara.

The Annex would still need extra security on the floor to make sure underagers weren't getting drinks handed to them.

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