NIGHTCLUBS in the city must register with the city Liquor Board to hold underage dance night because "the atmosphere of a nightclub is not always to the betterment of the minor," said Aaron Stansbury, the board's executive secretary.
"There's nothing illegal about being underaged on a licensed premises," he said. People under 21 just can't buy alcohol, and bars and restaurants can't serve them.
The Sports Bar is not the only nightclub opening its doors to teen patrons. Odells Nightclub on North Avenue holds teen night from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. every Friday but requires membership for entrance into the club. Everyone, including high-school-age teens, fills out an application. All pay $50 monthly dues.
Managers at the Original Kaos in Towson said they card at the door, restricting entrance to teens between the ages of 13 and 19. Kaos holds teen nights from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Monday, but the night will be switched to a weekend when school starts.
Hammerjacks on South Howard Street admits an 18-and-over crowd on Wednesdays, and Christopher's in Cockeysville holds dance night for the 20-and-under crowd from 8 p.m. to midnight Sundays; during the school year, the young adult's night hours at Christopher's will change to 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Managers at some clubs say they try to enforce lower and upper age limits for a variety of reasons. Because of a city curfew that restricts minors from being out after 11 p.m. on Sundays, the Sports Bar cards at the door. It doesn't admit teens under age 16, but a few who are younger do slip through. On a recent Sunday, a 13-year-old managed to get in. She nervously revealed her age to another club visitor and slipped away into a crowd of people. "That's surprising because everybody has to show ID," said John Vetter, a Sports Bar manager.
Christopher's restricts ages to provide a social atmosphere for young adults. "You know why?" asked Sara Loundas, a manager at Christopher's. "Kids like to have a good time and they can't with older people there."
The older crowd also asks to be served alcohol, and when they are turned away, they come asking for their money back, "and it's just a hassle. A lot of older men want to come up and stare at the girls, which would also make me feel creepy," she added.
At Christopher's, there's no carding at the door, but anybody who looks 21 or over will be asked for ID and turned away, according to Loundas.