Hey Bartender, Got Some ID?

City hasn't notified bars of new training rules


A new city ordinance requires anyone who serves beer, wine or liquor at a watering hole or restaurant within Boise city limits to be certified to do so.

But that's news to many business owners.

"Haven't heard about it yet," said Dave Martin at Hyde Park's SunRay Cafe.

Across the street at Bungalow, owner Jason Broadwater said his service staff has been through a training class, but he hadn't heard about the new ordinance and wasn't sure if the class his staff had taken would qualify.

The new rule requires waitresses, bartenders, managers—anyone who serves an alcoholic beverage—to attend one of three city-approved training courses to learn how to spot fake identification in order to prevent underage drinking, as well as the when and how of cutting off a patron who's too intoxicated.

Under Idaho law, it's already illegal to serve someone who is visibly intoxicated, but this training is one way to hold servers more accountable for getting their customers too cupped up.

It's a program alcohol licensees mostly support and are happy to implement, but many are miffed at the city for failing to notify them of the change, which carries a stiff $1,000-per-server fine.

"We provided extensive opportunity for input, and we did notify all liquor license holders that this was going to be happening. We invited them to several stakeholder meetings last year," said City spokesman Adam Park. "They have been notified throughout this whole process multiple times." Park said the City sent out a postcard last spring notifying licensees of two opportunities to throw in their 2 cents before the ordinance was enacted on Nov. 18.

Butch Morrison, owner of the Crescent Bar and Grill and president of the Idaho Licensed Beverage Association, has been vocal in the media about fully supporting the new ordinance while at the same time chastising the city for failing to get the word out. Some 500 areas businesses are affected by the new rule, many of which are not ILBA members.

On Jan. 12, KBCI Channel 2 in Boise reported that the City was drafting a letter to send out to all business that week to notify them of the change. One restaurant manager on the Bench said he was told the same thing almost two weeks later when he called the City to inquire about the new rule.

Sockeye Grill's Zach Yunker heard about the new ordinance from another friend in the bar business who'd also heard about the ordinance through word of mouth.

But some business owners are already done with their training.

Liquid owner Jeremy Aevermann said the training was built into the lease on his new space and his staff has already been through a class. Aevermann contracted Susie Stertz, owner of the Emerald Club and one of the trainers administering the program to teach a seminar for his staff. A manager at The Office said servers there did their training in December after Stertz contacted them.

The new ordinance took effect Jan. 1 and gave bar owners until March 1 to complete training. According to Park, because the city recognizes that word hasn't gotten out to many business owners, they've extended the deadline to April 1.

As for that letter, assistant city attorney Jodi Nafzger said Monday it's been drafted and it's in the City Clerk's Office ready to be sent to all licensed servers of alcohol in the City. In the meantime, the City has been fielding calls from business owners.

"We've heard from them almost every day," she said. "We've directed them to one of the three programs. They can all be done online, and there are some live local training options as well."