Underage Yale students can now leave their fake IDs at home when heading to Toad’s Places’ dance parties — but not all students seem to want to.
Since this past Saturday, 19- and 20-year-olds can legally patronize dance parties at Toad’s thanks to a new entrance policy. Owner and President Brian Phelps has opened the nightclub’s doors to the new subset of underage partygoers, but only under the premise that they will not have access to alcohol.
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In an interview, Phelps said the new policy is a result of years of requests for Toad’s to let in those who are under 21. After making sure that the change would be compliant with state laws, Phelps made the move feasible by rearranging Toad’s main room and adding partitions in the bar area.
Underage patrons can get refreshments from a new juice bar, where all drinks are served in 16 oz. red cups. This helps guards who are stationed throughout the crowd and at the opening of the bar areas to identify them, Phelps said.
While of-age Yale students are let in for free, all 19- and 20-year-olds are charged $5 at the door. But Phelps said the move was not intended as a revenue booster; he thinks the new policy will dissuade veteran Toad’s patrons from trying to get in illegally.
“I’m just hoping that it slows down the number of students who are using fake IDs,” he said.
Phelps admitted that sometimes fake IDs are hard to distinguish from legitimate ones. But he said he now expects underage students will drink before they come to Toad’s and be let in as a 19 or 20-year-old, rather than trying to drink inside the nightclub by pretending to be 21.
But some Yalies do not agree that underage students will stop trying to portray themselves as being legal to drink.
Kristin Briggs ’11, who attended the dance party last Saturday, said it does not make sense for students with fake IDs to stop using them. A student using a fake ID has the option of paying as non-Yalie or paying as a 19- or 20-year-old. But only the former allows them to drink.
“I think it was a good idea,” Briggs said, “but I don’t know if it disincentives people from using fake IDs.”
Emily Weissler ’09, who also attended last Saturday, agreed. She said she thinks the new policy is a way for Toad’s to lessen their liability, since the nightclub is held accountable when fake IDs are used.
“It’s a way of covering their tracks,” Weissler said.
She added that the new layout of the club seems messy, though the dance floor does feel bigger.
Since many Yale and Quinnipiac students had not yet returned to New Haven on Saturday, the turnout to the first dance party that admitted underage students was small. But Phelps said he was still happy with how the night went. About 500 people were there, he said, including a significant number of 19- and 20-year-olds.
Regardless of logistics, many students said they will continue to visit the nightclub on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
“It’s a Yale tradition,” Briggs said.