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Buying Booze In Oklahoma Is Now Less Annoying for Grown-Ups…

Portrait of smiling senior people drinking beer in bar and clinking glasses while enjoying night out with friends

A few years ago, on a Friday night, I went on a very weird and very spur-of-the-moment date with some woman I hardly knew to a restaurant in Midwest City called Pelicans.

If you haven’t been to Pelicans, it’s a cozy, locally-owned restaurant in the footsteps of the dormant Heritage Park Mall near Reno and Air Depot. The place has the vibes of an old school Garfield’s, Harry Bears or Shorty Small’s that time simply forgot. If you’re a sucker for deep brown wood walls and tables, a salad bar, and other nostalgic dining elements from the 1990s, you’ll actually kind of love it.

After having a couple of awkward get-to-know-you drinks (and some stuffed mushroom caps), my date – who I had just met earlier that afternoon while running some errands – suggested we hit up some bar down the street on Air Depot.

As a guy who spent way too much time bar-hopping around M-Dub when I briefly lived there in the early to mid-2000s, I thought this would be an excellent idea.

I can’t remember the bar’s name, but I think it was located between a dispensary and a Payday Loan lender. Yes, I’m aware that describes half the businesses in Midwest City, but it’s all I remember.

We walked inside, sat at the bar, and placed our order. Even though my head lacks hair, I have a closely shaved white beard, and the cashiers at the grocery store think my six-year-old daughter is my grandkid, the bartender – some young, snooty 20-something girl – asked for our IDs.

My date quickly produced hers and got a quick nod. I showed mine and after a few seconds got it shoved back in my face.

“I can’t accept that. It’s expired.”

I looked down and sure enough, my driver's license had expired a few days before. I had no clue. I then confidently said something to the effect of…

“It’s okay. I’m obviously over 21.”

“We still can’t serve you. You’ll have to leave.”

I pushed back a tad.

“Why? I’m obviously over 21. Do I really need to have a non-expired ID?”

“Yes, you do, and ABLE is cracking down right now. You need to leave.”

And that’s exactly what we did.

We then headed down the road to the famed and iconic Booger Reds – a now-defunct bar that I don’t believe has IDd anyone since 1981, and a place where I was once served by the members of Jethro Tull. You can read about that memory and more in my 2015 article that I really wrote titled – 7 Memories From Booger Reds.

Anyway, I bring up this weird anecdotal story from my weird life to highlight just how insane and illogical our state’s alcohol laws can be. If you’re obviously over 21 like I obviously am, why do you need to show a valid state ID to prove it?!

Well, I guess you no longer have to!

Thanks to a 90-year-old man who had a similar experience as I did, the antiquated ID requirement is history.


A new law removes the requirement for businesses to check ID before serving alcohol.

Odell’s Law was named after a 90-year-old man who was denied a beer because he didn’t have his ID. It eliminates the requirement for businesses to check ID before serving customers.

“I think it’s time for government to have common sense and I think that’s what this law is about,” said Senator Darrell Weaver, one of the bill’s authors. “They can have policy to say, we’re going to identify everyone, but the government shouldn’t tell them they have to identify a 90 year old man. And that’s what we’ve tried to correct.”

I like to criticize our judgemental, holier-than-thou conservative lawmakers and elected officials for being nanny state moralists, but kudos to them for having the courage to pass a common-sense law that benefits Oklahomans!

Usually, they take the cowardly approach and put issues like this on the ballot for voters to decide. I can’t believe they did it on their own!

Seriously, if someone looks like they’re under the age of 30, the server or bartender or bouncer or whoever should ID them, but if they’re a 90-year-old man – or 45-year-old dude on a weird date with some woman he just met earlier that day – the service industry employees should be allowed to trust their judgment and do what’s best for both the customer and business.

I guess I’m going to wrap this post up so I can get to the bar and grab a beer. Next time you see Odell – especially if it’s Pelican’s or some dive bar in Midwest City – please buy him a beer for me!

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