A loophole in the law allows teenagers under 21 to order beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks at bars and restaurants.

My wife was scrolling through her Facebook feed the other day when I heard her say "no way!" She found a photo of her friend's young son sitting at a bar drinking a beer. Thinking it must be photoshopped or some sort of prank, she read the caption which was posted by the child's mother confirming that the photo was, in fact, real.

According to the Facebook post, the parent explained that a loophole in the law allows adults 18 and over to order and consume alcohol as long as they are with a parent of legal guardian. I personally didn't believe it, so I decided to do some research into the matter and was shocked to discover that she was actually correct.

Unsplash/Pablo Merchán Montes
Unsplash/Pablo Merchán Monte

The woman who posted the photo lives in Ohio, which is one of several states that allow adults under 21 to drink at a bar or restaurant under the supervision of their parents. The law has been confirmed by law enforcement, who says it's perfectly legal to toss back a few beers with mom and dad. An underage alcohol FAQ on the Clermont Sheriff's office website explains the strange law.

If I am out at a restaurant with my son/daughter who is under 21 years old, can I legally order alcohol for them to drink?


Legally, yes if you are physically present with them when they are drinking.

However, the sheriff's department points out that many establishments have their own rules that may prohibit 18-year-olds from drinking on site. That certainly wasn't the case at the bar where my wife's friend was able to go drinking with her son who's currently a high school student.

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I began to research whether such a loophole also exists in New York State. I discovered that there were actually quite a few states that carve out an exception for underage teens to drink at bars. I was able to find similar wording from liquor authorities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Connecticut.

That's right, apparently, you can legally order a drink for your child in Connecticut without breaking the law. However, it appears that this loophole is hardly ever allowed. In fact, I couldn't find any instances of anyone successfully doing it.

So what about New York? Could you legally buy a drink for an underage adult at a bar or restaurant and supervise them while they consume it? No. The law is very clear that no one under the age of 21 can consume alcohol in a public. However, minors can consume and possess alcohol at home under a parent's supervision. If you want to

You may also be surprised to know that there is no law in New York that prohibits a minor from buying alcohol. While it's illegal to use a fake ID for the purposes of purchasing booze, doing so without an ID is not against the law for the purchaser, but a huge legal headache for the person that sells it.

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