Advice for Underage Students on Spring Break (Under 21)
From the Spring Break Visitors Guide.
There was a time when being underaged in South Beach meant you still had all your original teeth and were not collecting social security.But things have changed here in South Florida over the past 25 years, and now pretty much the only people that are too young to hang out in South Beach are the ones dumb enough to admit it. Still, I perpetually receive requests from persons under the legal drinking age as to what they can do if they come to South Beach for vacation. My initial response is to tell them, much like Bobby Vee, to come back when they grow up. But then I realize that this would be detrimental to our already fragile tourist industry and that I need to, at the very least, lie and tell them there is plenty for them. Like, you know, Parrot Jungle. And, uh, you know, some other stuff.
Actually, as long as you are not concerned with nightlife there are a good variety of things you can do here in South Beach. If you are a guy, the beach is topless so you can pretty much spend the day ogling the naked girls. If you are a girl, the beach is topless. You can pretty much spend the day getting a tan without worrying about lines. Just try to ignore the idiot guys trying to ogle you.
Additionally, many Ocean Drive establishments, such as Senor Frog’s Clevelander and Nikki Beach, will let you in during the day regardless of age if you want to eat. So you can soak up the scene without having to worry about pesky ID’s. There is also Lincoln Road Mall for outdoor shopping (and a chance for you kids from fly over country to see real, live homosexuals) and a large Art Deco Movie Theater located at the end. You can sample one of our many fine South Beach restaurants, or maybe just go for a rollerblade along the beach. We also offer Jet Ski rentals at the Miami Beach Marina, along with snorkeling trips and parasailing. So your daytime, which will be typically longer than that over-21 set who won’t wake up until the crack of 2, can be immensely fulfilling.
But let’s be honest…..if you wanted to just lay on the beach, or go snorkeling or parasailing or watch movies, you’d have saved some money and gone on Spring Break with your parents to their timeshare in Boca. Then you could do it all on their dime. You are on Spring Break to get trashed and have sex like all the Juniors and Seniors are, the only problem is that without the proper preparation you will be left outside looking in like the poor little match girl on a cold winter’s night. And we all know what happened to her. So, underaged and underprepared, my advice to you still remains to come back when you are over 21 so you can truly get the most out of your South Beach experience. Go to Mexico or somewhere else where your age is about as relevant as your citizenship. But if I know one thing about 19 and 20 year olds, it’s that you never listen and you think you know everything. So I have no doubt you will summarily blow off that particular piece of advice and book your tickets to South Florida anyway. Should you do that, here are some tips that will help you have a memorable Spring Break before you are old enough to legally do so.
IF YOU’D LIKE THE IMPRINT OF AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP RING ACROSS YOUR FOREHEAD, BRING A WEAK ID
First thing is first, kids: If you’re gonna come to South Beach, you’d better have a rock-solid fake ID. Otherwise, you seriously should not even bother. And I’m not talking about that piece of crap you bought in Chinatown that lets you buy beer at the Kwik Stop in Storrs, I’m talking about an ID that even the most seasoned bouncer will let pass. The sad thing about most fake ID’s is that bouncers here can spot them from a mile away. You forget that unlike in some
less-sophisticated locales, our bouncers are trained to recognize ID’s from all over the world. Because once you leave the Chileans and Argentines start showing up. No matter how many holograms you have on your ID, most bouncers will take it away. And don’t even think about challenging them. Their next move will be to call the Miami Beach Police, a group known locally for arresting the likes of Dontrelle Willis, Brian Blades and Jose Canseco with little regard for their celebrity. Did I mention that Shaq was a Beach cop too? So, actually, this may make for a better Spring Break story than some of your more-legal counterparts. “Oh, so you got laid on Spring Break?! Oooh, la la! Did you get your ass kicked by Shaq because you had a fake ID? Didn’t think so! Loser!”
What you need to do is obtain a valid ID from someone who looks vaguely like you. An older sibling is the best route to take, but lacking that perhaps an older fraternity brother or sorority sister. This may be common knowledge for many of you already, but I cannot stress enough that even the slightest discrepancy here in The Beach will lead you to have your ID taken. We are much less lax than most college towns, as even the likes of Britney Spears have been thrown out of clubs for being underage (if only we could still do that to her now). So make sure the ID is NOT expired as that is the first thing most bouncers look for to spot a pseudo fake. If you can’t find someone cool to lend you their ID, start perusing the dorms late-night for the guys drinking Mountain Dew and playing Warcraft. Because lord knows they’re not going to be using their ID’s for Spring Break. Offer them some money or a hooker or an upgrade to their computer or do pretty much whatever you have to do to get that ID from them. Otherwise, you may very well be spending the week at Kafkas playing Warcraft with those same people.
And a word to you ladies: No matter how hot you may think you are back in Austin or Athens, every door guy in the beach has seen hotter than you on a Tuesday in July. This is to say that do not think that flirting or looking cute will exempt you from being forced to produce a valid ID. That shit may fly back in whatever college town you come from, but here our door guys are generally either A) Gay or B) So indifferent to your appearance you’d swear they were gay. Go to any gym in South Beach and see how big our homosexuals are, they are bred to be doormen. Tim Hardaway, he doesn’t come to the Beach much anymore for good reason.
So let’s say you forgot your ID. Or maybe you have a fake, but it isn’t good enough to fool that former Dolphin working the door at Mynt. There are still ways to get into several Spring Break hotspots, you just have to invest a little more time than some of the older crowd. The law in Dade County, as in many places, is that if you serve food you may have people of any age in your establishment up to a certain time. In Miami, this is 11 PM. The thing is, during Spring Break it is often so crowded that management does not have time to kick out the kiddies before the real fun starts. So this opens up a very interesting opportunity for you.
If you have the money to do so, go have dinner at The Clevelander around 9. Linger for a while, have four or five courses, and drag dinner out as late as you can. Chances are you can still be there eating well after 11, and your server is going to be way too busy to try and kick you out. Just make sure you are dressed for the occasion, and as soon as you pay your bill you can meander over to the bar and get yourself a lovely beverage. Once you have one, you are good for the night. If you are willing to invest the time, you can get away with this pretty easily.
This will not work everywhere, though, as some places ID during the day. Fat Tuesday’s and Wet Willie’s are two examples, and there may be others so be aware. The Playwright is hit or miss on this, as some days you can walk in at 9 with no problem, and other days you will be ID’d upon entrance for lunch. Typically this is on weekends, but a lot of those rules are changed during Spring Break.
Bartenders are taught that serving a minor is the equivalent of career suicide. That being said, servers are not bartenders. Servers, while certainly apt to ID you from time to time, tend to be a LOT more lax about carding their patrons. Why is this? Well, in case you missed it, servers work on tips. So if your bill is going to be $40 without alcohol, but $140 with, they are going to be much less inclined to be diligent in their examination of your ID. If a manager asks them if you checked their ID, the server can say yes. Especially when it is busy, a harried server is also not going to sit there while you fumble through your wallet looking for an ID when they have six tables demanding more water and free bread. And ketchup, oh the f*&%ing ketchup. They may very well just take your drink order and let it go at that. So if you are trying to get lit, find a waiter who looks like they need to make rent by the end of the day and you are golden. But, for the love of God, make sure you are tipping at LEAST 20%.
WHERE SERVING MINORS IS THE LEAST OF THEIR LEGAL VIOLATIONS
There are a variety of Dive Bars on the Beach that do not ID if you are tall enough to reach the bar. I have been going to many of them for many years and rarely am I carded. The problem, of course, is that I cannot in good faith name them here on this site. Because should I do that the Liquor Board would no doubt get wind of the article, raid the bars, and then all my favorite hangouts would be shut down. And much as I like all of you, I’m not giving up my South Beach haunts so you kids have a place to drink. I will leave it as simply this: If the place looks run down and dirty and disgusting and there is nobody working the door, it’s a pretty safe bet. Not a guarantee, but a pretty safe bet. Walk around and I guarantee you’ll find them. Most of these places are good spots to buy drugs too, for those who are interested.
SURPRISE! THE HOMELESS ARE NOT A COMPLETE NUISANCE
Alright. So being the cocky, “I know everything” barely-not-a-teenager that you are, you have summarily dismissed all of my fake-ID advice in the first three sections and have showed up on my Beach with no fake ID. I am not inclined to help such moronic individuals, but since I am being paid to write this I will consider it my job. Your last resort to getting hammered on Spring Break is finding people to buy booze for you at one of our lovely variety of liquor stores. You can then take that liquor to your hotel or to the beach, get drunk, and pass out watching porn in your room. Or maybe just roam the streets eating slice after slice until one of you pukes. Either way, it makes the best of an unfortunate situation and at least lets you enjoy some of the party if you can’t have it all.
Your best bet is to bring along someone who is over 21 to buy it for you, but if you can do that you can probably find an ID to use and therefore don’t need to be slamming SoCo on the sand. Should you not have enough of-age friends to do this, try making some while you are here. If you are a girl, this is as easy and asking the first guy who hits on you on the beach how old he is, and if he’s over 21 get his number and have him buy you some booze later. At the very least you’ve found a sucker to do you a favor, at the very best he may buy it for you. And if he’s cute you’ve found some guys to hang out with for the week. If no guys hit on you, just approach some. Even if you are not the belle of the beach, most guys are down to do whatever it takes to get girls drunk on Spring Break. Whether or not you have no intention of talking to them again, they don’t have to know. Just have them buy you your bottle of Stoli Razz and be done with them. Until you need another bottle the next night.
If you are male, well, this is the unfortunate time of your life where women have it way easier than you do. If you can’t make any friends over 21, Miami Beach is home to a great many people who are wiling to do you favors for money. No, I’m not talking about hookers, although they will do that too, I am talking about the homeless. Now, they may smell or be unshaven or talk to themselves, often all 3, but there is no greater resource for illicit liquor purchases than a vagrant. First of all, they could find the nearest liquor store with their eyes closed and earplugs on, and secondly they have no moral objection at all to anything. Anyone who’s seen Bumfights can attest to that. You just wait for the first vagrant to ask you for money and tell him as follows:
“Look, I’ll not only give you $10, but I’ll buy you 32 of Steel Reserve if you go in there and get me and my friends a bottle of Jack.”
I have never seen anyone turned down. Most of the liquor store clerks in the Beach know the local homeless and have no problem selling to them. Just wait for your vagrant outside and make sure you get all you wanted. Don’t give him the extra 10 until he comes out with your booze either. At the very least you’ll get taken for about two bucks. At the very best you’ve made a new friend in South Florida.
So kids, when you decide to come to our little slice of Paradise and you are not old enough to party with the big kids, all is not lost. Whether you choose to get a solid ID, sneak into bars and restaurants, or pay homeless people to buy you alcohol, there is plenty of degenerate fun to be had on Spring Break. Just make sure you don’t get caught, or you may end up with a 14-time NBA all-star berating you as you spend the coldest night of your life in Beach lockup. Good luck finding the party, and if you can’t, just come back when you grow up. As long as you have money, all will be forgiven and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
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