Kildare House raises age limit to 21

Kildare House raises age limit to 21

One of Windsor’s most popular pubs is raising the bar on the age of people allowed to enter their establishment during their busiest nights of the week — sparking mixed feelings among students about the ethics and legality of the restriction.

Despite Ontario’s legal drinking age being set at 19, O’Maggio’s Kildare House in Windsor’s Walkerville neighbourhood has raised the age limit to 21 and older on Fridays and Saturdays after 9 p.m.

The owner of Kildare House did not provide comment to CTV News. However, staff inside said the measure is temporary and goes into effect every year to prevent vandalism inside the establishment.

It’s not clear exactly when the age restriction goes into effect or how long it lasts. Staff added it was in place this year during the winter reading week for university students — but was relaxed on St. Patrick’s Day.

University of Windsor student Shahda Farah said he believes private businesses should have the right to set their own age thresholds as they see fit.

But he questions if vandalism and rowdy behavior are predominantly linked to individuals aged 19 and 20.

Students Mirna Narsees, Shahda Farah and Natalee Kakgona, as seen on March 19, 2024. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)

“They’re only blaming young people because they think of them as less mature. They have more impulsive thoughts and stuff like that,” said Farah. “But there’s no actual evidence.”

First-year student Natalee Kakgona, 18, said if limiting dangerous behaviour is the goal behind the age restriction, the policy should be in place year-round.

“Either do it permanently or don’t do it at all because you’re still going to suffer from damages at a later time,” said Kakgona. “The policy is understandable but it’s also not. Because 50 year olds can also do those things on a daily basis.”

In a statement, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario said age restrictions are not established in the Liquor Licence and Control Act.

“Under Ontario’s regulatory framework, those who hold a liquor licence are permitted to make business decisions to mitigate risk,” the statement reads.

However, the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s website states all service providers, including malls and movie theatres, can not treat young people differently “based on assumptions or stereotypes about maturity, responsibility or behaviour.”

Kildare House is not the only Windsor business limiting entry to customers 21 and older. Disco Inferno in downtown Windsor has implemented the same age restriction on a permanent basis.

For students, opinions on Kildare’s age restriction remains mixed.

“This business has the right to their own policies,” said 19-year-old Mirna Narsees. “But I also think it’s a bit unfair to target a certain age group because anyone of any age group can commit these actions.”

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