The Vortex: 18 to 21, real quick

The Vortex in Midtown and Little Five Points will be changing their age limit from 18 to 21 starting in 2015. PHOTO BY BRITTANY GUERIN | THE SIGNAL

7670 days. Starting in January that’s how old you will have to be to stare at boobs hanging on the walls at The Vortex.

At the start of 2015, the owner of The Vortex, Michael Benoit, is closing the iconic restaurant’s doors to anyone under 21 due to complaints made by customers and staff.

It seems that the main reasoning behind these problems is the inability to drink at 18; an unreasonable age limit that should be changed rather than get those of us under 21 in trouble. We need to decide who is really at fault for kicking us out of this Atlanta landmark: Michael Benoit or the age limit?

When The Vortex opened in 1992, it was meant for adults. It was a place where anyone and everyone had the right to choose to indulge in things that are definitely not good for them. And if someone decided they didn’t like it, they had the option to leave; a place that promotes self-choice.

Because of the Smoke Free Air act of 2005, the age limit of The Vortex went from all ages to 18 and up due to a loophole found in the legislature.

And although 18,19 and 20 year olds are labeled “adults,” many people that are older hardly treat them like it. We’re in the awkward in-between stage of childhood and adulthood. For many of us, The Vortex acted as a physical barrier or a right of passage from our childish years.

Unfortunately, because of recent discrepancies, that won’t be a possibility for some of us.

“From day one our vision for The Vortex had been that it’s a social gathering for adults, a bar,” Benoit said. “At first [being 18 and up], was fine, but it does create a lot of operational problems. We have to card people on entry to ensure that no one under 18 comes in, so that’s state law; we’re required to do that.”

“Then people come in and they order a drink,” Benoit continued. “We have to card them a second time. To be constantly required to reshow and reshow an ID, it’s not good customer service.

Benoit said in the past six months the restaurant has had mounting problems with underage persons trying to sneak alcohol.

“Our staff is having to act like police,” Benoit said.

The age change for The Vortex is a good business decision, period. It keeps them as a liquor license holder in business and out of trouble. Michael made it clear that they did not take this decision very lightly, but they take the law very seriously, even if they don’t agree with it.

So how can we even be sure the blame is falling on the right people? The ability for college students to enjoy burgers at a restaurant that accepts us as the adults that we are was not ruined by a man trying to run a good business but rather by the stupidity of other young adults. It’s like grade school all over again. One messes up and the whole group gets punished.

When you turn 18 you are legally an adult and have more responsibilities than when you were 17. Like somehow turning that magical number makes the world clearer. Once responsibilities like voting and being able to risk our lives for our country are distributed, the government then forbids us to drink any kind of alcohol by claiming that we are not responsible enough.

But what they fail to realize is that underage drinking is not the biggest problem. Some people who are old enough to drink lack the responsibility to handle it. But alcohol as whole cannot be taken away from society. I mean, we all know how well that worked the first time. So why is it that the government believes that being 21, another magical number, gives you the responsibility to consume alcohol?

Benoit said that should be a call to action for annoyed college students.

“Take that energy towards the government and see if you can get that bad policy changed,” Benoit said.

We shouldn’t be sitting here stomping our feet and throwing a tantrum. We should be joining groups like Choose Responsibility to affect change.

We might want to blame The Vortex and accuse them of age discrimination. But running a good business is the only thing that Michael Benoit is guilty of. Instead of throwing fits, we should be fighting the law, painting picket signs and demanding the change of the only law that we as “adults” are denied. After all, isn’t it written somewhere that we are all guaranteed the right to life, liberty and a good ass burger?