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Bartender says serving minor a beer was ‘honest mistake’ 

Kim Winkler was the bartender on duty during the recent police minor alcohol sting.

Kim Winkler was the bartender on duty during the recent police minor alcohol sting. Photo courtesy of Pine Street Saloon.

Video shows minor decoy being carded – bartender says poor eyesight to blame for reading 1997 as 1991

Kim Winkler was the bartender on duty March 28 when the Paso Robles Police Department conducted a sting operation to put local bars and stores to the test to see if they would sell alcohol to a minor. Pine Street Saloon was the only location out of the 13 businesses involved that the police determined did sell alcohol to a minor.

Paso Robles Daily News readers and locals expressed their shock at the result, sharing their personal experiences of always being carded at the saloon.

Winkler said that, during the sting operation, she did check the minor’s I.D., taking it from him and placing it under the light of the bar, as shown in the video below, and saw that the I.D. appeared to be issued in 1991, before serving the minor a beer. Her eyesight ended up being the culprit, as it turned out that the I.D. actually was issued in 1997, making the decoy 18 rather than 24.

“It was an honest mistake,” said Winkler, who came forward to explain the situation because she was worried that the result would tarnish the reputation of the bar, a reputation for always carding. Owner Ron French “is like a father to me,” she said. “The bar has been like a family,” she said with tears forming in her eyes. “I’m a non-drinking bartender, and I card everyone. I feel so bad, it was an honest mistake…I didn’t want to hurt our reputation.”

French said that he immediately sent Winkler to the eye doctor to get a prescription. Eye doctors did determine that Winkler’s eyesight was poor and suggested that she begin wearing contacts or glasses. French said that he now will make sure that all of his employees undergo eye checks.

Both the bar and Winkler will be facing possible fines, as well as a probationary period— or worse. French said that the situation is now in the hands of Alcoholic Beverage Control or ABC, but that he is “hoping for the best.” When asked if the citation being the effect of an honest mistake on the part of the bartender would effect the ABC’s judgment, French said, “I don’t know, maybe, we’ll see.”




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