Thursday night started like any other at The Wood’s Bar — or as some affectionately call it, “The New Bar” — with students gradually pouring in to enjoy their favorite drinks. It ended with a bartender and two underage students in handcuffs, the former charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, the latter two with underage purchase and possession of alcohol.
According to police reports, Miami University junior Sarabjot Makkar, 18, approached the bar around 2 a.m. Friday, Sept. 24 and ordered two beers from junior bartender Melissa Hendler. Despite the lack of a wristband or “X” markings on his hands, Hendler allegedly served Makkar while neglecting to ask for identification.
According to police reports, Makkar then handed his spare beer to another minor, first-year Nathan Bailey, 18, when a plainclothes Oxford Police Department (OPD) officer intervened. Hendler, Makkar and Bailey were then taken into custody and escorted from the bar.
According to OPD Sgt. Jim Squance, this is the first time this year a bartender has been arrested for serving a minor, but not the first time OPD has cracked down on bar employees.
“It’s absolutely not the first time this kind of thing has happened, but it is the first time it has happened this year,” Squance said. “Generally we don’t cite the owner of the bar, but the bar employee who actually serves the alcohol.”
Owner Ted Wood declined to say whether or not Hendler would remain employed at The Wood’s and Squance said there is no law barring her from returning.
“Unless it is court ordered, there is really no (action taken) beyond the citation,” Squance said. “There is no law that says once you have been cited, you can no longer bartend. The punishment is really up to the court.”