We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

London, United...
Level Contributor
42 posts
Save Topic
Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

Just back from my first ever trip to New York or USA and I absolutely loved it. I will do a trip report in a bit with full, rambling details but I just wanted to give a quick bit of advice so someone else can avoid my mistake.

People might think this is painfully obvious but it did catch me out.

If you are wanting to have alcoholic drinks while at Madison Square Gardens and you are from outside of the USA (I don't know if Canadians would be ok) make sure you remember to take your passport with you not just a driving license. I get used to using a driving license when travelling within the EU as ID for drinks so didn't think to take a passport but here they would not accept it. They did seem to be asking everybody to show ID, even people who were clearly about 50. This was at an NBA game, I can't vouch for any other events.

Just thought I'd let people know as it did detract from the experience slightly not being able to have a beer while enjoying watching what was otherwise a great game. Well Golden State were great, the Knicks were woeful :) but I enjoyed the experience.

As a side note, getting tickets from Stubhub for collection was really simple. Just note that you don't pick the tickets up from the venue, you get them from their office just off Broadway.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
8,097 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

I think only MSG has this policy. I really don't see any sense in it ...but who knows what is behind MSG's thinking.

My friends from Australia have been able to get a beer at Yankee Stadium and Metlife ( GIants/Jets) stadium without any problem.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
8,097 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

Also, glad you had a great time. Waiting on your trip report :).

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
55,672 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

A lot of sporting/concert venues require ID from all customers. Some airport bars too. Leaves them less open to risk of serving underaged and losing their lucrative alcohol license. If they ID "everyone", it takes the judgement aspect out of the hands of a busy bartender. "He looks 23 so I'll serve him, she looks 19 so I'll ask for ID...". Nope. Easier just to get ID from everyone.

Does your UK drivers license have a photograph? I've seen some posts from UK people about not carrying "the picture part" of the license.

London, United...
Level Contributor
42 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

Yeah it is a photo ID. It did seem a bit of an odd policy to me, the girl behind the bar said I should find somebody else to show ID on my behalf which seemed even more strange.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
8,097 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

It is a totally bizarre policy at MSG ...and absolutely does not make any sense to me. I guess the people behind the bar realize how stupid this policy is, but they have a job to do. That is the reason they ask someone else to buy it for you.....because they know.

MSG is changing management soon and hopefully they are going to change this policy. From what i understand it is a fairly recent policy of checking passports instead of regular IDs.

Oh well... !!!!

San Frantastic
Level Contributor
947 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

Well, this is interesting to me because I recently used my passport in a liquor store, and the girl at the register had to check with her manager to see if they could accept it. He seemed a bit dubious at first, but I did get my gin.

Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
16,015 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

**MSG is changing management soon and hopefully they are going to change this policy.**

Same guy will still be running MSG so don't be too hopeful.

I actually think it is a good policy.

Why deal with having to screen for fake ID's/licenses/etc. and then be liable if they miss one?

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
25,351 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

It's also the policy at Red Bull Arena - either a US-issued driver's license, or else a Passport. I think it's about not being able to identify forged foreign licenses. Sporting venues in general tend to have extremely strict policies about carding people.

Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
16,015 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

On the flip side....I have never been carded at the Barclay's Center for drinks.

London, United...
Level Contributor
42 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Madison Square Gardens - Take your passport as ID for drinks

Yeah I can see that with that number of bars and that many people its easiest just to have a blanket policy of ID everyone. Not like you are going to go buy your beer somewhere else.

Anyway just thought I'd let people know.

I would have preferred to go to the Barclays Center if the Nets had of been playing, next time maybe.