A TikTok about a local downtown bar, Mother’s Tavern, snapping a 23-year-old’s ID has amassed over 14 million views and 2 million likes since it was posted on Jan. 23.
The video was posted by user @kristen_nicoles, who was visiting San Luis Obispo from about five hours away.
In the video, Nicoles talked of an incident that happened the night before. It had been taken down following the incident, but it is now back up on the social media platform.
“I did put the video for only ‘me’ to see at the moment because I noticed after the fact of posting it that the video you can see my ID number,” Nicoles told Mustang News. “I did not post that video to go viral, I really thought it would get about maybe 500 views.”
Since the original TikTok, Nicoles posted four storytime videos detailing her experience with the bar.
“I have been getting into bars since I turned 21 with this ID and have had no issues whatsoever at all, until Sunday night,” she said.
According to her videos, Nicoles was bar-hopping on Sunday night with friends. Although she is 23 years old, she has a vertical ID that expires in 2024.
She started at Mother’s Tavern, commonly known as MoTav, and had no issues with her ID at first. Later in the night, she came back to MoTav to use the restroom. As she showed the same bouncer her ID and stamp of entry, the bouncer said he would need to keep the ID with him.
“I only went to the bar for the second time to use the restroom. I didn’t order any drinks,” Nicoles said. “I literally went to the back of the bar, used the restroom and I wanted to leave.”
After using the restroom, she went to find the bouncer with her ID.
“The bouncer then proceeds to walk up to me and he’s like ‘Your ID is fake,” [and] hands me both pieces (of my ID snapped in half),” Nicoles said.
In posting the original TikTok, Nicoles said, “It was my real raw reaction. I was obviously very upset. This is the only identification I have.”
Following the incident, Nicoles turned to San Luis Obispo Police. Instead of filing a police report, Mother Tavern’s owner and Nicoles agreed on compensation for the snapped ID, although Nicoles will still need to replace her ID on her own. The owner invited Nicoles and her friends back to the bar for free drinks, to which they declined.
Other MoTav regulars like recent Cal Poly graduate Sophie Lincoln were surprised at the news.
Because of its lively atmosphere, ample room for dancing and ability to bump into friends, Lincoln would frequent her “favorite” bar almost every week after turning 21.
During her time as a customer, Lincoln never had any issues and described employees as “informed.”
She had never heard of MoTav snapping real IDs before.
“I was definitely surprised just because I know people who’ve worked at [Mother’s Tavern] told me that there is a pretty stringent process for identifying fake versus real IDs,” Lincoln said.
Nicoles said there have been claims the incident was fake — that she went to a random bar in San Luis Obispo and cut her own ID.
“That’s not what happened,” Nicoles said. “Why would I do that to a small business? Why would I do that to myself? Karma always comes back, that’s really what I believe in.”
Nicoles does not blame the owner for the incident.
“This was in no way the owner’s fault honestly,” she said. “It was the bouncer. He was just untrained, uneducated.”
Even though this was an unfortunate experience, Nicoles does not wish any negativity towards the bar.
“My intention was not to hurt the owner or the business — I was in shock that the bouncer would snap my ID,” she told Mustang News. “I did not intend or think that people would write bad reviews about the bar.”
Nicoles said she would not return to MoTav in the future and instead will visit other bars in the area.
Mustang News reached out to Mother’s Tavern, but they declined to comment.