The Most Specific Sign Ever Seen at an Amex Centurion Lounge

by SharonKurheg

Imagine having a long, hard day of travel after a decidedly sorrowful morning. You’ve driven from Central Nebraska, where you’ve just attended the funeral of a close relative, to Denver (DEN). Before your United Airlines flight 772 to DFW, you have some time to spend, so you go to the Centurion Lounge in Concourse C.

You decide a drink would be nice. Your partner goes to get both you and himself a drink, and he is declined for the second glass. Hmmm…odd. He’s told that you have to go and get your own (even though the bartender can see you sitting there, just a few feet away). You get to the bar and notice several copies of the following sign scattered around the bar:

a sign on a tableAmerican Express Centurion Lounge Denver

Bar service hours 7am thru 10:30am
Morning Cocktail selection:

Bloody Mary: Mimosa: Screwdriver:
Baileys and Coffee: Beer and Wine:

Full Bar Starts at 10:30 am till 9:30pm

B͟a͟r͟ ͟D͟r͟i͟n͟k͟ ͟P͟o͟l͟i͟c͟y͟:͟
One drink her card member, every fifteen minutes.
Everyone must present valid Id.
No Shots: If Neat 30 minutes in between drinks.
We reserve the right to refuse service.

A͟c͟c͟e͟p͟t͟a͟b͟l͟e͟ ͟F͟o͟r͟m͟s͟ ͟o͟f͟ ͟I͟D͟:͟
State issued Identification card.
Military ID.

U͟n͟a͟c͟c͟e͟p͟t͟a͟b͟l͟e͟ ͟F͟o͟r͟m͟s͟ ͟o͟f͟ ͟I͟D͟:͟
Vertical ID.
Canceled weapons ID.
Global Entry.
Out of the country Issued ID.
Damaged, Expired or broken ID’s.
Virtual or picture of IDs.

That’s pretty specific, but that’s what Texas resident Jamie M. encountered the other day.

Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors set aside (should we assume that “Canceled weapons ID” is code for “Concealed weapons ID?” And since when is a Global Entry card not a valid ID? And heaven forbid you want something other than a Bloody Mary, Screwdriver, Baileys and coffee, or “Beer and Wine” [COMBINED?!?!?!] as a morning cocktail), it’s not the kind of sign you typically see at a Centurion Lounge. Acceptable and unacceptable forms of ID? Frequency of drinks? One drink per person?  I mean, Joe and I were just at a Centurion Lounge this past Sunday…not only was he able to get drinks for both himself and for me (Him: bourbon on the rocks, Me: sparkling wine with cranberry), the only signage at the bar was the menu.

two glasses of wine and a drink on a table
Needless to say, the sign at the Centurion Lounge at DEN certainly wouldn’t make anyone feel particularly welcome. Jamie said some of the staff didn’t help matters, either.

My [partner] went to get us each a drink and he was declined for the second glass,” said Jamie. “I had to go and get my own, even though the bartender could see me sitting here. The female bartender was rude about it and to the three people in front of me as well.” She did say that the female bartender’s male counterpart was very nice, though.

“…the female bartender did say she had to evaluate whether we were drunk before serving us. When I was being served by the male bartender, she said I was feisty, ‘so watch out for me.’ Then she said she was kidding. I said I had buried my father-in-law today, so yes, I’ve had a day,” Jamie continued.

Ryan, the male bartender, expressed his condolences, as did the person next in line at the bar. But the female bartender? Nope, didn’t phase her a bit.


Jason D., a member of the Travel Grumps 101 Facebook group was the one who posted Jamie’s photo the other day (they’re friends). The response to the post was over 100 replies in less than two hours, and brought up some very interesting conversation:

  • Pondering why Global Entry didn’t count as valid ID, when (A) a Global Entry card is a DHS trusted traveler card and counts as Real ID and (B) is, in some ways, harder to get than a driver’s license.
  • Going through the difference between drinking a shot and drinking something “neat” (they’re essentially the same thing, but “neat” is bigger, hence the longer wait between drinks? Although most people who drink something “neat” will tend to sip, not chug)
  • Explaining what a vertical ID was (issued to people under age 21)
  • Why ID issued in other countries wouldn’t be OK (this one is actually pretty typical. Bartenders are generally used to IDs from other states. From other countries? Not so much. And what if the driver’s license is from a country where English isn’t the primary language? Would YOU know where to look for the date of birth of these people at quick glance?
    a woman's face and a identification card
    That’s why many places in the U.S. only allow visitors from other countries to show their passports as ID.
  • The Capital One Lounge just opened on November 3rd (here’s what Forbes has to say about it), so why is anyone going anywhere else? (that one made me giggle)
  • Someone said there’s a similar sign at IAH. People there were apparently NOT HAPPY they couldn’t get their espresso martinis before 10:30am.

Then finally someone explained the probable reasoning for the signs: The company that runs the lounge also has a company in Denver. Someone THERE got busted for selling to an underage person (that’s a class 2 misdemeanor in the state of Colorado, which is punishable by imprisonment of 6 to 18 months, fines of $500 to $5,000, or both. A penalty can be reduced or lessened depending on certain factors of the case). So boom…new rules.

And this is why we can’t have nice things.

*** MANY thanks to Jason D. for sharing Jamie’s photo and connecting Jamie and me, and to Jamie M. for sharing her story and allowing her photo to be shared!

Feature Photo: The Centurion Lounge

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Courtney November 15, 2023 - 6:00 pm

A concealed weapons permit in Texas is a valid state-issued ID. You can use it to vote.

AC November 16, 2023 - 1:18 pm

As for the limited drinks before 10:30 I don’t know about Colorado but here in NC they can only serve “breakfast drinks” (oxymoron I know) up until around 10 or 11 and it is limited to similar drinks. May be more common across the US than I realized

LB November 16, 2023 - 10:10 pm

Actually had this at the SFO Centurion Lounge last month. They wouldn’t serve more than one drink at a time, then requested my friend front up for the other drink – despite him being 3 feet away and in line-of-sight. Odd behaviour, mean-spirited (yes a pun), and a very juvenile way of treating customers. Needs to change. Considering how packed these lounges are, creating more congestion around the bar and the constant repremanding of customers is poor form.

dee November 17, 2023 - 1:40 am

Strange Lounges-Denver and SFO.. Denver bartenders especially not nice there!! Moody at SFO and the one drink at a time.. My daughter had her baby on her lap and so I went to get 2 glasses of bubbles for us… NOT…


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