Central New York Bars Reinforce Rules for College Students Central New York Bars Reinforce Rules for College Students

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — It has been nearly two and a half weeks since 22-year-old University of Missouri student Riley Strain disappeared after getting kicked out of a Nashville bar while vacationing with his fraternity brothers. Last Friday, March 22, Riley’s body was found in the Cumberland River, just eight miles from where he was last seen. After a primary autopsy, police are continuing to report that his death was an accident. The news has brought attention to college bars all across the nation, including Central New York.

Bars downtown like Margaritas Mexican Cantina and Wolff’s Biergarten are common spots for college students from Onondaga Community College, Le Moyne College and Syracuse University to gather.

Margaritas recently opened up Margaritas After Dark, which turns the restaurant into a club-like space on weekends.

“Margaritas has a scanner at the door for events and as long as [students] show an ID, and are 21, they can come in,” Owner Alejandro Gonzalez said.

Biergarten has college nights all weekend long and even hosts trivia on Thursdays.

“My bartenders are all New York State TIP trained,” Biergarten General Manager Dylan Volk said.

TIPS, also known as Training for Intervention Procedures, teaches staff how to recognize and prevent intoxication. Volk says that having his staff fully trained in the alcohol service industry is extremely important to him.

Volk also shared that the training processes are long, usually lasting over the course of a few months. He added that Biergarten has cameras.

“If anything goes down we do have the capability to go over those,” Volk said.

Both Volk and Gonzalez shared that they haven’t had many problems with underage drinking or overconsumption much in the past. They are both very aware of the laws in New York State. 

The laws in New York state regarding alcohol consumption:

  • Anyone under the age of 21 cannot drink.
  • IDs must be checked before serving alcohol at bars.
  • Bar staff must recognize signs of intoxication and refuse service to already drunk individuals.
  • Bars must follow Dram Shop laws, which state that bar owners can get in trouble if they serve alcohol to someone drunk who later harms another person.

“There might be increased scrutiny from authorities and potential legal repercussions for establishments found to be serving alcohol irresponsibly,” Matthew Malinowski of the Syracuse Police Department said. This comes after the death of Riley Strain.

Both Margaritas and Biergarten say they plan to strengthen their security in the coming weeks.

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