Several Binghamton bars and convenience stores experienced trouble over the weekend for serving and selling alcohol to minors.
The Binghamton Police Department (BPD) arrested six people on misdemeanor charges for serving alcohol to minors on Saturday morning. Several of the suspects arrested were employees at liquor and convenience stores, while others were bartenders at popular student hangouts in Downtown Binghamton. An underage female working undercover with BPD received drinks at Tom & Marty’s, The Colonial and Parlor City Pub.
According to a bartender at Tom & Marty’s, who asked to remain anonymous, the undercover female’s identification was not checked when she approached, and she was served alcohol. The bartender who served her was arrested and the bar received a fine.
The undercover operation is the first this year. BPD previously targeted underage drinking in Downtown bars in 2012, when officers raided several establishments on State Street, including The Rathskeller Pub. Underage drinking has also been discussed by members of the Town-Gown Advisory Board, which was formed in 2017 to tackle issues impacting both the community and Binghamton University. In May 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched “Operation Prevent,” an initiative aimed at curbing underage drinking, making the issue a priority of New York state.
The penalties for selling alcohol to minors in New York can vary and include fines, probation, license revocation and jail. Depending on the severity and the intentionality of the crime, fines can be more than $1,000 and adults providing alcohol to people under 21 years old can be jailed for up to a year.
Bars can also receive fines and have their liquor licenses revoked for serving a minor, regardless of whether the vendor knew the customer was of age. A bar without a liquor license cannot legally operate in the state.
As students headed to the bars on Friday night, the atmosphere was different than usual. A senior student at BU, who wished to remain anonymous, said State Street didn’t feel the same after the undercover operation.
“We heard rumors the bars were going to be raided before we even went out around 9:30,” the student said. “When we made it to the bars, I noticed a lot more cops hanging around the lines than usual. Usually, there’s only two total, but I saw two hanging outside of Tom’s, a couple near JT’s and two near the line outside the Rat.”
BPD did not respond to requests for comment by press time.