Alleycat Sets The Bar To Combat Underage Drinking

Alleycat, a downtown Oswego bar located at 23 West Bridge Street

OSWEGO – Another college weekend is down in the books and Alleycat of Oswego has no plans of stopping the extra measures they’ve implemented to ensure the law on underage drinking is upheld.

Alleycat, a downtown Oswego bar and state registered night club located at 23 W. Bridge Street, has enacted multiple procedures to make certain that underage drinking is curbed to the fullest extent possible within the establishment.

“We have made a few changes, all of them for the safety of our customers and community. We just want to make sure everyone has fun and does it safely and responsibly,” said Alleycat head bartender and DJ, Mike Howell.

Alleycat, a downtown Oswego bar located at 23 West Bridge Street
(Photo credit: Mike Howell) Alleycat, a downtown Oswego bar located at 23 West Bridge Street

Within the last year, Alleycat set the bar for underage drinking control with the investment of AIDD, Advanced ID Detection, a high-tech ID scanner that is able to authenticate every ID that is scanned upon entrance.

“While other scanners generally read the bar code of a provided identification, fake IDs have increased in their ability to duplicate bar codes and magnetic strips and pass for real, legal identification. That’s where this machine comes in. Within 5 seconds of scanning an ID, I can see all of the information it provides and will have a clear answer to whether it is real or not,” said Howell.

After scanning each ID, a picture of the license as well as a picture of the person entering the business are taken and stored in the system for easy recall when necessary.

There have been instances at Alleycat since the technology has been installed in which the Oswego City Police have asked about specific individuals.

This machine has made it possible for Howell and the rest of Alleycat staff to easily pull up pictures and information within exact time frames to give to police in compliance of their requests.

In the 2015 spring semester alone, the AIDD machine helped to detect and retrieve between 500 and 600 fake IDs to be forfeited to the Oswego Police Department.

Since the return of college in August of this year, this technology is on its way to detecting a similar number of underage drinker IDs.

“We want it to be known that we have a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. It’s very rare that our machine wouldn’t catch someone with a fake ID, but in the off chance we have other ways to double check,” said Howell.

Alleycat, a NYS registered night club, has plenty of room both upstairs and downstairs for dancing.
(Photo Credit: Mike Howell) Alleycat, a NYS registered night club, has plenty of room both upstairs and downstairs for dancing.

Aside from the machine, each bartender is responsible for checking IDs and they all reserve the right to refuse service to customers whose IDs may be in question or who seem unable to safely consume any more alcohol.

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell. People use IDs that are very much real but from people who look similar to them. We don’t hesitate to ask questions, make sure they are in fact the person presented on the ID. We do this at the door and behind the bar,” added Howell.

Alleycat has fully staffed security upon entrance of the building, all of whom are certified and licensed through NYS security.

Howell makes it known that any member of security or bartender working has the right and ability to turn away any customer that is visibly intoxicated or creating an unsafe atmosphere for others.

The building also has a total of seven security cameras which provide coverage of the entire building both inside and out at all hours of operation.

Aside from changes in safety and security, Alleycat has made other changes for customers to enjoy.

The bar recently went through a remodeling period as to provide a fresh scene and new environment for customers.

“We’ve made small and big steps to improve. We’ve tried to make it more affordable, we have new specials as well as new beers and liquors. Our sound is different with a new mix of music, we like to switch it up and keep everyone satisfied with what they’re hearing,” continued Howell.

Customers have accessibility to a dance floor and stage, usage of an upstairs dance area next to the DJ booth and can watch promotions or music videos projected on a 96 inch screen as well as two 45 inch televisions behind the bar.

Alleycat now offers Snapchat users a personalized geotag to show their friends where they are when using the app.
(Photo Credit: Mike Howell) Alleycat now offers Snapchat users a personalized geotag to show their friends where they are when using the app.

Recently, Alleycat added a new social media platform by adding a new geotag to the Snapchat application on mobile phones.

Now, customers at Alleycat that use the ever-popular Snapchat app, can use a personalized geotag to show their friends where they are.

With these new measures in place, Alleycat looks forward to plans of eventually transforming currently unused attic space into more square footage of music and dance.

“We’ve really taken the initiative at Alleycat and we hope others will follow. We have a zero tolerance policy, everyone must be 21, no exceptions. We want to provide safe, responsible partying for our customers and also allow them to have the most fun possible. We like to keep our community safe, and we really appreciate all the support,” Howell said.

For more information on Alleycat specials and hours, visit their Facebook page here or follow them on Twitter, @AlleycatofOswego.

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  1. Did suddenly sprout a humor section? This IS minorville. Security?? They should get their vision checked. Humorous through n through.

  2. I know mike personally and he is trying to change that bar for the better. i was with him last night & watched him deny 5 or 6 kids. mike does all the work. I never went to alley cats until harborfest and we had a ball. the staff is friendly, the service is quick and they play every genre of music. it’s one of those bars where if you wanna party and have a good time go there. The ferris wheel is a joke and a disgrace to what it used to be back in the day not to mention they are all underage there… So good for mike for trying to make it better. Keep up the good work man!

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