Harry Faber, a bouncer at Molly's scans IDs and lets Lehigh students and Bethlehem residents in on Sept. 8. Molly's Irish Grille and Sports Pub is a bar located in South Bethlehem. (Xinyi Ren/BW Staff)

Local bars manage underage drinking


Since the start of the semester, local bars on Bethlehem’s South Side have seen an influx of underage students attempting entry.

F&A Grog House, located on East Third Street, is asking underage students to keep away. 

“We don’t need the underage business,” General Manager Jim Flynn said. “I think if you talk to the other owners down here, they would say that exact statement. We don’t need underage business. All it does is get you in trouble.” 

Grog House, which opened 15 months ago, brings in professional security on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Flynn said all of their employees are Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) certified and go through a course that teaches them to identify a fake ID. 

“The problem today is that kids have very good technology for fake IDs,” Flynn said. “A lot of them scan, even if they’re technically not of age, and we can’t tell because the ID looks real, has holograms on it.”

By law, Grog House cannot confiscate IDs, even if they suspect them to be fake. However, Flynn said the security company they employ can. 

Flynn said the professional security company has a set of rules they follow when dealing with IDs. They work with the DMV and the state to decide how to handle a fake ID situation. 

Grog House has never contacted LUPD for underage drinking but has for theft and vandalism, Flynn said. 

A few blocks away on East Fourth Street, Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub has recently implemented new ID scanners.

General Manager Madison-Mya Nagai said if their scanners recognize an ID to be fake, that information will be sent to the scanner company. The AI system catalogs it, so future scans will be more accurate. 

“The company is constantly updating what a fake (ID) is,” Nagai said. “For some of them, it’s just that the font is shifted a little bit over and it catches that. It’ll tell us what it is on that ID that made them say it was fake.”

Nagai said some of the giveaways for a fake ID are peeling corners and the placement of a person’s head in their ID photo. 

An undergraduate student, who asked to be identified by the initials D.M. said they like that local bars offer a different social scene than on-campus student organizations. 

D.M said in recent years, Molly’s has cracked down on fake IDs using their new scanning system. When D.M. was a first-year student, Molly’s did not scan IDs, they said.

The entrance of Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub. Molly’s is a Bethlehem bar that serves drinks and Irish comfort food. (Xinyi Ren/B&W Staff)

Nagai said she wants to see Molly’s be the best it can be, and that their nightlife scene is geared toward Lehigh students.

“We don’t want to get fines. I don’t want to lose my job,” Nagai said. “This is my full-time job. I’ve been here for a long time. I plan to be here for a long time. For me, this isn’t part-time, weekend work. This is my life.”

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