Citing its decision as an effort to cut down on “creeps” and other people lurking around the bar and dance floor on weekends, Midway on High said it has started requiring a student ID in addition to a driver’s license for entry on Friday and Saturday nights.
The plan to eliminate non-students from the bar was announced last month on Midway’s official Twitter account, @MidwayonHigh. The account tweeted, “In an effort to cut down on [weird] (sic) non-student creepy people at the bar, we will be checking for college ID at the doors at 11.”
Midway, which serves customers 21 years of age and older, had been receiving complaints from patrons who claimed older people visiting the bar on weekend nights exhibited strange behavior and performed various illegal activities like thefts, said Chang Song, a 2012 Ohio State graduate and manager at Midway.
“There’s been incidents in the past … where the crowds were not ideal in terms of the demographic coming,” he said.
According to RAIDS Online, a website that tracks crimes, Midway had been the site of 25 reported crimes in the last year. RAIDS is an acronym that stands for “Regional Analysis and Information Data Sharing.” These crimes included one robbery, three assaults and 15 thefts. However, there have not been any reported crimes at Midway since the end of January.
Song said Midway is a college bar with a business model aimed at students, and he wants to keep it that way.
“We don’t want pickpockets, thieves. It goes so far as people doing other crimes of sorts, sexual in nature,” he said. “We want to keep that out of here.”
But Song said Midway isn’t trying to stop people from having fun. All college IDs will be accepted, he said, although there are still some “gray areas” that will require staff to use their best judgement.
“In terms of certain people who don’t have a BuckID or college ID … we kind of look at the group and say, ‘Here’s a bunch of students with their friend who’s from Indiana and forgot their student ID.’ Well, we’re not going to preclude you from coming in,” he said.
The decision to require a college ID was done primarily to ensure student safety, Song said.
“This wasn’t a decision driven on business,” he said. “I want (students) to enjoy a safe environment … It’s not always about dollar signs.”
The decision to have patrons show college IDs is a relatively new policy among campus-area bars, as most only require patrons to show their valid 21-year-old ID for entry.
Song said that although Midway and nearby bar Ethyl & Tank have the same ownership, only Midway has adopted this policy.
Melanie Leonard, a third-year in fashion and retail merchandising and a bartender at Midway, said that since the new policy has been implemented, there have been far less incidents in the bar.
“It seems like a more relaxed crowd,” she said. “Our biggest issue lately has been people being too drunk.”
Columbus Division of Police Sgt. Rich Weiner said “only time will tell” how effective Midway’s new policy will be.
“When you talk about safety, it’s hard to really put a policy on it because safety is more than a policy, it’s an awareness,” he said. “People have a responsibility for themselves to be safe.”
Evan Butler, a fourth-year in biology, said he thinks the new policy is a good idea, citing the need for college students to be happy and have a good time at bars.
“They (Midway) get most of their business from college (students)…you wanna obviously make them happy,” Butler said.
He also said that Midway might use the new system to its advantage when trying to keep underage students out of the bar.
“It’s a way to check IDs for a second time … They’re probably thinking that in the back of their head,” he said.