On any Thursday around 10 p.m., students can be seen heading to bars around the Loyola community. Many file into Bar 63, housed in a property owned by Loyola, while others venture to Bulldog Ale House on North Sheridan Road.
Unofficially dubbed “Thirsty Thursday” by students, many underaged students attempt to use fraudulent IDs to enter the bars close to campus.
“I like going to [Bar] 63 because it’s so cheap and close to Loyola. Also, it’s fun to have a night out with friends,” said a student who wanted to remain unnamed because they said the ID they use is fraudulent.
Security guards at 63 use an ultraviolet (UV) light to check IDs. This UV reveals hidden images within the hologram of different state IDs.
On an average Thursday, four-to-five fake IDs are confiscated at 63, according to Junior Juarez, a security guard at 63.
Juarez said the bar began using UV technology last year to better identify fake IDs after an incident with an underaged student who got alcohol poisoning while at 63.
“It’s a problem. Last year, we had an incident where a girl was underage and she showed me her fake, but it was a really good fake because we didn’t have the blue light last year. She got alcohol poisoning that night,” Juarez said.
Zachary Lindner, general manager of 63, said fake IDs have become very convincing in recent years. He said if a student gets alcohol poisoning and Loyola discovers the ID used was fake, 63 isn’t liable because the fake ID that was used was believed to be real.
“63 has had it multiple times where a person will get super drunk to the point of alcohol poisoning and [Campus Safety says] ‘Well, they are underage’ and we are like ‘We have an ID for them’ and they are like ‘You did what you needed to do,’” Lindner said.
However, Thomas Murray, director of Loyola Campus Safety, said this has never been a deal between Campus Safety and 63.
“We have no side agreements with 63 or other bars. They are required as a licensed liquor establishment to follow the law,” Murray said. “Their liability is not determined by Campus Safety. We are looking for licensed establishments to be good neighbors.”
The Illinois Liquor Control Commission, a state agency that regulates licensing, investigations, legalities and the alcohol industry, states that unless the fake ID used was known to be fake, proof that identification was asked for and presented may be used as a defense in court proceedings involving the bar’s license being revoked.
In other words, if a bar has every reason to believe an ID is real, then it can use this in its defense if complications arise or if the bar’s liquor license is at risk of being revoked, according to Lindner.
At Bulldog, general manager Michael Blaha said security guards at Bulldog give confiscated fake IDs directly to the Chicago Police Department.
Blaha said when Bulldog first opened last year, many students attempted to enter on Thursday nights with fake IDs, but the bar has always had tight security to prevent fake IDs from being used.
“We have a bouncer checking IDs at the door on Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 10 o’clock,” Blaha said. “We use a [UV light], we also get an update from Chicago [police] on how to check for certain IDs. We also have scanners, each of the managers have a scanner that we use [on] our phone.”
Lindner explained that 63 gives the confiscated IDs to Campus Safety to handle further consequences.
Murray said 63 will call Campus Safety to collect the fake IDs, and then Campus Safety forwards the IDs to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) to deal with consequences. At Loyola, there are multiple ways of addressing general misconduct.
“Anything from reflective assignments, values workshops within the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution,” Jeff Gardner, director of OSCCR, said. “We can sometimes do mentoring activities, and we do also have active statuses that students can be placed on too, such as university probation which is possible for situations involving fake IDs as well as fines in some cases.”
While confiscation of IDs at 63 is often dealt with internally through the university, the Illinois State Police has conducted raids in the past at 63, and other bars in Rogers Park, in attempts to combat the use of fake IDs around campus.
On a Thursday night in November 2014, 63, as well as the Pumping Company on North Broadway Street — which has since closed — were both raided by the Illinois State Police and 45 students were caught with possession of fake IDs, The PHOENIX reported.
Those students were charged with a Class A misdemeanor for the unlawful possession of fake IDs with bail charges potentially set at $1,500. However, if they appeared in court, they received an exemption from charges, The PHOENIX reported.
While the police extended a courtesy to those students that night, the repercussions with the law can, in some cases, be much more serious. In Illinois, the possession of a fake ID is enough to be convicted of a Class IV felony punishable by one to three years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
Fake IDs have grown in prevalence since the legal drinking age was raised to 21-year-old in 1984.
Authorities in Toledo, Ohio recently seized $4.7 million in bitcoins and several computers and printers from a large fake ID operation in the home of Mark Simon, a man who was allegedly running the operation through Reddit, a discussion website. Simon was charged with creating and sending fake IDs, according to an article by Time magazine.
However, today’s global economy also gives students the ability to import fake IDs from countries such as China. The manufacturers ship the IDs concealed in things such as tea sets and picture frames, The New York Times reported.
While there are students getting caught by these bars, there are still students getting past the door. Identifying fake IDs is becoming more difficult because of increased holographic and scanning technology from vendors such as IDGod, a website that sells fake IDs.
Lindner said the bar is doing everything it can to make sure fake IDs aren’t getting past the door.
Many students hadn’t heard about these policies until The PHOENIX brought it to their attention. However, many are still willing to take the risk.
“Originally hearing about the crackdown, I was initially scared, but then I remembered that I have gotten into 63 and they haven’t done anything yet,” a student who wanted to remain unnamed because they said they use a fake ID said. “I haven’t heard any stories of them taking it, so I’ll still go, because to me right now it just seems like empty threats.”
Despite the continued use of fake IDs at Bar 63, the staff is working to reduce underage drinking and to keep students safe.
“That’s honestly the only thing we can do,” Lindner said. “I don’t think that there is a way that we can be proactive about making sure people don’t come underage with IDs.”