October 18, 2021

Stone Lounge reopening

New owner promises stricter ID enforcement

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Camron Fuller, the new owner of the stone Lounge on Main street, Cortland, sorts T-shirts Tuesday in preparation for reopening the tavern. The business was closed three years ago by the state Liquor Authority after a series of infractions under the previous ownership.

When the Stone Lounge opens in August, it will be under new ownership, which plans to ensure measures are in place to make sure no underage drinkers make it inside the establishment.

“It’s a matter of getting the right people in here that are going to take checking IDs seriously,” said Camron Fuller, the new owner. “I have over 20 years of experience myself in the bar business, I can spot a fake ID a mile away.”

Fake IDs and underage drinking was an issue that the previous owner of the bar went through and one that eventually led to the closure of the place.

The Stone Lounge’s license was suspended in November 2017 following allegations of underage drinking; the Cortland Police Department recorded 111 cases of alleged sales to minors. Following this suspension, the state revoked the Stone Lounge’s liquor license on Aug. 29, 2018, according to Bill Crowley, spokesman for the State Liquor Authority.

“We’ve already spoken to the new owner, manager,” said Cortland police Lt. David Guerrera. “He’s assured us it will be a different business atmosphere.”

Guerrera said Fuller described it more as a dining atmosphere, “more like a Hairy Tony’s than a Dark Horse.”

“When things open up, we’ll pay him a visit and see how things are,” Guerrera said.

Fuller said he not only plans to make sure the people at the door know how to spot a fake ID, but that bartenders do, too, through a course that also teaches responsible serving.

“A lot of people train their door people but they don’t train their bartenders,” Fuller said.

He said one of the things the previous owner purchased before the bar shut down was a $5,000 computer system that checks IDs, the same model the state Liquor Authority recommends.

“Everybody will have to have their ID scanned and if the scanner says it’s no good then you don’t come in,” he said.

He said that although he could potentially fill the place with 400 people — 200 during the coronavirus — he would rather only fill it with 50 people he knows are of age.

“I’d like this place to stay open for 10 years,” or longer, he said.

Fuller said one good thing about the coronavirus is that fewer college students are around right now.

“The less college kids around, the less chance of people trying to come up to the door with fake IDs,” he said.

However, Fuller said once he discovers a fake ID, he’s not exactly sure what he has to do with them.

Guerrera said Fuller has the right to confiscate fake IDs.

“He can turn it over to police or the state Liquor Authority,” Guerrera said. “If he doesn’t know for sure (if it’s fake) he can always call us.”

He said Fuller can also warn the kids not to use a fake ID again or call the police.

Fuller said he had hoped to open July 29, but “realistically speaking probably not until the second week of August.”