New rules at Gaffney’s “working,” officials say

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A bar in Saratoga is still a popular spot this summer, with new rules following a string of violence on Caroline Street. Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner, Jim Montagnino, says heightened police presence and other new operating regulations have been working well at Gaffney’s.

“We’re a party town. There’s no getting around that,” Montagnino said in an interview with NEWS10. “We’re proud to be a party town, but the parties have to be orderly, and they have to be safe.”

Backstreet Boys fans turned out to the Caroline Street bar in droves when the band stopped by for autographs after a recent concert at SPAC.

“A lot of people appeared, and things were pretty peaceful. No major complaints,” Montagnino recalled. “I think the only complaints were people who couldn’t get in. There were long lines of people who wanted to get in to see them.”

Gaffney’s had to pay a $70,000 fine earlier this summer after the State Liquor Authority suspended their alcohol license over what authorities called a pattern of violence and disorder. It’s not the only Capital Region bar receiving SLA intervention lately.

Two bars in Schenectady are on their list. VibeZ Bar and Lounge is under investigation following a shooting death on July 1st. The probe is ongoing, but according to the SLA, initial police accounts indicate the victim only entered the bar seeking aid after being shot in the vicinity of VibeZ.

The other, The Saw Mill, had its liquor license suspended by the SLA following recent reports of violent incidents at the bar. On July 15, police were called there for two people who had been shot. The owner submitted a plea of not guilty to the liquor authority’s charges on Friday. NEWS10 has attempted to obtain comment from both of Schenectady bars, but we were unable to reach the owners.

Montagnino said for Gaffney’s, the conditions set by the bar and the SLA have worked, and it’s about striking a balance between letting people have fun, letting the bar make its money, and keeping everyone safe.

“Certainly, things like the earlier closing time are going to have an impact on the bottom line, but what are the options? We had problems in the past, some of which are related to the early morning hour problems, and so this is the compromise,” he said.

Gaffney’s provided NEWS10 with this statement:

Gaffney’s has been hard at work, making our establishment the destination of the summer. Our serving and security staff have enjoyed returning to doing what they do best in creating a fun and safe atmosphere. We look forward to working with the State Liquor Authority on eventually bringing back great bands and award-winning singer-songwriters back to the heart of Caroline Street.


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