The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Cage on a Tuesday?!: Lewiston Bar Rethinks Its Mission

Russ Dillingham/The Lewiston Sun Journal The Cage is a Lewiston bar and a staple for Bates students.

Serving the Lewiston community for 54 years, The Cage is a staple of the Bates experience for many students. Despite the change in ownership, a brief period of renovations, and a slight plumbing issue during the first weekend back on campus this fall, the bar’s Thursday karaoke nights are back. “Our motto is still to ‘keep the Cage, the Cage,’” says Steve Beaulieu, co-owner and Lewiston local in a follow-up interview with The Student. However, the Cage has seen some sparkling renovations. 

Kevin Barrett, Beaulieu’s business partner, gave me a tour. Walking in, a projector displays the Patriots versus Jets game. Tables haphazardly arranged last year are now organized into two seating areas in the front room. The backroom features a brand-new pinball machine, pool table and foosball table. A shuffleboard table is tucked in the back, and the back porch is now populated with additional seating.

New entertainment, including trivia on two of the bar’s many TVs, is just one of several additions. The Cage also flaunts upgraded WiFi, as well as a functional kitchen serving “most pub stuff” like mozzarella sticks, poppers, onion rings, burgers, and hot dogs, said Beaulieu. When asked about the status of the kitchen, Beaulieu replied, “We just haven’t had the correct staff versus demand ratio. If we could get the demand up, then we could justify it by putting somebody in the kitchen full time.” He added, “Right now, it’s just the bartenders making what they can.”

With the Bobcat Den open during the regular school day 8a.m. to 3p.m. on weekdays and Curb Cats only open Fridays and Saturdays from 9p.m. to midnight, the Cage could provide a new late night food option for Bates upperclassmen, Beaulieu suggestes. He even adds, “Once the weather breaks a little bit, we’ll try to get the pizza oven going.”

Both owners emphasized that they welcome Bates students, and hope that The Cage can be a place of community and relaxation. “We’ll invite you here anytime you want, feel comfortable, feel safe, this is your place,” added Barrett. When asked what is one thing that they want students to know about the Cage, Beaulieu replied, “that [upperclassmen] can come down and get a burger on a Tuesday night at 8 o’clock and do their homework here.” The owners still hope that the Cage can be a reliable social or even productive space and not just a Thursday night party site. “We want [students] to feel comfortable any day, not just Bates night,” says Barrett. 

Though only owners of six months, Beaulieu and Barrett have worked hard to create a safe and fun environment appealing to students and locals alike. Barrett characterizes ownership as a continual learning process for both, while Bealieu comments that “it’s nice to be involved to the point where people appreciate what we do, just to keep the place open.” 

Their work does not go unrecognized. Andy, a local, and regular customer of The Cage, comments on the changes: “I’ve been coming here since the mid 70s and the blood, sweat, and tears, and the devotion that they gave in support of all their fans was really amazing.” 

Part of the work Beaulieu and Barrett are doing in order to create a fun, relaxing, and safe social space, involves stricter ID checks. “We want all the Bates kids to be safe,” Barrett emphasizes. “We want them to be safe here, we want them to be safe walking back to campus. By checking IDs, and making sure they’re real IDs, we have a much better chance of everybody being safe.” 

As a result, the number of Bates students at the Cage on a given Thursday night has dwindled. Limiting the number of students in the bar on a “Bates Night” (a term used by the owners) makes it easier for Barrett and Beaulieu to manage and maintain a secure environment. 

In addition to stricter ID checks, the owners have instituted a cover charge used to compensate the entertainment and staff expenses. Most days there is only one bartender, but “Bates Nights” require at least seven staff members. The cover charge is three dollars. When asked if The Cage had any plans to include a credit card or ApplePay option, the owners replied that they are still researching cashless systems of payment. 

Located about a half mile off campus, The Cage functions as more than just a Thursday night bar. Its active Facebook page publicizes concerts, Sunday afternoon football and pizza, and an upcoming Halloween party. The bar even celebrates NASCAR races like Daytona and Talladega with a prime rib dinner. The Cage is a community hub that welcomes Bates students on more than just Thursday nights.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Schaedle
Zoe Schaedle, Managing News Editor
Zoe is a Sophomore from Philadelphia, PA. She is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a double major in History and Classical and Medieval Studies. In her free time, Zoe enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, volunteering, going to the beach, cooking, or playing/watching sports.    Previously, Zoe served as a staff writer for The Student as a first year. She is also on the Bates Women’s Lacrosse team, and is an active mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maine.

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    donna parentOct 5, 2023 at 10:15 AM

    The cage never catered to just the Bates college community. It was a neighborhood bar we’re just like cheers you knew everyone there. So if this is your idea of keeping the cage as original as the status has always been you are well off the beaten path.