Syracuse nightlife is care-free, fun and entertaining, but there's a serious reality.

"One of the things we know is sexual assault specifically that one of the key factors between either the perpetrator and the victim or both of them or each one individually is alcohol," said Brittany Pryor, Vera House Healthy Environment Project coordinator.

Vera House is working with bars and restaurants in Armory Square to get ahead of the problem. 

They've kicked off Raise the Bar promoting healthy nightlife environments.

Employees go through five hours of training to build skills to address sexual aggression and relationship violence while serving customers.

"On a Friday night at an establishment, it can be very loud and you might not be able to hear that conversation, but you can see their body language. You can tell a lot about the body language and what that can tell about situations," said Pryor.

Employees who've gone through the training have already found it useful.

"She's eating alone and she's just trying to mind her own business, and this man continues to sort of get into her space trying to buy her a drink and she keeps denying. He keeps getting closer and closer to her. Her body language is just a dead giveaway, and we just asked the man to either take a different seat or leave the restaurant and he chose to leave the restaurant. It's been really really a useful tool for us. We feel strong and confident in knowing what sort of behaviors are not sort of the ones we want in our restaurant," said Ryland Heagerty, Pastabilities front of house manager.

Right now Raise the Bar is partnering with bars in Armory Square, but they're hoping to expand to other restaurants and bars across the area.

"We would love to talk with other agencies, organizations in geographic areas about how to really make this fit for all community populations," said Pryor.

Bars and restaurants that are interested in taking part in the initiative are encouraged to contact Brittany Pryor of the Vera House at 315-425-0818 or