I’ve worked at a downtown college bar for about a year, and have loved it and learned a lot. From a bartender's perspective, going out to bars with your friends can be super fun, but many times I have seen a fun night turn not-so-fun. Here I highlight five alcohol safety tips from the perspective of a college bartender.
by Madison Giacomo
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
If you’ve ever been to a college bar, then I’m sure you know what the typical scene is like. Dancing, loud music, people buying shots, and lots of drunk people. I’ve worked at a downtown college bar for about a year, and have loved it and learned a lot. From a bartender's perspective, going out to bars with your friends can be super fun, but many times I have seen a fun night turn not-so-fun. I always love interacting with customers and contributing to people’s fun nights out by providing quality drinks in an enjoyable atmosphere.
There are times however when I or my coworkers have to cut people off, and that is not something I love to do. It is a delicate balance to find for many people– drinking just enough to have a fun and memorable night, and not drinking too much that you don’t remember the night and even possibly find yourself in danger. In this blog, I will highlight five alcohol safety tips from the perspective of a college bartender. I love bartending, and it has also helped me become more aware of the importance of alcohol safety and looking out for your friends on nights out.
Tip 1: Create a plan with your friends before the night begins.
Making a plan with the group you’re going out with is a good way to make sure everyone has a good night and no one gets separated. Things happen, maybe someone’s phone dies, but if everyone knows the plan, the night will go smoothly. I always feel so bad when I notice someone at the bar has lost their friends and doesn't know where they went, so to avoid this, set up a plan and stick to it. O street can become a crazy place in the late hours of the night, so make sure when you go home you’re never walking alone. Something you can do with your friend group is to have everyone share their locations with each other, so if something happens, at least you know where your friend is located. Also, it is very smart to make sure you have a sober ride or way of getting home before you start the night. Drunk driving is never an option, so if you have a ride or know you can use an app such as Uber or Lyft, make sure to utilize that.
Tip 2: Keep track of how much you’re drinking.
This is one of my top tips for having a safe and fun time at the bar and not letting alcohol ruin your night. Many different factors go into the way your body processes alcohol, such as gender, weight, and how much food and water you’ve consumed that day. In the bar scene, it can be easy to take many shots at once, especially if you might be pressured to or someone buys the shot for you (I have seen this happen a lot), and once this happens the effects can really sneak up on you. Try to keep track of how many drinks you have over the course of the night, especially if you don’t know your limit. Nobody has a fun time if someone gets sick from drinking at the bar, so keeping track of the alcohol you consume is a great way to make sure that doesn’t happen. Also, if someone is pressuring you to take a shot or another drink, it is always okay to say no.
Tip 3: Only bring cash to spend at the bars or set a spending limit.
Bringing the exact amount of money you want to spend at the bars will not only help you stay conscious of your spending but also the amount of alcohol you consume. There have been many occasions where someone will order a very large amount of shots for everyone because they’re drunk, their tab is $80, and I just know they will not be happy when they see what they spent the next day. The more you drink, the easier it becomes to spend more money. So, be aware of how many drinks you’re buying, and set a limit for yourself each night to avoid excessive spending. You will thank yourself the next day!
Tip 4: The bouncers are there to help you.
Although they might seem intimidating, the bouncers at bars are there to ensure the safety of everyone in the room and make sure the bar is a fun and safe environment. All of the bouncers I work with are some of the nicest people ever, but they will be mean if they have to. If someone at the bar is bothering you or making you uncomfortable, you can and are encouraged to let a bouncer know and they will remove that person from the bar. As a bartender, having bouncers there looking out for everyone makes me feel very safe, and if anyone gives me trouble, I know the bouncers will help me out.
Tip 5: If you ever feel uncomfortable or just don’t feel good, trust your gut and call it a night.
Sometimes, you might just be having a bad night. You don’t feel good, you’re upset or stressed out about something, or you’re tired and want to go to bed. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know you don’t feel right and want to go home. I can always tell when someone is having a rough night and wants to go home; slouched at the edge of the bar sipping on water. If you have a safe way to get home, don’t feel bad about leaving your friends– it's okay to end the night early. Or, don’t be afraid to ask them to go home, and hopefully, the group you went out with will understand and end the night early with you. Your well-being, health and safety always take priority. You will have other fun nights ahead of you!
I hope you enjoyed reading these alcohol safety tips from the perspective of a bartender. In the time I’ve worked at a bar, I have seen the different effects alcohol can have on people. Alcohol can make people do some crazy things, so it is so important to always be aware of your surroundings and always have a plan for the night. Make sure to look out for your friends, and prioritize your own health and safety as well. Alcohol in moderation can contribute to a fun and memorable night with your friends, but if you’re not careful, it can also ruin your night just the same. Be safe when going out to bars, and always remember to tip your bartender. :)