It’s Time to Stop Serving Drinks

It’s Time to Stop Serving Drinks

Are you unsure when to stop serving drinks?

If you are a bartender, you will come across some interesting people who are pretty difficult to deal with.  You have the customers that will repeat things over and over to the point that it becomes extremely annoying. Then you have those who will expect you to read their mind, and then get mad at your drink recommendation.


Some are really loud and obnoxious to the point that others don’t want to be around them.  And you can’t forget about the ones who will keep talking and talking while interrupting, insulting and harassing others. Many of these customers are just too drunk and of course they do not see it that way.  You have to be mindful of these customers who consume too much alcohol and decide when enough is enough and stop serving drinks.


Here are signs someone is intoxicated:

  • slurred speech; too-loud or too-fast speech
  • slower reaction times
  • stumbling or the inability to walk
  • glossy appearance to their eyes
  • spilling drinks
  • aggressive behavior
  • and obviously vomiting and/or loss of consciousness.

Bartenders are obligated to stop serving alcohol when customers are obviously intoxicated. According to the “dram shop act,” establishments and/or individual bartenders may be held liable if a drunk person harms a third party after leaving the location. (Exact laws vary by state) And of course drunks can cause plenty of harm while they’re still at the bar.

Difficult customers are really easy to recognize. Whether they interrupt, condescend, have bad language or all of these things mixed together, they are not pleasant at all.  To properly deal with them requires skill and lots of patience.  No one likes to be told they are drunk.  Before you cut them off completely as to cause a scene, offer them some water and/or slow down their drinking.  You could offer them some food and in emergency situations, get lost and don’t make yourself so available.

If you have to cut off a customer completely, here are some steps to follow:

  • Make sure the driver has a ride.   An intoxicated person not only put themselves in danger, but they endanger others.  Help them call an Uber or Lyft if they have no friends to take them home.
  • Get your manager involved.  Oftentimes customers will show more respect to a manager in drunken situations.
  • Don’t make a scene.  Making a scene is the worst thing you can do.  Always remember to protect your other customers.
  • Be firm and stand your ground.  Sometimes you just have to say “No I can’t serve you anymore.”  This is best for the customer anyway.

Sometimes people just have too much to drink.  It is important that you know the signs and act accordingly to make sure the situation does not get out of hand.  This will save you from many unpleasant experiences and will help gain the trust of the customers who have to deal with the intoxicated person’s antics.  At a bar, preventing drunkenness is everyone’s responsibility especially the bartender!


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