We’ve all heard the stories! Someone has too much to drink at a bar, gets in their car to drive home, and has an accident. However, there’s another aspect to this that only bartenders and wait staff have to think about: their personal liability in this situation.  


bartender liability over serving


We’re often told that the victim of a drunk driving accident can sue the bar. This happens when the perpetrator was allowed to get intoxicated to the point of being dangerous. But, there’s often some confusion as to whether or not this is actually the case.  We’d like to clear that up.

Read on for some useful info about your personal responsibilities as a bartender and how to protect yourself and your customers.



Dram Shop Laws


Dram Shop laws, and SIP laws (sales to intoxicated persons), are the set of rules that govern how an establishment can be held accountable for injuries incurred due to a patron’s drunkenness.  In general, it works like this. If a person becomes intoxicated at a bar and then causes some sort of injury to another person, both the establishment and the perpetrator can be held accountable.  

These laws vary state by state, but almost every state has one. In some places they extend to social gatherings as well. This means if you host a party and over-serve someone, you could be liable for any damage they cause. This is especially true if you are serving alcohol to minors. Who in some states can sue you if they themselves sustain an injury.  So, if you have a get together at your house and someone causes an accident or hurts another person on the way home, you could be held accountable.


What Does This Mean for You as a Bartender?


Under Dram Shop laws, it is the establishment that can be held responsible for injuries caused by an inebriated person. However, while it may be the bar that pays the fine, there’s nothing protecting you from action your bosses may take against you. It does not seem fair that any part of someone else’s decisions and behaviors can fall on you or where you work. But it is the unfortunate reality of the service industry.



How to Protect Yourself and Your Place of Work

bartender liability

The legal parameters that define drunkenness outside of just strict blood alcohol concentration differ wildly state by state. It can sometimes be vague and very subjective.  However, they are important to know. Because they are the deciding factors of whether a bar can be held liable for a patron’s actions or not.  

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be serving someone who is “visibly intoxicated”, known to be an alcoholic, or a minor.  Protect yourself and your establishment by knowing the signs of drunkenness such as slurred speech, stumbling, bloodshot eyes, etc.  If you encounter these things, don’t risk serving the person.  Grab a manager if you feel uncomfortable or nervous about cutting someone off.

It’s also a great idea to talk to your boss about enrolling the staff in a certification class like TIPS.  These classes teach servers and bartenders how to keep themselves and their customers safe. They can also be a defense against liability should an issue arise.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers so please consult one if you have any questions about serving, liability, injury, or anything else.


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One moment you’re clinking shots with friends at the bar, the next, you’re cursing the existence of the sun. Welcome to hangover hell.


avoid hangover treat hangover


We’ve all been there. That epic (or not so epic) night that turned into the worst next day ever.

The one that makes you barely get out the words “I’ll never drink again.” But don’t be so quick to give up booze for the rest of your days just yet - there are ways to prevent that mean hangover, as well as some cures should you forget to put those prevention methods to use.

The bar can still be one of your favorite places. Here’s how to avoid a serious hangover, and treat one already in process.




If you’re lacking the Irish gene or don’t happen to be 22 anymore, chances are you’re prone to a mean hangover come the morning after. Don’t despair - these prevention methods will go a long to way make your oncoming hangover much less brutal (although if you’re going to pound those drinks one after another, you’re definitely going to need to read on to our ‘Treatment’ methods below.)


Stick to one type of alcohol


A simple rule, that, at times, can be hard to follow. Your downfall will usually come about when someone buys you a shot of something that’s not a beer. Best way to avoid this? Choose a liquor for the night that you feel comfortable shooting down as well as drinking with the mixer of your choice. And if you want to be extra careful? Stay away from dark or amber colored hard stuff and stick with a clear liquor like vodka, white rum, or tequila blanco.


Avoid the bubbles


Ever notice that if you drink a bunch of champagne, cava, prosecco or other bubbly drink, you get a bad headache soon after? Now imagine how you’d feel the next morning, if you drank the bubbly stuff all night long. Bubbles are fun, but they’re not made for stamina. Steer clear, fellow drinkers, steer clear. P.s. this bubble rule also applies to beer. Sorry.


Drink water constantly



Did you know? Alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it makes you urinate more often, and depletes your body’s water levels. Much of the reason you feel so hungover the next day is actually because you’re dehydrated. So follow the golden rule: after each alcoholic drink, down a glass of water. The more water you get in you throughout the night, the better your chances of not feeling like the walking dead the next day.


Don’t smoke



Although many people like to light up when they drink, the truth is the combo ain’t great for your hangover. Studies have shown that nicotine can actually weaken the buzz you get from drinking, making you drink more, and eventually, making your hangover much worse than it needs to be. Also, you’ll smell better.




If you’re reading this it’s either because your head is pounding so hard you’re willing to try anything, or you’ve experienced a hangover so bad you vowed never to be underprepared again. You might even be wondering if there’s anything good about drinking at all. Either way, we’ve got your post-drunk back. Use these steps and you’ll be feeling better in no time.


Drink more water



Remember that water rule up above? Well if you didn’t follow it while you were at the bar, chances are you’ll need to repent to the water gods, and repent hard. Get yourself a giant bottle of H20 and pound it. Drinking one bottle in 5 minutes won’t do - you’ll need to hydrate every 15 minutes or so for a few hours. You’re hurting because you’re dehydrated, so you need to combat it with water constantly. Also, whether it’s Gatorade or other drink, electrolytes will also make you feel better.


Take a charcoal supplement



While there may be some naysayers out there, plenty of people swear by the power of the charcoal (even if it doesn’t help, it certainly doesn’t hurt.) Taking an activated charcoal supplement is easy; it comes in pill form, and has no taste or other effects. In short, it traps toxins in your body (possibly left over from all of those fruity drinks you shot back) and prevents them from making you feel so icky. Give it a try.


Avoid caffeine and salt



Remember that bit about how dehydrated your body is? Don’t make it even more so by indulging in caffeine and excess salt - both will only make you feel worse by depleting your body of its much needed H20 stores. Pass on the coffee, and opt for water or OJ. Don’t salt those morning-after eggs - trust us.


Grab some Ibuprofen



While there are some that say that headache pills can harm an already hurting liver, if you don’t regularly abuse this organ it’s ok to treat that pounding head with some pills. Ibuprofen is the go-to option - just don’t take them on an empty stomach (then your head AND your stomach will hurt.)





A luxury, we know. But getting your REM on can make you feel worlds better if you can afford it. Hopefully you’re not at work while reading this, but if you’re home try to sneak a nap in. Chances are you didn’t sleep well after downing all that booze last night, so your body is in major need of some Zs (especially if you’re post holiday drunk.) Don’t deny it - let the sleep heal you.


Want to connect with people at the bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free!


Every group of bar goers has (or should have) a Non-alcoholic Designated Drivers, or DD. But if it’s your turn to get behind the wheel, the notion of hitting up a bar is probably driving you mad. After all, you’re the one who will have to sit and watch as all your friends party hard, crack lame jokes, flirt with the bartender and drink the night away, all the while blissfully unaware of the fact you’re, well, totally sober.


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.  


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