Bar Dangers Exposed: Are Bars Dangerous?

are bars dangerous
Joe | Last Updated: June 4, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

Is there anything that compares to heading to the bar on a Friday night after a busy shift at work to kick back and enjoy a couple of drinks with your buddies?

For most of us, heading to the bar on a weekend is a chance to relax and unwind whilst also enjoying a couple of our favorite cocktails.

But with so many people heading out to bars and thinking the exact same thing, it’s essential to acknowledge the potential risks associated with heading to the bar.

In this post, we take a look at the potential risks and dangers associated with bars, as well as how to stay safe, and much more.

One question that often comes up when discussing bars is: Are bars dangerous? It’s a valid question and one that sparks interesting debate.

So if you’ve ever been curious about whether these entertainment hubs pose any threats to your safety, stick around as you’re in the right place.

Are Bars Dangerous?

Bar environments can differ VASTLY and the combination of crowded spaces, excessive alcohol, and a lot of drunk strangers can really put people off going, and I can understand why.

But it’s important to note that bars are POTENTIALLY dangerous and not inherently dangerous. Whilst there are bars out there that are more on the risky side, many bars are completely safe establishments that work hard to protect their customers.

It all depends on the type of bar, its safety procedures, as well as policies and tolerance it has toward overly intoxicated patrons which can significantly influence its safety.

Some bars prioritize the well-being of their patrons by implementing responsible serving practices, maintaining well-trained staff, and providing a secure environment for their guests.

Whereas others are more relaxed about these measures and focus solely on the profit they can make by squeezing as many customers as they can into the bar.

are bars dangerous
Photo by Bundo Kim

Remember that not all bars are created equal, and the level of danger associated with bars depends on a variety of factors, including individual behavior, the specific bar’s policies, and the actions of other patrons.

But don’t let that put you off. If you are nervous about going to the bar, like so many are, try opting for a bar that has a calmer atmosphere and avoid overcrowded establishments.

The day on which you attend will also play a role in how dangerous it’s going to be, as bars are usually busiest on Friday and Saturday nights.

Therefore, attending the bar on a Sunday or weeknight may be a better alternative and will see you avoid the crowds which can make the bar a safer place to enjoy yourself.

>> Read more: Are nightclubs dangerous?

Why Can Bars Be Dangerous?

Bars can certainly be dangerous places to visit for a number of reasons, and It’s wise to do your research online before attending any that have a bad reputation, or just avoid those altogether.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why bars can pose risk:

1. Overcrowded

Bars are businesses at the end of the day, and businesses make their money by customers entering the establishment and spending their money.

Some bars may overlook overcrowdedness to earn more profit but this can make conditions cramped and lead to patrons feeling a little more agitated than usual, especially when alcohol is involved.

If conditions are too cramped, people may start to panic which can lead to disaster, so it’s best to simply avoid overcrowded bars or ensure you can sit somewhere before entering.

2. Harassment

Sadly, harassment is all too common in bar environments, and unwanted advances can happen regularly as boundaries may be blurred.

Women in particular can experience inappropriate behavior whilst visiting bars which can negatively impact their experience and ruin their night.

There are a lot of creeps out there that like to hang around bars, so this is a real risk that you need to be aware of.

3. Aggression and violence

Alcohol-induced aggression or confrontations can escalate into physical altercations quickly within bar environments.

When inhibitions are lowered, individuals may become more prone to verbal arguments, fights, or other violent behaviors and this can put both patrons and staff at risk of harm.

Keep your wits about you and avoid confrontation where possible for the best bar experience.

>> Read more: How to handle drunk customers as a bartender

4. Substance abuse

Bars and nightclubs are hotspots for alcohol and substance abuse, and in recent times there seems to be an increasing social acceptance of both that contributes to an excessive culture.

are bars dangerous
Photo by Aleksandr Popov

In bars where heavy drinking is the norm, you may come across alcoholics or junkies, so it may be in your best interest to avoid these types of bars.

5. Drink spiking

Unfortunately, drink spiking is a major risk in bars and twisted individuals may add substances to drinks without the knowledge or consent of the patrons.

This can have serious health and safety implications and is a real threat in some bars and nightclubs.

Tip – never leave your drink alone in ANY bar and try to keep your hand over the top of the bottle or cup at all times to prevent anyone from slipping anything unwanted in your drink.

6. Safety hazards

Bars that are understaffed and incredibly busy may find themselves not having the time to keep the dance floor tidy.

Poorly lit areas, wet or slippery floors, uneven surfaces, and crowded spaces can contribute to slip-and-fall accidents, resulting in injuries.

The presence of glassware and other potentially dangerous objects adds to the risk.

>> Read more: Why do people go to nightclubs?

How To Stay Safe In A Bar

Whilst this may sound all doom and gloom, there are plenty of ways to remain safe in bars and keep yourself from experiencing most of the above.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to drink responsibly. Keep track of your alcohol consumption and know your limits. Pace yourself and alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic options like water or soft drinks.

Excessive drinking impairs judgment and increases the risk of accidents, arguments, and other unsafe situations.

Planning your transportation home ahead of time is a GREAT idea and one that I use frequently when I attend new bars, especially ones that I’ve never been to before.

For example, booking a taxi to collect you from the bar home at 11:00 pm instead of wandering through an unknown environment when you are drunk trying to find one.

Alternatively, if you’re drinking with friends be sure that you have a designated driver who remains sober and can take you home at the end of the night.

We all love a good drink with our friends, but remaining in control is essential for your safety. Be mindful of how alcohol affects you personally, and know when it’s time to stop or switch to non-alcoholic beverages.

are bars dangerous
Photo by Steve Harvey

As mentioned above, ALWAYS keep an eye on your drink and never let it out of sight, not even when you go to the bathroom (take it with you).

Avoid accepting drinks from strangers and discard your drink if you suspect it has been tampered with in any way.

Try to attend bars with a group of friends to help you feel at ease, and remember that most bars will be completely safe environments and nothing bad will happen if you keep your wits about you.

Lastly, but most importantly, choose reputable establishments. Prioritize bars with positive reputations for safety and responsible practices.

Don’t attend the grubby rock bar if you know it has a reputation for violence or being overcrowded, and instead research reviews and recommendations from trusted sources before visiting a new bar.

This will almost always lead to a better experience and help keep you away from some of the dangers and hazards surrounding bars.

>> Read more: Is bartending dangerous?

Final Thoughts

Whilst bars can undoubtedly be dangerous environments at times, keep in mind that bar staff and security do a great job at keeping the bar controlled and as safe as possible.

Bartenders want you to have an enjoyable experience in the bar, and they won’t think twice about expelling anyone that poses a risk to others.

As someone with anxiety and used to be terrified at the thought of bar environments, I never thought I would enjoy visiting bars let alone working in them, but here I am.

The truth is, most bars are not as dangerous as they seem on paper, and so long as you keep your wits about yourself and remain in control, you should be fine and have a great experience.

So go out there and enjoy a few drinks at the bar, but be sure to follow the guidance set out above to help keep you and your friends safe.