Do Bartenders Spike Drinks? (Truthful Guide)

do bartenders spike drinks
Joe | Last Updated: April 23, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

Drink spiking is the sad reality of the nightlife scene in many countries around the world, and it happens more often than you may think.

Substances that are used to spike drinks can be quickly added without detection. Rohypnol, GHB, MDMA, and Ketamine are all among the most frequent substances that are used to spike drinks.

Whilst there is a lack of data on the subject it’s clear that drink spiking is a very real occurrence in many states and cities throughout the UK and US.

This brings up an interesting question that many people who have fallen victim to drink spiking and are looking for answers are keen to know more about. “Do bartenders spike drinks?”

NO, bartenders do NOT spike drinks. In fact, bartenders are most likely to help if they see someone that has been spiked or needs assistance. It’s INCREDIBLY rare that a bartender would spike a drink.

Let’s take a closer look…

Do Bartenders Really Spike Drinks?

Whilst it’s true that some bartenders are shadier than others, as a whole, bartenders DO NOT spike drinks.

Drink spiking is a terrible crime that can lead to some horrifying situations. Bartenders are there to serve drinks and run the bar and are most likely to help and assist if they see someone that has been spiked.

During the night, bartenders are sober and keep a watchful eye on the crowd. If they see anyone acting suspiciously or anyone spikes a drink, the police will be called immediately and the culprit will be detained by door staff until they arrive.

do bartenders spike drinks
Photo by Alena Plotnikova

Out of all my years as a bartender, I have never seen or heard of a bartender spiking a drink. They are there for work and to make sure a standard of service is provided to customers, not to cause harm to people.

If this did happen, the bartender would not only lose their job but be prosecuted and dealt with accordingly by law enforcement.

Who Is Most Likely To Spike A Drink?

It’s very rare for a drink you already have to be spiked, and it’s more often than not a drink that has been brought to you by someone that has been spiked.

This is why it’s very important to always be vigilant about the drinks you receive in bars, especially from strangers or people you do not know very well.

According to, 50 percent of women have their drinks spiked by a stranger and 32 percent of men were targeted by an unknown assailant.

Interestingly, 42 percent of the people who spiked men’s drinks or food were considered friends. Alcohol was the main substance to be spiked across both genders.

The substances that are used to spike people can be slipped into a person’s drink in the blink of an eye, and when you’re already intoxicated with alcohol it’s very likely that you won’t spot someone doing this.

This goes to show that stranger danger is very real, but it’s equally important to consider who you are drinking with even if they are considered “friends”.

What Do Bartenders Do If They See Someone Get Spiked?

Whilst drink spiking isn’t something that bartenders often come across, it is something that they will absolutely take action against.

If a bartender witnesses someone have their drink spiked they will immediately call the police and door staff. The offender will be detained by door staff until police arrive on the scene.

Alternatively, they may not decide to alert the suspect at all so as not to scare them off. Instead, they will speak with the person who has the drink and say something like “excuse me, that glass is dirty, let me make you a fresh one”.

This way the victim with the drink does not get panicked by the thought of being spiked. If it’s too late and the drink is already gone, bartenders will attend to the victim and ensure they are safe, whilst paramedics may be called.

If a bartender spots someone that is spiking drinks and they come for another round, they will also ask for identification to note all of the information down for the police.

They’ll also be sure to now allow the victim to drink the spiked drink by intervening before they can drink it. CCTV footage will be checked to ensure the assailant is caught red-handed and any vehicle registration plates will be logged.

Once the police arrive on the scene they will deal with the spiker accordingly and the person will be banned from entering the bar again.

Do Bartenders Take Bribes To Spike Drinks?

Whilst I can’t speak for every bartender out there, I have NEVER heard of a bartender taking a bribe to spike someone’s drink, it’s absurd that a bartender would do this.

If this proposition was asked of most bartenders, security would be called and the person would be dealt with accordingly for attempting such a thing.

do bartenders spike drinks
Photo by RODNAE Productions

The only way I could see a bartender accepting a bribe to spike a drink is if the assailant and bartender were friends and were plotting something together.

Otherwise, this would simply not happen. Bartenders would face prosecution and up to 10 years in prison, as well as lose their job over spiking a drink.

Drink Spiking Prevention

The prevention of drink spiking is more important than ever. There are a lot of deranged people in the world that are capable of horrendous crimes and actively look for opportunities to spike drinks.

Organizations like DrinkSafe in the UK are a great example of a company combatting drink spiking and offer things such as anti-spiking drink tops to cover and protect drinks.

Whilst these may seem unnecessary to some, drink spiking is prevalent in the UK with one in nine women and one in fifteen men saying they have fallen victim to drink spiking.

Nightcap is another brand that operates throughout the US, UK, EU, and Canada offering drink-spiking prevention products to keep you safe on nights out.

Below are some precautions to take to ensure your drink does not get spiked:

  • Always buy your own drink and watch it being made
  • Do NOT accept drinks from strangers
  • Do NOT leave your drink unattended whilst you go to the toilet, even with friends
  • Throw your drink away if you think it tastes strange
  • When holding your drink, cover the top with your hand and drink through a straw
  • Stick to sealed beverages (bottles etc)
  • Do NOT share drinks with others

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a clear answer to “do bartenders spike drinks” and a better understanding of why they do not and how to protect yourself against drink spiking.

The sad reality is that drink spiking is something that happens all over the world every single weekend, and we now need to take extra precautions to ensure we are not having our drinks spiked.

Bartenders are there to work and make money and are not out to get you. They will do their best to protect punters by highlighting concerns with particular people and calling law enforcement if they see anything suspicious.

Rest assured that 99 percent of bartenders will NOT spike your drink. In fact, they are the soberest people in the bar that will look after you should anything happen.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and learn more about drink spiking and how to protect yourself and others.

Stay safe out there!