Bar Workers Talk About When They Helped Customers Get out of Bad Situations

©Unsplash,Drew Beamer

Sometimes, bar staff really do go the extra mile and help out customers who are obviously in some very strange and potentially dangerous situations.

Once in a while, customers use a safe word or a “safe word drink” that tips off bartenders that they need a little assistance.

AskReddit users shared their interesting stories from the bar.

1. Avoid the crazy eyes.

“I used to bartend and do front desk at a hotel. One of my regulars was in for the week, real nice guy, very friendly and happily married. We also had a cuckoo bird lady staying with us that week. She was decent looking but def had crazy eyes. They were both at the bar and they were talking for a while.

Him being a nice guy, he didn’t want to outright blow her off I guess. He stops at the front desk to say what’s up and we talk for a bit while the girl is just standing behind him.

He shoots me a look that says get me out of this situation as he starts walking towards the elevator. Once she gets in the elevator I called him back to ask a question about Detroit because “I was going there next week.” He got off the elevator but so did she. Then I told the lady there was a problem with the card she had on file (there wasn’t) and he slipped away. He called me thanking me a few minutes later.”

2. From the Netherlands.

“Here one from Eindhoven, Netherlands: I was working for a smaller bar with a mixed crowd, for both men and women we had safe drinks (women: virgin tequila, men: virgin vodka) in total I saw these ordered 2 times.

The one that sticks with me the most was for Christmas eve, this night we had mostly Gay guys hanging around in the bar and some students. After a while of the students (S) got a lot of attention of one of the gay guys (GG) (hand on leg, a lot of too personal questions, touching ass) and told he was straight and not interested. This got the bartender that overheard this on alert end he put a napkin on the bar near where he was sitting with a red exclamation mark, so all staff new something was up.

S goes to toilet and GG orders a round of vodka shots, bartender didn’t see S so poured the order and placed it on the bar. S comes back and GG tells him to “help him empty the glasses” S starts drinking and suddenly looks very pale and sweaty, as soon as the vodka is dome GG smiles and walks to toilet. S looks worse by the second and asks for virgin vodka, at this moment two of the bartenders get him to one of the other bars owned by my boss and call an ambulance.

The rest of the crew created a diversion for GG as soon as he came from the toilet, telling him S left for a phone call. Ambulance noticed S seemed to be drugged, GG was drinking something else by then (watered down cocktails without him even noticing) and we alerted the police, who found 4 tubes of GHB on him. In the end GG was arrested and S rushed to hospital.”

3. Look them in the eyes.

“I used to work in a high quality seafood restaurant.

There were never any safe words but there were a lot of telling looks. People behind the bar hear a lot of your conversations, they usually know whats going on before you do. I’ve had to escort more people than my job required off of the premises. Look at the bar staff in the eyes and slightly shake your head and we know.”

4. That’s assault, brother.

“I used to bartend for a gay bar. One night I had a group of guys who seemed to be having a great time. After another round of shots, one sticks behind at the bar and asks for an angel shot. I bring him behind the bar and into the office. He was with a couple coworkers and their friends. He knew the coworkers were gay, and would be taking him to a gay bar, but apparently things started to get out of hand when they started trying to grope him.

I tell him he can chill in the back room for as long as he needed, he hands me a handful of crumpled 1s and asks for a burger. We didn’t really serve food besides shitty bar snacks, so I hand him back his money and give him a couple bags of chips. About half an hour later I go to check on him, and notice that he’s really fucked up. To the point where he can’t even talk. Definitely drugged with something. Luckily all his asshole friends were still there drinking, so I called the cops. He’s rushed away in an ambulance immediately.

I shut the bar down so the cops and I can co through the security footage. We managed to catch two of the guys he’s with putting some powder into his beer. Both of them were arrested, the other two were somewhere else at the time, and were let go.”

5. I got your back.

“My friend’s roommate was the bouncer at our college bar.

My friend broke up with his GF, and she wanted him back. She kept threatening to make a rape claim against him if he didn’t get back together with her. After a month of not talking to her, he thought the situation was done with.

I ended up seeing him at the bar one night and we’re just drinking and shooting the shit. Out of nowhere his ex appears and starts flirting with him. We are both frozen in fear because he’s gotta walk this fine line of not pissing her off and not getting back together with her.

Another bouncer burst in and booms, “I told you to get the fuck out?!? What’s wrong with you two!?” He leads us to the back, exit-only door where my friend’s roommate was standing.

The roommate saw the ex creeping in and had his back. He sent one bouncer to kick us out (I was let back in), and another bouncer to stall the crazy ex so he could escape.

Pure bro behaviour.”

6. The NEPH.

“My old regular bar had a drink called “Neph” (Need escape please help, not really the name as it is another language, but that is the idea) which was not on the menu.

If you order it, they call you a cab, and one of the waiters will wait next to the toilet, allowing you to pay your half there and let you in to the back so you can leave unnoticed.

It was available for men and women alike to get out of bad dates (though they will not really let you use it to skip on your date).

They didn’t advertise it really, but regulars knew it existed.
They would also actively offer someone that drink if they feel their date is going to the wrong place.

I saw a man being offered it once when his date was verbally abusive to him. And a woman whose date was so arrogant and creepy and talked down on her. Never actually use it myself.

I actually thought it was relatively common in most neighborhood bars to have this type of “drink”.

7. Spiking the drinks.

“So im a line cook, not bar staff, but at my last job, we had cameras in the bar area (cash register) and i was talking to our night bar gal.
She said a guy had asked for a taxi because he felt dizzy and disoriented, and didn’t feel safe, his GF was chiding him , BUT it turns out it wasn’t HER that spiked the drink!

The cameras caught the guy NEXT to this couple, putting something in his drink, for HIS GF, and he screwed up which one, because they both had the same drink!

So, two couples, one guy accidentally doses a guys drink by mistake!!. The girl for the dosing guy left without him (apparently he was impatient when it wasnt working). THE WORST PART? We thought he a was cool guy, he was a regular. They caught him next time and called the cops and showed the tapes and last i heard he was being charged with attempted sexual assault….”

8. Kicked her out.

“Am a bouncer, had a regular dude meeting a tinder date. She was pretty hot and I gave him a thumbs up. She was very polite and nice, 2 drinks later she became an utter bitch. I walked up to him to see how it was going and he explained while she was in the toilet how much a of a bitch she was being to everyone.

He came up to me, said how good the whisky was he just had and I knew straight away (he’s a beer man through and through) he wanted to bail. I asked him if he would stay if he didn’t meet her, he nodded. So I kicked the girl out and told her she was too drunk.

He met his girlfriend of now 3 years 2 hours later after I kicked her out.”

9. That’s pretty sketchy.

“8 years working at a brewery. Only one time have i had to actually save a guy, other than the funny ones, where I’ve helped them slip out of an awkward situation.

Guy meets girl at the bar seats, they get drinks, 10 minutes later, round 2. Seems normal. They appear to be hitting it off. Out of nowhere this gal starts flipping the fuck out, couldn’t understand most of what’s coming out of her mouth. Screaming about this guy trying to date rape her, phone in hand, threatening to call the cops, involving other women and shit. Had to settle this lady down for a sec and grasp whats going on, no dice, won’t chill out, she runs out of the bar at full speed and takes of in her car.

Never saw her in the bar again.

I know this guy didn’t do anything, but had to talk to cops anyways. Make a report blah blah. Couple weeks pass by, same guy at the bar chatting with me. On the T.V. (local news) is that woman.. Arrested, for assaulting a guy, whom she accused of the same thing then trying to flee.

It was her way of getting FREE FUCKING DRINKS.”

10. Get the hint.

“I work in small cocktail bars in Sydney, Australia, prime date night joints. We have something called ‘ask for angela’, where the idea is you just ask the bar staff if Angela is working tonight and that’ll be the hint to keep an eye on things or even call a cab.

I’ve only had one customer, man or woman, ever use it, a nice younger guy on a date with an older gentleman. The issue was threefold.

A venue at the time had quite a few backpackers on working holidays that were completely unaware of this protocol, we had a lovely Chinese girl who went by Angela working that night, and that the date was going poorly in such a fashion that to the untrained eye, it looked like two work acquaintances having a drink. There was that little chemistry between them.

Apparently the order gentleman followed the younger in the bathroom and copped a feel, prompting the ask for angela. It was a huge runaround to be honest. It took quite a while for a native English speaker to tune into the argument behind the bar where Angela was explaining that she had no idea who this guy was. So eventually he got some help.

He ordered two cocktails at the bar, as de if Angela was working tonight, saying she made them the best. We ended up ordering an uber for him while he feigned an emergency, and brought their drinks out in time that the older bloke sorta felt obligated to stay and finish them, just as his uber arrived.

Unfortunately a lot of bars have joined the ask for angela campaign (it’s government sponsored), posted the signs in their ladies rooms, and called it a day. No staff training. This is because it puts you on a government list of ‘safe bars’ and, well, nobody can give up free publicity. Very disappointing. I also believe it needs to better extend to men on poor dates as well, I rarely see the posters in men’s rooms, just unisex and ladies.”

11. The incident.

“Only had one incident of a man using Ask For Angela (UK safeword scheme). Gay kid on a bad date. His date had been extremely overbearing and even having to witness it from the bar was extremely uncomfortable. We smuggled him into the kitchen and out the side door while his date went to the bathroom and called him a taxi. Date came back from the bathroom, asked where the kid was, I just went “dunno”. Date started getting aggro with me, so supervisor ended up throwing this guy out by the collar.

It honestly doesn’t get used enough, by either men or women, especially here in the UK. It absolutely sucks, especially when you as a bartender can’t really legally do much or you risk not only your job, but the bar’s reputation.”

12. Get me outta here.

“Worked in a pub in Ireland as a bouncer. Not a common thing here to have the ‘get me outta here’ shot. So no signs or that but there was some Facebook post calling them angel shots that did its rounds. Girls would say they’ve to go to us and we’d know. No code words or shit.

Anyway one night I’m doing my thing in this nice bar, and a guy approaches me in front of a group of friend being a bit boisterous from a fancy restaurant across the road and he says he needs an angel shot. So we let them in but I hold him there ‘questioning his ID’ as his friend make fun of me and him as I’m 22, this guy was maybe 35ish and I was a “kid telling a man no”. So they hang about for him (so I can’t ask him what’s up) I tell him no he’s had too much tonight, I hail a taxi down and he pretends to resist getting in so I basically pick him up and carry him into the taxi. He throws me €50 into my jacket pocket discreetly and the taxi goes off then. Nothing big.

2 days later I’m working again same bunch of guys from the restaurant come over. The angel shot guy isn’t there.

3 days later angel shot guy comes but very early and explains it all to me. Turns out his friends where doing coke (all professional people) and a girl was raped in the bathroom. He said at first she wanted to have sex with one of them but then two guys came in, then she wanted out and couldn’t, this guy tried to interject but couldn’t and then felt uncomfortable and didn’t want a part of this so wanted to leave but was told if he did they’d hurt him and the reason they all returned 2 days later was his going away drinks that he didn’t attend (obviously). The guys where then charged like a month later? Can’t find public info on it anymore.

Only time I ever had to use the ‘get me outta here’ shot.”

It’s a good thing that bartenders pick up on these kinds of cues to help out people who are in trouble.

Have you ever had this happen to you behind the bar? Or maybe you had to do this when you were a customer?

Tell us about it in the comments.