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Top tips for safe drinking - from the other side of the bar

by Tiffany Bentley

Holiday licensing

The Christmas and New Year period is one of the busiest times of the year for licensed premises. There are more customers buying more and there is willingness for customers to treat themselves with premium food and drinks. So, with decorations up, seasonal food and drinks on offer and the party season underway it is worth checking all is in order for safe festive celebrations.  

  • Check through your licence and, if you need any extra time or activities, complete Temporary Event Notices. 

  • Provide and promote a range of options for non- alcoholic or low alcohol drinks. This encourages responsible consumption of alcohol and supports designated drivers. It is a requirement under the licensing legislation to provide free drinking water to customers on request.

  • Promote the availability of smaller measures of alcohol such as 125ml glass of wine or half pint of beer.

  • Offer a food menu and / or a range of snacks. This leads to slower consumption and slower absorption of alcohol.  This may also encourage customers to remain in your premises, especially if it feels cosy and Christmassy!

  • Bar and security staff are invaluable in ensuring a safe night out for your customers. They can keep that watchful eye - not just at the bar - to check for drunkenness, vulnerable customers, any unattended drinks or possible drug use. Well trained and observant staff share information and can intervene early to prevent serious problems occurring. CCTV can assist if incidents occur but no one wants a spoilt Christmas night out.

  • An age verification policy and refusals log protects both staff and customers from underage sales of alcohol.

  • Ensure there is a list of telephone numbers of local taxi firms to hand to discourage drink driving and to get customers home quickly.

  • Keep checks on noise levels from entertainment and from customers leaving your premises. Providing customers with a mince pie or a lollipop as they leave can keep the noise right down!

If you need to speak to the police use the non-emergency 101 number but call 999 in a real emergency situation that requires an immediate police response.

Careful monitoring keeps your customers and staff safe and allows everyone to have a good and profitable time over the festive season.

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