It’s not ethical to continue to serve an obviously intoxicated customer. It is also against the law.
Of course some bartenders ignore this and even think it is funny to let someone drinking way too much continue to imbibe.
Others go out of their way to embarrass the customer as if this somehow adds to the bar experience for those witnessing it.
The problem is drunk customers are often very obnoxious and demanding. They get mouthy and no one likes to be disrespected. So often the server gets nasty.
Respect is the key to it.
My wife put herself through college during a career change by bartending during the day. On Fridays she’d work into happy hour when the place would blend with all day drinkers, end of the work week relief drinkers and those making their first stop of the night. Lots of people would get drunk.
My wife is a small person with a great smile and she was the type of bartender that was perfect for the day shift: pretty but conversational and genuine.
When someone needed to be cut off she would just subtly shake her head and not say anything. More often than not the customer knew and would nod. He could leave with his dignity intact.
In other cases when a customer didn’t get it she would let them know in a quiet but confident voice that they couldn’t have any more because she would get in trouble. Again, the customer’s respect could mostly be preserved.
I never heard of a case where a customer got abusive with her, said mean things or that she had to get back up. Part of that was the type of place but more of it was her. She wasn’t playing the unapproachable diva, it wasn’t about her and everyone got respect.
The owner of the place one time told me that one of the gruffer customers was talking about my wife.
He said: “She’s alright. She gives respect.”
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