Originally published for Drink In Liverpool.
This weekend, around 25 venues across the Ropewalks area are taking part in a pilot scheme that will see some bar-goers breathalysed as part of the Citysafe campaign called ‘Say No To Drunks’.
While it sounds like a fantastic idea, in theory, I can see this scheme ending up like pissing in the wind a bit. At the risk of sounding like a middle aged UKIP voter, do we really need to be helping create a nanny state?
Don’t get me wrong, those who can’t handle their ale are the absolute worst – they’re up there with people who request read receipts on their emails & those who genuinely believe that 50 Shades of Grey is a kinky book. Yes, no one likes the dickhead who can’t even hold their pint without spilling it on you, let alone hold it figuratively, but I can see this system punishing the classy binge drinkers amongst us – the ones, that at the end of a night, just want a chicken wrap, not a scrap. (I spent far too long on that little rhyme – please someone appreciate it!)
The cause for concern, for me, is the fact that the breathalysers will be used selectively. While safety procedures like ID scan checks don’t discriminate, these alcohol level tests will be at the discretion of bouncers. Ah bouncers. Now, all you FTMers reading, don’t get all excited thinking I’m going to slag off security – I’m sure that you’re always completely innocent when you’re escorted out of a club, time after time.
Bouncers get a bad rep because, let’s face it, people can be utter pricks when bevvied and need someone to blame, other than themselves. Of course one or two of them will embrace a bit of extra power and abuse it slightly, but I’m more concerned about the fact the real pissheads will slip through the net. Breathalysers can’t predict the future. I’m certainly guilty of one second looking, and acting, sober as a judge, then 5 minutes after walking into a venue, on the floor with my legs akimbo (soz aba me).
Everyone handles, and reacts, to booze differently and there’s no way a breathalyser can foresee situations, at times. Take my good self for example, I can sometimes make quite the dent in a bottle of vodka before even leaving my flat and yet be an upstanding citizen all night as I trawl around the bars, but sometimes, just a couple of wines when I’ve planned to just go out for a ‘quiet one’ (ahh, still so naive) and I’m carried home, vomiting everywhere (again, soz aba me).
From this weekend, bar staff will be trained to refuse service to those who appear drunk and reminded that they can be issued with a £90 fixed penalty if they do so. Oh piss off. As a former barmaid, this riled me. Will they be receiving anything extra in their pay packet to compensate the fact they can now add ‘unpaid babysitter’ to their list of duties as a minimum wage paid member of staff? Sure, I never served anyone in a visibly bad way, but how the hell, on a busy Friday night, are you meant to know who’s drunk and who’s actually just confident and chatty? All while some tosser is yelling “I was actually next, love”.
It’s our own responsibility, not a bartenders, to refrain from getting so bladdered that we become a hindrance on society – if you know that after a few pints, you turn into a violent prick then maybe binge drinking isn’t for you, take up knitting or something instead.
Finally, let’s get economical for second – is anyone else a bit worried about the future of Concert Square? I mean, if the absolutely bladdered aren’t going to be allowed in, then just who exactly is going to be going out and drinking in those bars? #pray4walkabout
See also: 5 Reasons You Should Always Tip