Around the world, alcohol is consumed in a range of different environments and settings – some associated with higher levels of harm than others. This section overviews some of the interventions that have been targeted to reduce harm in drinking settings – especially bars and clubs. Harms such as violence, injury and drunkenness can be reduced through the safer design of drinking venues, the provision of food, the use of strengthened glass or non-glass receptacles (see section 9), and the training of staff on responsible service (see section 10). This section includes a number of guidelines and reviews – including a randomised controlled trial of the groundbreaking ‘Safer Bars’ programme in the USA.
This document is a comprehensive review of the evidence of effectiveness for eight different harm reduction approaches that target drinking in licensed premises: training programmes for bar staff and bar management, house policies and venue risk assessments, agreements among groups of bar owners, enforcement, laws and regulations, designated driver and ride services, community mobilisation, and patron education. The review found an abundance of local interventions to reduce problems in bars – all with strong “face validity” but varied quality. However, very few of them had been rigorously evaluated in order to create a collective evidence base.
Graham K, Osgood WD, Zibrowski E, Purcell J, Gliksman L, Leonard K, Pernanen K, Saltz RF, Toomey TL (2004) The Effect of the Safer Bars Programme on Physical Aggression in Bars: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Review, 23(1), pages 31 - 41
The Safer Bars Programme from Canada is one of the best evaluated and pioneering projects to encourage the safer design and practices of drinking venues. This document is an evaluation of the Programme, which consists of two interventions - a risk assessment workbook (to be completed by bar managers) and a three-hour training session focused on reducing aggression. After over 700 observations, the authors conclude that this intervention can reduce severe and moderate physical aggression in bars.
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Bars have become a mainstay of alcohol consumption in many societies – a place where large numbers can gather and drink socially. However, there is a growing evidence base linking a variety of alcohol-related harms (such as aggression, violence, public disorder and injuries) with bars – and, more importantly, with identifiable and changeable characteristics of a bar. This document is a review of published empirical evidence that identifies risk factors in bars.
Luke LC, Dewar C, Bailey M, McGreevy D, Morris H & Burdett-Smith P (2002) A Little Nightclub Medicine: The healthcare implications of clubbing. Emergency Medicine Journal, 19, pages 542 - 545 (PDF, 145 KB)
This study explores the scale and range of acute medical problems among patients who present to an inner city accident and emergency department after attending nightclubs in Liverpool, England. There were 777 cases - mainly as a result of assaults. Lacerations were the most common injury. The authors make numerous recommendations to address this – including unbreakable glass or plastic containers (see Section 9), medical care at nightclubs, preventing over-crowding, and targeted policing.
This document is an undated pamphlet designed to guide pub and bar owners who wish to reduce potential violence in their premises. The practical advice includes providing food, avoiding ‘bottle-necks’ (where many people need to squeeze through small spaces – often near amenities such as the washrooms), simple decorations, and calm music.
New York City Police Department & New York Nightlife Association (2007) Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments. New York (USA): New York City Police Department & New York Nightlife Association (PDF, 165 KB)
This document aims to assist owners of bars and clubs in New York to develop and maintain safer premises that are free from illicit drugs, underage drinking, drunkenness, violence, commercial sex work and/or sexual offences. This advice has been issued by the New York Police Department as a “general road map” towards reducing the harms associated with licensed premises in the night-time economy.