Skip navigation

Should restaurants serve intoxicated customers?

• See more Sanson Sez

I had another I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing moment in a restaurant a few weeks back. Check this out: I’m sitting at the bar having dinner and this couple is canoodling next to me. There’s a lot of drinking and public displays of affection happening. I’m not a big fan of PDA, but love was in the air (or so I thought). Besides, who am I to judge?

After about a half hour, the two head for the door. He takes a straight line, she staggers out, clearly intoxicated. She’s drunk enough to have forgotten her purse on top of the bar. I grab it and chase her out the door and hand it to her.

I’m hoping her friend is driving because he appeared to be in charge of his senses. I go back to the bar and continue eating and, after about 10 minutes, the woman returns and staggers back to the bar and orders a Christmas ale which, as you know, is usually high in alcohol content. The bartender does not blink and fetches her the beer, which he pours into a glass.

At this point I’m thinking two things: One, why did the bartender serve an obviously drunk customer? Two, what’s going on with this woman and why did she returns 10 minutes later? There could be a logical, mundane reason, but I’m guessing she may be a “working girl” who is returning to her familiar post. Call me cynical.

The story gets more complicated; stay with me. After five minutes, she gets up from her bar stool with her mostly full glass of beer and saunters (make that zigzags) out the door. The bartender watches her leave. I look at the bartender with a WTF look on my face, but neither he nor any other employee working the restaurant makes an effort to stop her.

Now, I’m thinking two other things. Is it free beer night at so and so restaurant because this woman just left without paying? Second, what the hell is going on in this restaurant which, by the way, is pretty full with customers?

Within five minutes of the woman leaving, I pay my bill (I’m crazy that way) and I walk into the parking lot, where I spot the woman sitting in a car drinking her beer like this ain’t no big thing. I kinda think it is a big thing, so I walk back into the restaurant and tell the hostess that a drunk woman who left without paying is sitting in her car living it up with a free beer (her car stereo was blasting). From the hostess’s reaction to my comment, you’d think I told her that all was well with the world. “Thanks,” she said cheerfully. By the way, there was no manager in sight all evening.

Before I left again, I honestly looked around the restaurant to see if I could spot hidden cameras. I must be getting punked, I thought. Whatever the case, I should have dropped a dime on this woman and called the police, but I didn’t and I’m kicking myself for it. So, help me out: what do you think was going on during this episode of Another Night in Crazy Town? Did this drunk woman have a “relationship” with the restaurant? More importantly, what sorts of procedures do you have in place to prevent this sort of drunken nonsense? Please email me with your thoughts.

Michael Sanson, Editor-in-Chief  
e-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @MikeSansonRH

TAGS: Archive
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.