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Happy hour promotes after hour trouble

CARDIFF U. (UK) — Street violence by bar patrons can be attributed to promotions for reduced drinks and other specials, according to a new study.

Customers entering and leaving pubs and nightclubs with a history of violence across five different cities and towns in the U.K. were breathalized and data about the price of beer and other drink promotions was recorded.

Researchers then compared that data to police and hospital data about assaults inside or outside the premises.

Premises at the highest level of violence were most likely to have the greatest change in customers’ intoxication levels between entry and exit and were also likely to have the most drink price promotions.

Details of the study are reported in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

In addition, drinking establishments are not doing enough to stop intoxicated customers from continuing to consume alcohol.

Simple observation of customers staggering or slurring their speech was an accurate predicator of the levels of intoxication recorded by the breathalysers.

“Our findings clearly show that alcohol misuse and violence are not simply caused by drinkers’ weaknesses,” says Simon Moore of Cardiff University. The way premises are run also contributes, suggesting the industry still has more to do in playing its part.

“The legislation requiring bar staff not to serve those who are already drunk should be properly enforced. These customers are not difficult to spot—time should be called on those who can no longer walk in a straight line or who slur their speech.

“Measures to restrict promotions and enforce sensible drinking would make night-time city centers healthier and more enjoyable spaces for everyone who uses them.”

The team’s findings have just been published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism and the Project was funded by the Medical Research Council.

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