Posted on: February 23, 2024

Angel Shots: Protecting Customers from Sexual Assault

angel shots

The vibrant energy of bars and restaurants can quickly turn uncomfortable if patrons feel unsafe. Unfortunately, sexual assault is a harsh reality, leaving individuals fearing for their well-being. Thankfully, initiatives like "Angel Shots" offer a discreet way to signal for help, empowering both staff and customers to create a safer environment.

In this blog, we'll delve into the concept of angel shots, explore how they contribute to a safer nightlife environment, and discuss the importance of alcohol safety training in fostering a culture of vigilance and prevention.

What is an Angel Shot?

An angel shot is a drink order made by a customer to inform a bartender that they are in an unsafe situation and need assistance. They are one of many methods for bartenders to improve customer safety.

A customer asking for an angel shot indicates that they need help but do not feel comfortable outright asking for it in their present situation. These orders are usually requested in the presence of someone else who puts the customer in a dangerous position or makes the customer feel uncomfortable.

By understanding the meaning of an angel shot and taking the appropriate actions, you can help customers who are at risk of the following:

  • Trafficking
  • Sexual assault
  • Abduction
  • Physical assault
  • Any other possible threats

Angel shots are a discrete way for someone to ask for help when they feel unsafe. Therefore, understanding what to do in the instance of an angel shot is vital.

Who Can Order an Angel Shot?

Anyone who feels threatened, unsafe, or unsure of a situation can order an angel shot. Regardless of age, race, gender, intoxication level, or any other factors, an angel shot indicates that the customer feels unsafe and needs help removing themselves from the situation.

Things do not need to seem escalated or heated for an angel shot to be ordered. It is the bartender's responsibility to take the words "angel shot" seriously, regardless of how the situation seems.

If you are wondering whether or not to order an angel shot, it is essential to note that safety should always come first. If someone makes you feel unsafe in any way, you should put your safety first and ask for help. It is better to use caution and prioritize your safety than risk getting hurt.

What Types of Angel Shots Are Available?

Depending on the type of assistance needed, some people who order an angel shot may use various additional terms to indicate what they need from the bartender.

Different restaurants may have different variations for their angel shots. However, an angel shot means you need help regardless of what other terms may be recognized.

Here are the other terms people may use and what they may mean:

  • Straight Up or Neat: The customer is requesting an escort to their car.
  • On Ice or On the Rocks: The customer is asking the bartender to arrange for a taxi or rideshare vehicle discreetly.
  • With a Twist/Lemon/Lime: The customer believes they're in immediate danger and requests that the police be called.

What Should Bartenders Do When Someone Orders an Angel Shot?

When a customer orders an angel shot, it is the bartender's responsibility to believe they are in an unsafe situation. The bartender should aid in getting the customer to safety. Some customers may be smiling and seem to be in good humor or even appear to be joking to make the situation seem normal and not alarm the potential threat. If someone orders an angel shot, bartenders should take immediate action.

If someone orders an angel shot, a bartender may do any of the following:

  • Alert the authorities.
  • Order a ride for the requestor.
  • Distract the person or group of people away from the ordering customer.
  • Escort the customer to their vehicle.

Most bartenders will serve a customer a shot glass or drink with water, juice, or soda while waiting for authorities to arrive or until they have a chance to escort someone to their ride. This makes the appearance that the person ordered a drink and will not alert the potential abuser to take action and remove them from the situation.

Some customers may understand the concept of an angel shot without knowing or remembering how to request their specific needs in the order. It is best to smile and appear to accept the order. In this case, get the customer a non-alcoholic drink and look for a way to get the person alone to ask them what they need. If you cannot find a way to speak to the person, alert the authorities.

As a bartender, the safety of your customers comes above everything else. Taking the appropriate action when someone uses the term "angel shot" could save their life.

Contribute to a Safer Environment With TIPS

Initiatives like angel shots represent a positive step forward in the ongoing effort to combat sexual assault in nightlife environments. However, they must be complemented by robust alcohol safety training programs that empower bar staff to recognize and respond to signs of danger proactively.

Our online alcohol safety training courses provide comprehensive resources and guidance to help establishments create a safer nightlife environment. Enroll today and join us in our mission to protect customers from sexual assault and promote responsible hospitality.