1. Home
  2.  › 
  3. Blog
  4.  › 
  5. Refusing alcohol service to an intoxicated patron

Refusing alcohol service to an intoxicated patron

Etiquette, rules and ideas

Alcohol intoxication is the mental condition or the altered state of mind due to excessive alcohol consumption. Here an intoxicated person might be affected in various degrees depending on the amount of alcohol consumed by him/her.  The magical content of Ethanol in those beverages consumed by the individuals during their own “Happy Hours” make them all intoxicated, in turn disturbing the physical poise and their mental stability.

 In Australia, it is a mandatory rule to adhere to the RSA [Responsible Service of Alcohol] laws. As per one of the rules mentioned in the RSA course, ‘An intoxicated patron could be refused of any further service by the licensed owner of the premises to avoid any unforeseen and unpleasant situations.’ According to this regulation:  bartender/steward/ a waiter can recognize the potentially intoxicated patron as…

  • This gives room for the safety of the licensed premises.
  • Consumption of alcohol any further may place other patrons and the staff at risk.
  • To avoid complications over litigation for the licensee.


If the staff does not act on their responsibilities as per the RSA, then they can get prosecuted. The licensee and staff can be held accountable for not abiding by the law, should an intoxicated patron jeopardise their life or the lives of the other patrons/customers/staff members.

The roads are not always rocky! We might hardly come across such people who would try hard to not accept your refusal. Most of the time, the patrons gracefully accept your concern and put an end for their alcohol consumption for the day. But the real challenge is when a highly intoxicated patron, who is unaware of their own behaviour, tries to decline your refusal in many ways. Those are the times when you would have Galaxy Training Australia’s winning ways to tackle this mammoth task. Here are some etiquette, rules and ideas of ‘Refusing alcohol service to an intoxicated patron’:


Identifying an Intoxicated patron 

  • Assessment of the level of intoxication: Check for the patron’s initial necessary information like the kind of drinks served, duration of alcohol consumption and obvious signs of intoxication like the strong smell of alcohol near the person and their behavioural changes. If in doubt confirm it by personally attending them, striking a conversation with them or keen observation for a period of time.
  • Changes in the behaviour: This is the obvious and the most prominent reason for you to start the procedure of refusal. If a patron is doing some hideous acts which are disturbing the tranquil premises or even the fellow patrons; this is the time you would head towards the red signal for the patron. Aggressive body language and profanity in the tongue are the evident signs.


Ways to refuse the supply

  • Providing them with alternatives like a glass of water or some gourmet food which would ease their urge to have more. Asking them to try some non-alcoholic drinks with a fancy name and evoke curiosity to try one, claiming to be their specialty!
  • Techniques to be used while refusing them from alcohol consumption must be way too away from being straightforward and blunt. This may make them more aggressive leading to complications.
  • Using a subtle tone, gentle gestures and a pleasant language could do the initial magic. Not losing your cool is the only option.
  • Using some out-of-the-box sentences instead of a plain “NO” can be beneficial. Some tips for you: 

      Nice to see you today, see you tomorrow!

      Could we get you a cab?

      Don’t you have anyone waiting at home? I guess it’s late.

      Guess your hands need rest. Let me take your glass.

  • Escalating to your manager if need be. If things go beyond control, an RSA licensee should seek the help of cops as the premises owner themselves could be penalized for not being successful in stopping an intoxicated person consume more alcohol which could prove dangerous for human health.
  • Putting up boards and signage regarding the same rule everywhere on the premises, which is predominantly visible to any patron. This to a certain extent prevents the drama.
  • It is not mandatory for the patron to evacuate the premises if under a state of intoxication. If things could come under control a patron has all rights to stay. But there is always a procedure involved adhering to which a bar owner/manager can request a patron to leave the place.


These are some of the best practices to be followed which refusing the further services of alcohol to an intoxicated patron. If the license holder fails to do so, he/she might be under the risk of losing their license as serving alcohol to an already intoxicated individual is also a violation.

Both serving and consumption of alcohol come with a lot of responsibility. It is always advisable to have fun responsibly, not at the cost of your health and the bar’s reputation.


Thursday, October 17, 2019 | by Galaxy Training Australia

← Back to Blog