Cocktails Neon Signage for Serving Alcohol bar

Security for Late Night Alcohol Serving Establishment

Security staff for alcohol-serving establishments has many tasks.  Whether it's checking identification, dealing with issues such as harassment, or possible patron’s impairment. It is the staff's duty of care to control patron’s while on the premises. It is essential to realize that staying open later inherits a prominent need for responsibility with greater controls and education.

Having late operating hours means your establishment may be the last of many that a patron has visited, or that you may experience a higher rate of patrons who are already possibly impaired wanting to enter. Here are some considerations.

SCAB Check

A SCAB or Speech, Coordination, Appearance, Behavior check is used during the carding process to assess late-night customers entering an alcohol-serving establishment. This will help you look for evidence of any previous drinking and potential impairment. Since the patron may have possibly come from a different alcohol-serving establishment, it's crucial to make sure continued alcohol consumption doesn't become an issue. Bar hopping can mean that the last establishment may be liable even if the individual has been drinking at multiple establishments all day.

Using SCAB, patron checks should be continual and ongoing.

Reduced Drink Specials

Drink specials maybe illegal in your state. It's essential to check your state and local ordinances to see if drink specials are allowed.  If they are, be sure to have continuous and ongoing observations by staff. No one should be allowed back to the bar to purchase more drinks if they are visibly intoxicated.

Compliance/Persuasion Interventions

It's important that staff is trained to ask patrons for compliance or persuade them, instead of using force. You should always ask the patron to comply. Explain what is happening and why. Be polite and smile.

bartenders behind the bar

House Policy

The establishment should have well-defined house policies with respect to alcohol and hold all employees to the same standard.  Always remember house policy can be stricter than state laws and city ordinances.

Examples of late-night establishment standard house policies include:

  • The highly regulated frequency of staff scanning the establishment.
  • The manager's availability to assist staff with drinking events that require a higher degree of control.
  • No drinking on the job for employees
  • A script of common intervention responses
  • Assisting of patron's who can pose a risk is always done with a manager.


Remember, it's always possible for late night establishment to have a safe, controlled, and observed establishment. It just takes knowledge, diligence, and manners. Universal respect can mean that addressing patron's unwanted behaviors and actions are easier in the long run. There is no price to pay when safety is involved.


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