15 Stories About Hero Bartenders & Safeword Drinks That Saved People From A Scary Situation At A Bar

In this day and age, it doesn't hurt to be too careful. That is why many bars have "safeword drinks" to protect their guests. Feel unsafe or need a helping hand? Say the name of this uncommon or fake drink and a bartender will come to the rescue. Here are a few stories from both bartenders and patrons when a helping hand was desperately needed in local pub

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  • 'Angela' To The Rescue

    From Redditor u/lozmate:

    Here in Sydney a few bars have signs on the back of bathroom stalls which say that if you’re on a first date or are feeling uncomfortable with the person you’re with you go up to the bar or just mention "Angela" and the staff will call you a cab or make up a situation to get you out of it.

    My friend was on a Tinder date and the dude was being really creepy so she went up to the bar and mentioned "Angela" and they came up to her table a few minutes later saying her mum had called the restaurant because she couldn’t get through to her phone and that there was a family emergency and they booked her a cab to get home.

  • 'I'm Her Boyfriend'

    From Redditor u/floomsy:

    This is a relatively new thing, but us girls have been doing some form of it for a long time.

    Back when I was a bartender, I noticed a girl stumble into the pool table. She was crying and clearly very intoxicated. I went over to ask if she was okay, and some guy I hadn’t seen her with all night jumps up and says, “I’m her boyfriend, I’ve got her.” No, the f--- you do not.

    We got her to calm down and give us her phone to call her roommate so someone safe could take her home. It sucks that it’s necessary, but I’ll always love my boss from that bar because he threw that creep out, physically.

    We saw her again. She didn’t have a boyfriend or remember that night.

  • 'The Pink Russian'

    From Redditor u/YoungPatrickBateman:

    The bar I used work at had signs in the women’s bathroom informing the ladies to order a “Pink Russian” if they were feeling uncomfortable with their date.

    Side Note: Yes, I know a Pink Russian is an actual drink, but it’s not one that we had on the menu or would make. We would simply respond “Unfortunately, we don’t stock the ingredients to make a Pink Russian” and then the wheels of the escape plan start to spin.

    There was only one public entry/exit point to our bar, so our procedure, when possible was to escort them through the kitchen and out through the loading dock so their creeper date wouldn’t see them leaving.

    If they weren’t able to order the drink on their own at the bar for whatever reason, or they ordered at the table, we would make an excuse to have the guy come to the bar - typically something wrong with their credit card (we required a credit card be held in the cash till when running a bar tab). Or if the lady had placed her credit card for the tab then we’d ask her to come up and “resolve the issue”.

    Over the three years I worked there, I’d estimate at least one lady a week ordering a Pink Russian in the winter months and maybe 3 or 4 a week in the summer months (it’s a waterside bar, increased patronage in the summer).

    The one that stands out most in my memory was a young lady, maybe 22, on a date with this 35+ year old dude. When she got up to go to the bathroom, he waited outside the toilet door for her. And then she wanted to order a drink at the bar and he stood unnecessarily close to her while she ordered. Kept telling her what she should get. She looked at me while smiling like she was dead inside and cheerily said “a double Pink Russian, straight up, please”. She wanted out immediately. I gave her the line about not having the ingredients, but offered a strawberry daiquiri instead with a wink and nod of acknowledgement.

    In an effort to separate them I asked him if he’d like to start a bar tab, he said no, so I jeered him a bit saying things like “I’m sure running a tab will impress your date here” and “It means you’ll see my face less, because I won’t have to come to the table to charge your drinks each round.” He started the tab, ordered his beer, and they went to sit down.

    About 5 minutes after they sat down, I went out and asked him if he could come to the bar because there was a problem with the pre-authorisation charge we do on bar tab credit cards. He comes up. I fiddle around with the machine so it would decline his care a few times.

    One of the girls I work with went over to their table and asked the lady if she ordered the Pink Russian, she said yes, and they get up to head out through the kitchen while old mate is at the bar fixing his card problem.

    Her date happened to turn around in frustration as the lady walked into the kitchen and asked why she was going in there. I shrugged and said I’d go find out. Went into the kitchen for a minute came back and said “one of the chefs knows her, just wanted to say hi.” The dude then proceeds to stand at the kitchen door for 10 minutes waiting for her.

    He was asked several times to move because he’s in the way. He then accused us of kidnapping his date because she hadn’t come back. I had to tell him she bailed on him because she wouldn’t be coming back. He started making a scene and demanded to go into the kitchen to see if she was there. Pushed his way through and saw she wasn’t in there.

    He stormed out and said he was calling the police. By this point we had to tell him what was up because we didn’t want to waste the police time.

    He made a scene after being told he made her uncomfortable for whatever reason and she needed us to escort her out. He kept going and we had to call police to get him to leave, explained the situation to them, and they just responded saying “maybe you shouldn’t be a [creep], mate” and the dude left.

    The lady came in a few weeks later to thank us for helping her out.

  • 'With An Extra Lime Wedge'

    From Redditor u/nmxh:

    Not exactly a "safeword" drink, but some strip clubs will have an "alcohol free" code phrase for the dancers that don't want to get hammered and don't want to refuse drinks. For example, "with an extra lime wedge." The guy still gets charged for a normal drink so he's none the wiser.

  • Bartender Lures The Creep Away

    From Redditor u/Betsy514:

    I've experienced the bartender hero before. Out with a friend in DC. Guy comes up, stands way too close, introduces himself and shakes my hand WAY to hard and WAY too long. I had to actually pull my hand away and he kept the grip.

    I politely told him i was visiting a friend I hadn't seen in a while and wanted to spend my time with her and turned my back. He kept standing there, trying to talk to me. I again, but more firmly, told him I wasn't interested.

    He stayed. He orders another drink and the bartender serves him - all the way at the other end of the bar. Actually showed him his drink and said it will be over here and walked it as far away from us as he could. I thought that was brilliant. He got a very very good tip from us.

  • Drinking With 'Drunky McSmashypants'

    From Redditor u/taratorial:

    A guy I was with was with was SUPER adamant about me keeping up with him slamming drinks. He would drag me to the bar and order for me, then egg me on to drink faster, etc. I did NOT want to be drunk with him.

    He ordered me a vodka soda and I maintained that slightly pained look on my face, hoping to catch the bartenders attention. When he looked my way, I widened my eyes just a little and subtly shook my head “no.”

    I watched him as he poured me drink by faking the vodka pour and just filling me with what I presume was soda water (not normally my drink of choice so I wasn’t sure what it was - kinda looked like stale Sprite) and he garnished it with a lime and everything. Said “cheers” when he handed us our drinks.

    This continued for a while until Drunky McSmashypants wanted to leave. Bartender said to me “Oh, you had asked about seeing Megan, right?! Yeah she’s in the back. Go ahead while he closes out”

    I sort of hovered by the restrooms which were tucked away, watched the bartender BS with the dude for a while, and he eventually left lookin all annoyed. When the coast was clear, I came out, said my thank yous, and he said “anytime, happens more than we care to admit” so I thought it was pretty cool that the bartenders were aware enough to pick up on the little signs and help a sister out. I guess during their conversation he basically convinced the dude that I didn’t seem into it and he thought he saw me leave already.

    Drunk dude was druuuuuunk so I guess he bought it without further intervention necessary.