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Safe Night Out for Teens

Some teens may try drinking alcohol before they are the legal drinking age of 19. They may drink at parties or they may even get a hold of a fake I.D. and try to go out to bars or night clubs. Help your child make informed decisions to minimize the risk of alcohol-related harms to themselves and their friends. Here are tips on how to have a safe night out.


While the safest option is to abstain from drinking and avoid places where alcohol is being served, there are ways for teens to have a safe night out if they choose to drink. Knowing how to avoid unsafe situations and how to choose a place with the least amount of risks can help.

Avoid Unsafe Bars or Clubs

BC has laws that prevent those under 19 from getting into bars or nightclubs. But there are still underage pub-goers that manage to get in. Point out factors that make a bar or night club unsafe to your teen so they know how to avoid risks now and later when they turn legal drinking age.

Avoid bars and clubs that:

  • are located near clusters of other alcohol-serving establishments and liquor outlets
  • stay open for extended hours and allow over-crowding
  • have happy hours
  • serve customers who are clearly intoxicated
  • provide low-quality entertainment
  • have aggressive, poorly-trained security and service staff
  • lack telephones and safe-ride transportation options
  • have blocked exits and pathways, as well as poor interior and exterior lighting
  • feature uncomfortable furniture and noise levels
  • have dark, dirty washroom areas

What to Look for in a Bar or Club

1. Trained servers and staff:

  • Servers that cut people off when they’ve had too much to drink reduce the chances of drunken fights or someone driving home intoxicated.
  • Staff trained to defuse conflict and manage aggressive behaviour can stop a frustrating situation from becoming a full-on fight.
  • Trained door staff know how to defuse conflict before it starts, and are skilled at behaviour management.
  • Door staff who regularly check identification are more likely to work for bars or clubs that value both the law and customers.

2. Environment:

  • Bars and clubs with multiple floors (as opposed to a single floor) make it easier for customers to see and be seen by staff.
  • Clear pathways and exits make it easier for people to move around without bumping into others and potentially starting a fight.
  • Comfortable lighting, seating, sound and ventilation keep costumers calmer and less likely to become frustrated.
  • Sufficient, well-lit washrooms reduce the risk of assault and other crimes.
  • Tempered glassware is safer and less likely to be broken and used as weapons in a bar fight.
  • Places that offer free soft drinks or water are linked to fewer drunk driving charges and fewer cases of public intoxication.
  • Places that have food available tend to have less aggressive customers and fewer incidents of violent behavior.

3. Entertainment

  • Places that feature varied, high-quality entertainment, have fewer incidents of boredom, frustration and intoxication.

4. Outdoor environment

  • Fully-lit outdoor areas deter people from committing crimes or loitering. It also helps people see more of their surroundings so they feel safer when heading home.
  • Bars or clubs with clean, clear sidewalks and queuing areas, reduce the risk of costumers falling or injuring themselves due to crowded line-ups and mobility problems.
  • Places with security cameras tend to have less misconduct and violence outside the bar or club.

5. Transportation options

  • Safe-ride services offered in bars and clubs decrease alcohol-related vehicle accidents.
  • Establishments that have accessible telephones and taxi services, or are close to major bus routes, encourage crowds to disperse quicker.

Resources & Links: Binge Drinking
Dry Grad Guidebook for BC

Last Updated: March 31, 2015