“How can they get away with it? I’ve been a bartender for the past three years, and I’ve seen young people drink themselves silly and insist that they’ll drive back home when they are not in a condition to even stand. Try telling them that we can call a cab to drop them home, and you have no idea how rude people get.
Mostly, they have girlfriends and want to behave all macho in front of them, and not admit that they can not drive. As a bartender, it’s my duty to deny drinks to someone who appears to be too drunk already, but more often than not, it ends up in an ugly scene. They start threatening, saying things like, “nahin dega toh main bill nahin doonga, kar le joh karna hai” (if you won’t serve a drink, I won’t pay, do what you want to).
Men, we can still deal with. With girls, it’s a very tricky situation, because we can’t touch them, even if it is to help them lie down somewhere when they are totally sloshed. And some of these girls are without an escort, and have driven to the club on their own. At such a time, I just signal to my female colleagues...we refuse to serve them and call a cab. Once, a 25-year-old girl was so drunk that she passed out in the bathroom. She had her boyfriend with her, but he, too, was wasted and couldn’t drive. We got them black coffee, picked them up and got them into a cab.
Then, there was a boy who passed out in the bathroom with no identity proofs on him. We spent three hours trying to figure out who he was; we must have called around 24 people before we finally managed to find someone who knew him and took him home in his car.
We have placed cards on the bar table with phone numbers of cab services, so that people call a cab when too drunk but not many use it. I don’t serve drinks to underaged but checking IDs also involves a lot of diplomacy because people get offended.
Suyash Pande is a bartender at Aqua, The Park Hotel.
Did you know?
According to the latest statistics by Delhi Traffic police, 6,476 people were caught drinking and driving from January 2010 till mid July.
According to the data sourced by Compassion NGO from various Government organisations, nearly 7,500 people are killed in roads accidents every year in the Delhi and NCR region, the major factor being drink driving and road rage.