Underage Drinking & Over-Serving In Bars Stressed In Sessions
The many lively bars at and around the Hermosa Beach, CA, Pier can – and do – give the impression to some that this is a wild and crazy drinking town.
It’s not (for comparison’s sake, one day and night on Mykonos in the Greek Islands would likely lead to quite a different perspective of things here) but the owners of the bars and restaurants take their roles as servers of alcohol very seriously.
And that is why the Hermosa Beach Hospitality Association, in conjunction with the Behavior Health Services, Inc. (BHS), holds regular training sessions with bartenders to teach them responsible serving behavior.
The bartenders actually sit in a schoolroom-type environment and take a class on identifying underage drinkers and not serving drinks to intoxicated patrons. They are given tips and drills as part of the presentation.
The class lasts four hours and happens on a quarterly basis. The most recent class was the third week of October.
“We mainly talk about how to recognize when a minor enters your establishment, how to refuse service to a minor and what the penalties are for that,” said Raunda Frank, Prevention Outreach Specialist for the BHS, an independent organization that runs the classes. “With an intoxicated person, we train them how to observe their symptoms and how to refuse serve to them without escalating a situation.”
The biggest thing bartenders are told to do regarding an intoxicated patron is to offer a non-alcoholic drink and even food but better yet, bring in the manager.
Regarding checking to be sure one is of legal drinking age – which in California is 21 – Frank shows them some neat “hidden” features contained in the California driver’s license. She points out the signature is a raised signature, if you hold a light up to to the back of a license there’s a California bear symbol and when held up to a UV light an additional photo is displayed.
Her organization enjoys great cooperation from Hermosa Beach, from the hospitality association to the police and the city.
“We feel there’s a real collaboration between everyone to deal with public safety issues and keeping access to alcohol away from minors,” Frank said.
So folks, Hermosa Beach is not the Wild West when it comes to drinking and the bars.
These seminars, which take place on a quarterly basis, are held for bartenders of bars and restaurants throughout Los Angeles County, as well.