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Bars on the lookout

Ashlee Salamon | The Daily Wildcat Ashlee Salamon/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The area on 522 N 4th where creative ventures and the parking lot adjacent was in the process of getting a liquor licenses. The would-be bar was denied the licenses.

Binge-drinkers beware: the bars are watching.

Bars in Tucson, specifically those UA students frequent, have put plans in place for drunken patrons.


One of out 10 binge drinker drove home after leaving the bar the last time he or she drank heavily, a study to be published in October in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found.

Binge drinkers - men who have more than five drinks in a single night and women who have had more than four drinks in a single night at least once a month - were the focus of the study.

Of the 14,000 binge drinkers surveyed around 12 percent began driving within two hours of heavy drinking, The Associated Press reported.

Those same drivers said they had left a bar or another licensed establishment before getting into the driver's seat.

While many states have laws regulating the amount of alcohol sold to patrons, it's difficult for officials to enforce these laws because of the plethora of bars and the limited number of officers.

Bars in Tucson say they don't need to be policed because they actively follow these rules.

The most difficult part for bars is cutting people off, said Hillary Call, manager of the Auld Dubliner, 800 E University Blvd.

""People don't like to be cut off but we just stay calm,"" she said. ""We don't ever touch anyone or do anything like that. Instead, we offer them water and get them a taxi if that's what we need to do.""

Marketing senior Craig Yee said he remembers being thrown out of bar in Las Vegas after having too much to drink. Even there, he said, the experience was not so bad.

""They were pretty nice about it,"" he said. ""They make sure you're OK and then they escort you out.""

The bartender is the first line of defense, remembering how much each person has been drinking and not getting him or her to the point of being inebriated and belligerent, said Jazer Santon, a bartender at Dirtbags, 1800 E Speedway Blvd.

""It's our job to notice when they have been drinking too much,"" Santon said. ""So our main concern is to not get them to that point.""

If patrons do become too drunk, most bars have strategies to cut them off effectively.

""Once we cut them off, they have 30 minutes to leave the bar,"" Santon said. ""Then usually we walk them out and the fresh air really helps them.""

The Auld Dubliner has doormen who assist in walking out clientele who have drank too much after the bartender signals them, Call said.

Dirtbags works with Yellow Cab and Discount Cab companies to offers incentives for intoxicated people to use cabs, Santon said.

""We have cabs that wait outside and we have coupons for the cabs,"" Santon said. ""We have $2- and $3-off cab rides.""

When someone who visits the bar is designated as a sober driver, bars usually supply him or her with free non-alcoholic drinks.

""Usually when they're in here they drink soda, so we give them that for free,"" Santon said. ""It's a nice gesture of appreciation.""


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (9/16)
1,145 25 2.2%
Total (8/2)
19,921 377 1.9%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from
Updated September 16, 2021