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Try to identify territorial bars

Alcohol can make bar patrons more volatile.
Alcohol can make bar patrons more volatile.
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

Just as awareness of a person’s surroundings is important on the street, such awareness also is important when a person is in a bar, especially a territorial bar. Many fights break out in bars, and these fights often become more deadly when the readily available beer mugs, beer bottles, chairs, pool cues, and heavy ash trays are used in such fights.

A territorial bar is usually a small bar that local residents frequent. They might consider the territorial bar to be “their” bar, and, if so, they might be hostile toward boisterous “outsiders” wandering into “their bar,” especially if these “outsiders” are inebriated. Two examples of a territorial bar might be a small bar frequented by:

  1. Local blue collar workers who might resent the presence in “their” bar of a young, brash college kid from the local college.
  2. Local residents who did not continue their education after high school and who might resent an arrogant, local college student who wanders into “their” bar.

Some other ways to identify a territorial bar might include behaviors such as:

  1. The bartender letting regular patrons run bar tabs and cash checks, but demanding immediate payment from the “outsiders,” to whom he gives poor quality service.
  2. The regular patrons being silently or openly hostile toward the “outsiders.”
  3. The regular patrons, all seeming to know each other well, are talking about local residents they all know in common.

A person could wander into a territorial bar and not recognize it right away as a territorial bar. Not all territorial bars are as obvious as biker bars. A habit of using and befriending taxi drivers, especially those who have an awareness of the reputations of the different bars, might help a bar hopper to avoid dangerous bars. Going barhopping with at least one friend also is a good idea.

When frequenting any bar, some actions, such as keeping a low profile for a while and tipping the bartender and the waitress well, can help a person or group to minimize the chances of trouble.

Once people realize that they are in a territorial bar, they can more intelligently decide whether to stay or to leave. If they are well behaved and old enough, they have the legal right to stay in a public drinking establishment. Some people might decide, however, that staying is not worth the risk of trouble, or at least the risk of an unpleasant evening.

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