Bar Fights Not Worth It

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 26, 2009 Ed Cartoon

It is no secret that alcohol and aggression often go hand-in-hand. With alcohol consumption being a popular past time for many university-aged people, London’s bars can, at times, become violent environments.

Though certain bars have a greater reputation for fighting than others, what cannot be denied is the fact fights happen on a fairly regular basis in many establishments. But how culpable bar owners can be for what happens at their businesses and the potential for certain environments to encourage aggression is still a point of contention.

From the outset it would seem clear bars do not wish for fights to occur. However, bars inadvertently act as a place where acts of aggression are more likely to take place. The darkness and loud music combined with a cramped and alcohol-fueled atmosphere can heighten tension and cause otherwise withdrawn people to act in a violent manner.

Indeed, for many the bar can act as a social arena, where establishing ones’ self at the top of the social pyramid can be a primal desire. The fact that conflicts at bars can escalate rapidly does not help matters.

While it may be easy to blame the claustrophobic bar scene for creating a conflict-prone space, that would be an oversimplification of the issue.

For example, bar fighters are often able to instigate fights, and after being kicked out of the bar, they typically face no further consequences. After all, bar employees are instructed to remove fighters from the premises as quickly as possible. However, this approach forfeits the opportunity for criminal charges, as holding fighters until police arrive may not always be a possibility.

Some bars may attempt to circumvent this issue by promoting a “tough” image. This is not an ideal solution, as employees may feel the need to maintain a tough image and break the law by violently exceeding their authority as security.

Worse still, in these situations bars also run the risk of instigating more fights. The tough image can cause patrons to believe bouncers will act violently and ruin any potential chance for a peaceful solution to a situation. The common anecdote of a bouncer who violently lashed out can often taint the image of bars as a whole.

One potential solution is ensuring fighters are held accountable for their actions. There is no reason why bars should be any different from other businesses when it comes to fighting. Bars should communicate both internally amongst staff and externally with other clubs to ban repeat offenders. After all, though fighters tend to drink more than other customers, the financial incentive is minor when compared to the potential negative image they can give a business.

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