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Should bartenders be allowed to drink on the job?

Posted at 11:16 AM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 12:18:21-04

At Cedar Bar and Grill in Neenah, the bartenders can serve up all kinds of cocktails.

While they're on the job, they can't have the drinks they mix.

"100-percent no drinking behind the bar," owner Gretchen Diegel said.

Diegel has always had that policy in place.

"When you're dealing with cash in a business, in a bar, people, bartenders need to stay sober for that aspect of it," she said.

For that reason, Diegel supports a Neenah city ordinance requiring servers to be sober while on duty.

"We do not have a reputation, city of Neenah, of any bars where people go in there and leave there, that I'm aware of, intoxicated," Neenah Police Officer Stuart Zuehls said. "So, I think it's a pretty good ordinance."

If a bartender doesn't follow the policy, he or she could lose a liquor license. A handful of other Wisconsin cities have sober server ordinances in place. In Green Bay, an alderman is hoping the city can adopt a similar policy when new licenses are given out.

"It's just a smart way to go," Scannell said.

Scannell said it shows an expectation from the city.

"There's several things the police have picked up working with the bars through the years that are considered best practice, and that's one of them," Scannell said. "So the police, if you're starting out, will sit down and help you plan out security and all kinds of things to help you get going on your business."

What about when a customer wants to buy a bartender a drink or there's a game of bar dice? At Cedar Bar and Grill, a bartender can take a ticket and get that drink. They just have to be off the clock first.

"I don't think it affects anything business wise," Diegel said.