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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bad bars: A review of risk factors
Journal of Substance Use, June 2007; 12(3): 157–189

Bars, inns, taverns, and hotels have been popular settings for recreational alcohol consumption for centuries. The bar is firmly established as an important adjunct of leisure in many societies. Alcohol consumption in bars is mainly convivial, restrained and problem-free. Even so it has long been apparent that heavy drinking in bars is associated with aggression, violence, public disorder and injuries.

This paper examines published empirical evidence related to the possibility that problematic behaviours are associated with identifiable characteristics of a bar.

It is concluded that evidence suggests that a number of factors are associated with elevated risks that a bar will be a focus for problematic behaviour. These risk factors are considered under the following main headings: internal physical characteristics and atmosphere (e.g. layout, crowding), organizational factors (e.g. beverage promotions, entertainment), patron characteristics (e.g. gender, age), beverage choice and external characteristics (e.g. location, density).

It is concluded that the type of evidence presented here should be taken into account when reviewing licensing arrangements, designing bars and planning the location, type and density of bars in any locality where such establishments are situated.

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