Cracking down on bartenders over serving alcohol to customers - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Cracking down on bartenders over serving alcohol to customers

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

You've probably seen it before. You're out at bar, restaurant or nightclub and you see someone whose had a few too many.

Who's responsible if something happens to that person? The business and more specifically, the bartender.

That's why Brian Smith, a bartender at Dilworth Neighborhood Grille in Charlotte,  said he doesn't play when it comes to making sure he isn't over serving customers.

"Even if they've only had two, you know," he said. "They're acting like drunks, their done."

Smith also said the bar's owners have a zero tolerance for that.

"If you're doing this job, you need to understand that as soon as they walk out that door," he said. "You're not done."

The issue of over-serving is once again back in the spotlight after a Belmont man was hit and killed by a train.

Police say Mike Peters either passed out or fell asleep on the train tracks earlier this month.

Investigators say Peters had been at JAX Backstreet Tavern on Main Street in Belmont shortly before the accident where he was served more beer even though he was already drunk. 

Police arrested Alice Rhyne, one of the bartenders and Regina LaVecchia, the bar manager for serving alcohol to an intoxicated person.

It's why the Mecklenburg County ABC told WBTV they stay on top of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

They often send in undercover officers to make sure bartenders are aware of just how much alcohol they're serving folks. 

Smith is very aware of that and says spotting someone whose had a few too many keep him on his toes especially during football season.

"It could be five minutes that person is fine to they need to leave," he pointed out. "It's different mannerisms. I can look in somebody's eyes and I can instantly tell they are teetering on the edge of too much."

ABC officials also told WBTV most of the bars and restaurants in the county comply.

But they add bartenders not only face criminal charges, but civil penalties as well. A bar owner can be fined or even lose their license.

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