The responsibilities of nightclubs and bars are serious and wide-ranging

Primarily because alcohol is in the picture, bars and nightclubs have some unique safety responsibilities that other establishments may not.

Many people in Maryland head to nightclubs and bars to socialize, relax, try new drinks, and above all, have fun. Any establishment has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for its patrons, and nightclubs and bars tend to have a trickier time of it. This is because alcohol can be involved, and it sometimes impairs people's judgments and makes for tense situations. Here is a look at some of the responsibilities that nightclubs and bars have to keep their patrons safe.

Filtering who (or what) is allowed to enter

Suppose someone who is visibly drunk, belligerent or a known troublemaker is allowed to enter a bar. The establishment could be held responsible if the patron later assaults, stabs or shoots someone inside. So, it is critical that nightclubs and bars have security at entry points to ensure that the guests coming in are safe, sober enough and are not carrying prohibited weapons.

Furthermore, these security personnel should be of adequate mental and physical strength to prevent and ward off trouble. They must be well-trained to deal in crisis and prevention situations, and be able to defuse incidents with a minimum amount of harm. They should also have good memories and be able to think quickly on their feet.

Ensuring patrons do not drink too much

Another key responsibility is ensuring that patrons do not drink too much. For example, someone who leaves a bar intoxicated could get behind the wheel and end up injuring or killing someone. Maryland is in a minority of states as far as legal responsibility goes; its laws have nothing that specifically pertains to dram shops, but many other states have dram shop laws that give bars and nightclubs even more motivation to ensure the safety of the public. No matter the state a bar or nightclub is in, though, it makes good business sense and moral sense to ensure patrons are legally sober to drive.

Making sure patron behavior is aboveboard

Sexual harassment can be a big issue at bars and nightclubs. Alcohol often lowers patrons' inhibitions, leading to them making unwanted comments, touches and worse in some situations. Bars and nightclubs have a responsibility to train bartenders and other personnel so that they are equipped with the skills to recognize and deal with harassment. Such approaches can have a long-term boost on a bar's bottom line too. Patrons who went to a bar and felt safe there, enjoying the experience, are likely to return and to recommend the bar to other people.

Bars and nightclubs in Maryland and other states should do everything they can to keep people safe. If someone has been injured as a result of an action a bar or nightclub took (or did not take), it may help to consult with a lawyer.