What you need to know about the Angel Shot drink


Angel Shot drinks have become an important way to discreetly help guests who feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Using coded drink names like ‘Angel Shot with lime’ or ‘Angel Shot neat’ means guests can quietly signal staff for help getting home safely or removed from potentially dangerous situations without alerting the person who is making them feel endangered.

Here, we’ve put together a complete guide on implementing an effective Angel Shots protocol, from staff training to legal considerations.

What is an Angel Shot drink?

An Angel Shot is simply a code phrase people can use to subtly notify staff that they need assistance without putting themselves in further potential danger. Often, Angel Shots are ordered as specific coded drink names that designate different types of help needed from employees.

The Angel Shot system allows guests to quietly signal that they require aid in making an exit or being removed from an uncomfortable situation. Whether it’s an overly aggressive date, an ex-partner confrontation or feeling unsafe around other guests, the Angel Shots empower people to secretly ask for staff help without inflaming what could become dangerous encounters if they were to try to abruptly leave alone.

The coded drink orders allow guests to discreetly indicate their need to get away from precarious settings in the company of someone possibly possessing violent tendencies or willful intentions to harm. For all intents and purposes, an Angel Shot provides a layer of protection that relies on the insider knowledge of employees to recognize the drink as a call for help.

Types of Angel Shot drink codes

There are a few common types of Angel Shot drink codes floating about. The most frequent include:

Angel Shot With Ice

Call a taxi or rideshare service like Uber or Lyft for the customer requesting the Angel Shot with ice. This coded order signifies that the guest needs transportation arrangements made to securely get them away from the venue or situation they feel endangered in.

Angel Shot Neat or Straight Up

Safely walk the customer to their vehicle when they are ready to leave the premises. This allows staff to discreetly monitor the guest and ensure they make it to their vehicle securely if they feel unsafe getting there alone.

Angel Shot with lime

Angel Shot with lime is for anyone who feels the highest level of potential threat based on aggressive or unwanted advances and needs assistance exiting discreetly from the offender observing them. This may include getting the police involved.

These are the standard Angel Shot drink code definitions used by most establishments with the system in place. However, bars and restaurants can name their drinks whatever they want depending on their specific menus, as long as it helps staff respond correctly.

There may also be different interpretations of what these phrases mean. Some establishments might use these special words as a signal for guests to speak to bar management, have staff call a friend or family member, or for guests who believe their previous drink may have been spiked.

Training all front-of-house staff, security, and even kitchen teams on the meaning of special drink orders is crucial. They need to recognize these coded calls for help. Associating specific ingredients, like ‘neat’ or ‘with lime,’ with certain assistance procedures can be a critical intervention.


Angel Shot awareness

When including Angel Shot options on menus or signage, bars should avoid loudly advertising it as an emergency measure. Subtle cues like noting that drinks ‘can be ordered neat, on the rocks or with lime’ create awareness for anyone needing help without raising suspicions from dangerous persons possibly accompanying them.

Table tent cards in discrete locations like restrooms detailing the Angel Shots program are also a low-key way to disseminate information without openly promoting it. Strategically placed stickers on the undersides of tables or discreet chalkboard specials near hidden exits can also amplify the availability of Angel Shots if someone needs assistance without broadcasting it to unwanted company that could turn volatile.

Simple coded language like ‘ask your bartender about drink flavors’ can hint at secret menu options without excessive publicity. The goal is to raise awareness of the Angel Shot program through quiet, insider references for guests needing help while not widely promoting it in ways that could jeopardize the safety of someone closely shadowed by a dangerous companion.

Implementing an internal Angel Shot procedure

Bars and restaurants with an Angel Shot program should establish clear written policies for staff on how to respond to coded orders. This includes:

  • Where to discreetly take guests requesting help
  • How to arrange safe transportation home
  • When to involve security or law enforcement if the situation escalates

Getting guests safely to vehicles or other secure locations should be a top priority. Calling authorities is only recommended if threats are made or violence means that staff can’t maintain a safe and secure environment.

Legal considerations for assisting guests

Staff need to be aware of liability issues around getting involved with disputes between customers when responding to Angel Shot requests. However, there is a duty of care that establishments must have for their guests, especially if they’re feeling unsafe or at risk of harm.

Trying to arrange safe transport via licensed taxi or attempting to remove guests from environments where threats or unwanted advances are being made falls under accepted premises duty-of-care policies.

Staff should use sound judgment when evaluating just how much danger someone appears to be in before calling the local police or security. Being trained to spot escalations or signs of potential violence can help guide appropriate reactions and keep guests and the business premises protected.


Educating your staff on the specifics of the Angel Shot system

All customer-facing staff should undergo training to respond to Angel Shot drink orders per company guidelines. Appropriate and effective education includes thoroughly informing the entire staff – from hosts to servers, bartenders, security and kitchen teams – on the particulars of the codified Angel Shots system and what each drink code signals.

Practicing response through role-play

Practicing through simulations helps staff react instinctively to various ‘Angel Shot’ requests. By role-playing, staff can practice how to respond correctly, be it organizing rides or escorting guests who need help.

Emphasizing discretion and confidentiality

Responding to Angel Shot calls for assistance requires very high discretion and complete guest confidentiality. Training should emphasize the risks someone may face if their request or situation is made public and how staff can protect privacy when assisting.

Reviewing de-escalation and liability considerations

In addition to response protocols, education should focus on diffusing aggressive cases, understanding liability and reviewing bystander intervention best practices. This equips staff to provide helpful aid while also mitigating the business risk.

Putting your staff through in-depth training will prepare the entire team to recognize coded signals effectively and privately for assistance. It will provide timely, safe aid to guests feeling endangered or extremely uncomfortable, whether an Angel Shot request occurs during their shift or that of a colleague.

Why offering Angel Shots is good business

First and foremost, offering Angel Shot drinks means you’re being socially responsible and taking duty of care towards guests who may find themselves in danger. Having a good ethical code will also help build trust with guests who see your establishment as a safe place to socialize, whether it’s for a meal or drink.

Beyond that, it can also potentially deter poor behavior from guests because they’re aware that you have a procedure in place. Promoting discreet words or signals to ask for help creates welcoming environments for more guests. And bars seen as safe community spaces can benefit as a result.

Summary: The Angle Shot

Implementing an Angel Shot system requires some forethought and training to execute it properly. But subtly advertising code words for guests to discreetly request assistance from staff will help them feel safe, and that’s one of the most important emotions you can create for anyone dining or drinking at your spot.