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How bars and nightclubs make you drink more

Sébastien Tutenges has studied overt and covert techniques used in bars and nightclubs to sell more alcohol, and noticed that they are most prevalent in low-priced venues with young patrons.

Other than obvious methods to increase drinking – alcohol advertisements, special offers like Happy Hour, and large pitchers or shot glasses which speeds up consumption – bartenders can covertly affect patrons through strategic intimacy, flirting, and encouraging patrons to buy more alcohol by drinking with them. Through their actions and choice of music, the bartender manipulates the atmosphere, which is central to increasing consumption. The patrons also play a part in creating the atmosphere; when they move their bodies, order at the bar, call for toasts, kiss, and sing – and when they do not do it. Establishments that attract young people are especially prone to using concepts that increase drinking.

The Article, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, is the result of two research projects: ”Safer Bars and Nightclubs” by Sébastien Tutenges, researcher at the Department of Sociology in Lund, and ”Desires of the Night” by Dr Frederik Bøhling. Both studies were conducted in Denmark and focused on establishments where the majority of the patrons were 15-35 years old.

Read the article on the International Journal of Drug Policy’s homepage.

Sébastien Tutenges personal page.


Sebastién Tutenges
Sébastien Tutenges has an MA degree in anthropology and a PhD degree in sociology from Copenhagen University. He has previously worked as a Postdoc at Oslo University and as an Associate Professor at Aarhus University.