The Angel Shot: A Secret Code to Keep Women Safe in Bars

Heading out for a drink with friends or colleagues seems like the perfect way to unwind and enjoy after a long day at work. But what happens when you are harassed or find yourself feeling unsafe while at the bar?

Unfortunately, these situations have become alarmingly common for women around the world. To address this problem, some bars and restaurants now use what’s called an “Angel Shot.”

What is an Angel Shot?

An Angel Shop is a safeword drink that means HELP ME without screaming, HELP ME. It is a secret code that allows women patrons to communicate discreetly about uncomfortable experiences they may be having while inside the establishment.

This code word can help women feel secure knowing there is something in place to protect their well-being in case things get out of hand.

How Does An Angel Shot Work?

When you arrive at participating establishments that offer “Angel Shots,” go up to any employee behind the counter and say that you want an “Angel Shot.”

Depending on where you’re located or which establishment type it is (bar or pub, nightclub, etc.), different signals will initiate various types of assistance discreetly so as not to draw attention:

Angel Shot Neat or Straight Up – someone will walk alongside you securely until safely seeing you enter your car so that others don’t approach you when alone.

Angel Shot On Ice or On the Rocks– staff members will call ridesharing services and ensure they don’t let intoxicated drivers behind the wheel themselves.

Angel Shot With Lime/Twist/Lemon – employees will alert security guards or law enforcement officials, ensuring swift action against any possible harassment attempts.

How To Order An Angel Shot

If you’re at a bar or restaurant which offers Angel Shots, ordering them is relatively straightforward:

1. Go up to any bar employee and request an Angel Shot.
2. Depending on what type of assistance needed here’re three different signals you may consider:

  • ‘Neat’ means you would like someone walking alongside securing your exit until arriving safely at your car;
  • ‘With ice’ requires staff members calling a ridesharing service upon receiving your confirmation.
  • ‘With Lime’ indicates that law enforcement officers should be contacted right away!

While establishments might vary slightly in how Angel Shots operate – by sticking to simple cues similar across all participating parties ensure you get exactly the kind of assistance required from the bar or restaurant staff if need be.

Woman at Bar Alone

Why Do We Need To Use Angel Shots?

Women should be able to enjoy an evening without needing to fear harassment or other forms of intimidation. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, An estimated 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men in the US reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime. A considerable number of these attacks occur inside bars and nightclubs.

The reality is that this issue isn’t limited to just one corner of the globe; it is a problem worldwide. That’s why initiatives like “Angel Shots” are so important – they offer an easy way for women to communicate any distress in terms beyond traditional reactions such as screaming or calling for help.

It’s also worth noting that Angel Shots aren’t exclusive only to women, men are encouraged always to use this code if needed too.

Other Ways To Ensure Safety In Bars

Even with participating establishments having staff trained in how best-to respond when patrons signal feeling uncomfortable, general safety measures could come in handy as well:

  1. Always keep good company: Going out along with friends always keeps things lively and ensures safety numbers-wise.
  2. Watch your drink – Avoid accepting drinks from people whom you do not know; pay attention while preparing or refilling ordered beverages rather than turning away.
  3. Trust your instincts: Leaving an establishment or losing friend company could mean signaling, wait staff, police, or even guards to help ensure safety.
  4. Ensure staying sober – it’s important to remain in control and stay alert while enjoying yourself for the evening.
  5. Know other options – While establishments continue to sign up for Angel Shot networks worldwide, this system may not be readily available in all areas; plan accordingly so that you are not caught off guard.

Implementing The Angel Shot In a Bar or Restaurant

The Angel Shot, a discreet “safeword” drink order used by people to signal for help at bars, is becoming more well-known thanks to social media. However, some bartenders and advocates are concerned that the publicity will defeat the purpose of the secret drink order.

Michelle Charlotte, a bartender with a large social media following, worries that the widespread awareness will ruin the secrecy of the Angel Shot. She believes that the whole point of the Angel Shot is to ask for help discreetly, and if too many people know about it, the purpose will be defeated.

Here is an example from Demi Lovato, who has publicly supported using safety words in bars.

Example of Angel Shot sign in a bathroom
@jameelajamilofficial / Via Instagram: @ddlovato

For this reason, you may consider creating your own safeword. Either way, two things need to be done to implement the Angel Shot or another safe phrase system in a bar or restaurant.

Firstly, customers must be made aware of the phrase, which can be achieved by placing signs in the restroom(s). Secondly, staff must be educated on the process to follow if the phrase is used. It is suggested that separate phrases may be implemented for men’s and women’s restrooms to ensure privacy.


In conclusion, an Angel Shot is essentially a safeword to use at bars, nightclubs, etc. It allows people the chance to discreetly communicate that there might be distressing situations happening without having to raise any alarms. Some establishments may have their own safewords which you may find in the bathrooms.

Although we hope they will no longer have a need going into the future, it’s crucial that all those experiencing harassment inside bars and nightclubs alike should feel secure with established measures in place without being bothered by unwelcome attention.


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