What Is an Angel Shot? All You Need to Know

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When you hear the phrase angel shot, what comes to mind?

Is it a photographic exposure? A drink? Or a narcotic injection?

Well, those are quite far from the meaning!

angel shot

Rather, an angel shot is an order that signals to the restaurant or bar tenders that a patron needs help to get out of their current position or is uncomfortable in a particular situation.

This guide extensively looks into the meaning of this catchphrase and its significance in different contexts.

What Is an Angel Shot?

Devised by Inspector Hayley Crawford, an angel shot is a sign that came to light in 2016 with the “Ask for Angela” campaign in Lincolnshire, England. It began as a sexual assault prevention campaign encouraging restaurant or bar patrons who feel unsafe to ask for an angel shot.

Angel shot was named in memory of Angela Crompton, who was killed and abused by her sculptor husband—Thomas Crompton—in 2012 while arguing about redecorating their house. The argument got out of control and later led to her death.

The campaign was created to raise awareness of four common questions below:

  • Is your date partner not who they claimed they are?
  • Does your date feel a little bit off?
  • Is your date not working out?
  • Do you feel like you’re in an unsafe situation?

Many bars within Lincolnshire have angel shot signs in men’s and women’s restrooms. Angel shot typically assists patrons in asking for assistance at the bar when they’re in unsafe or dangerous situations by asking for Angela.

Once the staff receives the request, they proceed to help the person out of their unsafe condition. This might be by arranging a cab to help the person out safely, in a secret way, or changing their position, as we’ll observe in a bit.

Types of Angel Shot Orders

Types of Angel Shot Orders
Credit: @gtm_original

Angel shot orders take three distinct forms.

These include:

  • With lime or with a twist: This tells the bartenders that the guest needs them to call the police.
  • Neat or straight: This signals to the bartenders that the guest needs some people to escort them to their vehicles.
  • On ice or with ice: This signals to the bartenders that the guest needs assistance getting a cab or taxi.

One of the reasons for this initiative is for patrons to feel safe all the time at the bar or restaurant. For example, many people have been in danger that cost their lives because they decided to have a date with the partners they met online.

So, suppose online love partners meet at the bar for the first time, and one of them feels unsafe because their partner is giving off some vibe different from what they had expected. In that case, the bothered partner can quickly order an angel shot to help them out of the situation without the other partner’s awareness.

Every restaurant has its way of creating an angel shot, even though there are basic formations for establishing it. For example, in some restaurants or bars, a patron can order an angel shot that signals to the management that another guest is in an unsafe situation and can’t help themselves out.

Listed below are the various angel shot order options/purposes that are common in restaurants and bars across the United States:

  • To contact the staff to reach out to a friend or family member of the guest.
  • To contact the restaurant waitpersons that their food or drink may have been changed for another person.
  • To place an order for other guests who can’t do it themselves.
  • To contact the restaurant management.

What Is the Angel Shot Trend on TikTok?

The Angel Shot TikTok trend is a recent popular trend that explains how people can escape unsafe situations at restaurants or bars.

While countless videos on the space outline the modus operandi of angel shot, the trend was particularly made popular by an LA bartender, Benjamin Smith, who recently went viral on TikTok.


#greenscreen The Angel Shot could save your life 🥰 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #serverlife #bartender #funny #comedy #trend #trending #food #cooking

♬ House Music (Deep House) – 阿增&苏七岁&气质隆Sir

In the video, which has garnered millions of views, he explains how a patron can order an angel shot, how a bartender can discreetly pick up an angel shot call from a patron, and what to do in such a case.

How to Execute the Angel Shot for Your Restaurant or Bar

You can develop an angel shot for your establishment by following the steps listed below:

1. Training your staff.

It’s necessary to train your staff on how to effectively pick up an angel shot call and let your guests know that you offer an angel shot. This can be done by placing signs in restrooms. It’s best to use different signs or words for male and female restrooms to avoid awareness of each gender’s safe phrase by the opposite gender.

2. Alerting your customers.

Once you implement your angel shot, it’s also necessary to always alert customers when necessary. However, this will only work if you train all your staff on how to go about an angel shot order. Usually, the waitpersons or bartenders handle an angel shot, but it’s better to let all your staff know what to do and who to turn to when they see the sign.

Limitations of an Angel Shot

As the angel shot has been helpful across many establishments, it also has limitations.

Firstly, angel shot signals are usually fixed in females’ restrooms only. This results in lapses since females aren’t the only victims of sexual violence. In essence, placing the signs in the female toilet alone means male patrons would remain in the dark on the availability of angel shot arrangements in a case where they feel unsafe.

The popularity of an angel shot is another limitation. When everyone knows about the angel shot slogans, they’d no longer prove an effective means of saving patrons from unsafe situations.

For example, when a restaurant or bar staff fixes angel shot signs in all restrooms, toxic patrons will be alerted once they see it. They can even take advantage of this knowledge, which may result in harassment between troublesome male patrons and female staff. We’ll explain how and why below.

One study from the Bureau of Labour Statistics revealed that approximately 60% of bartenders in the US are females. Considering that they’re subject to sexual harassment in the workplace, giving the role of protector to staff, especially females, puts them in immense danger.

Other Safe Words Used at Restaurants and Bars

As the angel shot phrase keeps getting popular worldwide, more discreet terms develop daily. Some bars create unique words and phrases in their bars or restaurants to keep the angel shot discreet.

Some of these are:

1. Asking for Angela

Since the angel shot was established in memory of Angela Crompton, patrons often use this slang to alert the staff that they’re in an unsafe situation and need help.

2. Virgin Vodka

This is another safe phrase created by some restaurants and bars. It’s designed specifically for men in dangerous situations that need the staff’s help. While this may be misunderstood since Virgin Vodka is also an advanced slang for water, and it has helped many guests escape unsafe situations.

3. Virgin Tequila

This phrase is typically used by females who need the staff’s help. When a female orders Virgin Tequila, she indirectly alerts the staff to get her out of an unsafe situation.

Overall, the exact phrase and words vary from one restaurant or bar to another. Some restaurants use other names like Tacha, Trisha, Stacey, and others for patrons to get out of unsafe situations.

Why Should Your Establishment Use the Angel Shot?

Why Should Your Establishment Use the Angel Shot

You may want to implement the angel shot at your restaurant or bar for the following reasons:

1. The Angel Shot Is Free and Easy to Use

If you have a bar or restaurant, you might already have many measures to keep your patrons safe. Adding the angel shot to your means of maintaining safety in your establishment is another way of helping your patrons out of unsafe situations. While it might seem impossible to eliminate awkward situations, the angel shot is an easy way to provide additional security — and it costs nearly nothing to implement.

2. It Provides Peace of Mind to Customers

Implementing an angel shot at a restaurant or bar can help the owner win more patrons. Patrons feel more comfortable in your establishment when they know you’ve adopted key security measures like the angel shot.

Even when people don’t have anything to order at your bar, knowing that the service is available gives them comfort.

3. It’s Discreet and Subtle

Patrons can request an angel shot in a way that doesn’t call for attention. That is, the person causing uneasiness in the bar would be unaware of the alarm until the staff takes action.

The action might include calling the police, walking the victim out of the restaurant or bar, or walking to get a cab for the person that signaled. This also minimizes physical confrontations between the perpetrator and staff.

In summary, the angel shot contributes to better operation in establishments that use it.

How to Prevent Sexual Assault at Your Bar

Implementing an angel shot in your establishment can reduce the sexual assault risk you might record in your establishment.

Listed below are various tips to help you prevent sexual harassment:

  • Lay down a rule that prevents a single staff, especially a female, from intervening when patrons request an angel shot. Doing this will reduce the risk of a troublesome male patron cornering a female staff and possibly harassing her.
  • Permit your staff to check the restrooms regularly, and let them ask uncomfortable patrons if they want an angel shot service. Staff, however, need to be trained on how to check restrooms to avoid disrupting your customers’ privacy.
  • Introduce an angel shot QR code into your establishment. That way, patrons can easily scan the code and be educated on how to discreetly order an angel shot as well as the different forms it can take.
  • Create a dining spot for first-time online dates. Here’s why: Over the last fifteen years, 30% of a pooled group of about 1,200 women who use online dating experience a form of sexual assault, of which 50% were raped. Since online dating is becoming more popular, creating a dining spot for first-time patrons allows your staff to monitor them in case of any uneasiness. You can also tell your patrons to notify the staff if they’re first-time visitors. This allows the staff to monitor them for any potential heads up.


An angel shot is an effective way to raise help alarms at restaurants and bars. While this initiative has many benefits, it’s crucial to implement and use it appropriately to increase its effectiveness.

If done wrongly, it can put the staff and the patrons’ lives at risk, giving the establishment a bad reputation.

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