Bartenders Spread Awareness Of Drink Order That Serves As Secret Code For Help

You never know when you might need this.

TikTok Angel Shot Maksyn Fesenko / Shutterstock / TikTok

If you’ve never heard of an “angel shot” before, it’s because the liquor doesn’t actually exist.

Despite that, the trick is going viral on TikTok, with the hashtag "#angelshot" generating over 142 million views as people ask what exactly asking for an "angel shot" at a bar means.

What is an Angel Shot?

An angel shot is a code word that signals to a bartender that a customer is in need of help. The order can be used by bar patrons to inform a bartender if they’re feeling unsafe so that the bartender can get help discreetly.




Bartenders and frequent bargoers are letting viewers in on the phrase that could potentially save their life. 

Going out for a few drinks at the bar can be fun and a good opportunity to unwind, but alcohol-fueled events can also land you in situations where you feel unsafe. 


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Whether it’s that strange man who keeps following you around or that belligerent person trying to pick a fight with everyone, it isn’t always easy to flag down help without causing a bigger scene that puts you in even more danger.

Luckily, there is a way you can alert bartenders should you find yourself in trouble — all you have to do is simply let your bartender know that you’d like an “angel shot.” 

If you feel that a situation is becoming especially dangerous or a person is making you afraid, you can ask them to make with “with a lime,” which is a signal to call the police.


If you need someone to walk you out to your car, you’d ask for an “angel shot neat.”

An “angel shot on the rocks” means that you need a ride to safety.



In some bars, you can even ask the bartender to see “Angela,” which signals them to pull you to the back of the bar away from other patrons until you feel safe.


After ordering an angel shot, the bartender will usually ask you, “who?” and have you describe the person posing a threat so that they can either ask them to leave or call for help.

Bartenders from TikTok are spreading awareness of angel shots through videos.

“An angel shot is a way for asking for help from a bartender, a bouncer, a manager or somebody at a restaurant without directly saying it,” TikTok user @call_me_cookem explains in a video. “The benefit being talking in code to avoid the situation from getting any worse.” 



The angel shot code is receiving a lot of praise on the social media platform


“I’m a bartender and angel shots are SO IMPORTANT! Especially in downtown Chicago!” one user commented. 

“I’m so glad I know about this. Thanks to TikTok,” another user wrote. 

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People are stressing that every bartender learns what an angel shot is so that they know exactly what to do should they ever have a customer who requests one.

“I was in a situation where the bar didn’t know what angel shots were,” one user shared. “If they didn’t recognize the panic in my eyes I’m not sure where I’d be.” 

While unsafe situations can arise for both men and women, women typically find themselves more vulnerable at bars.


“Not nearly enough women know about this and there needs to be a lot more awareness,” @call_me_cookem shared in another video.

He also revealed that people have ordered angel shots from him before and that the first time he had to Google the definition.



Other bartenders are sharing their stories and urging each other to become familiar with the term “angel shot” so that they could offer assistance to any of their patrons who may need it.


However, others are concerned that the widespread use of the term could expose its meaning to the wrong people.

“This trend might actually make it dangerous for girls to ask for an angel shot,” one user pointed out. “If the abuser knows what it means they can get worse.” 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.