Due to the way that dates have fallen this year, tonight is the first of two ‘Mad Fridays’ before Christmas.
Mad Friday, also known as ‘Black-eye Friday’ in other parts of the UK, is the nickname for the last Friday before Christmas, and it’s the busiest night-out of the year for partygoers and office Christmas parties.
It is also the busiest night of the year for police, security, ambulances and A&E, and this year, Christmas day has fallen on a Sunday, meaning there are expected to be two Mad Fridays.
Last year, more than 300,000 people took over the street of Manchester, spending around £15 million, and in 2014, medical crews were called to 3,781 incidents across the region – 600 of which were life threatening.
Today, businesses and Greater Manchester Police are expecting pubs, restaurants and clubs to be packed with people from lunchtime through till the small hours of tomorrow morning, as workers and merrymakers start their work office parties, Christmas get-togethers and bar crawls early.
So with expected chaos, what does this mean for the unlucky ones that work in hospitality and serve up food and drinks for everyone to have a merry time?
Alex Watson, 26, is a Mancunian bar tender and bar manager who has been in the business for just over 6 years. He’s worked in bars in Castlefield and Deansgate locks, and even the student favourite, 5th Avenue.
Here’s what he had to say about Mad Fridays:
“Mad Fridays are great for businesses because they get great profits, and especially this year when there’s going to be two.
“But for the staff that have to go through the dreaded day twice, its not so great – we all want a night out too, and when we do get time off work, we’re more respectable than most people because we know exactly what the staff have to go through.
“On Mad Fridays you get all the ‘muppets’ that obviously don’t drink often so you see numerous glasses being thrown about the bar.
“The worst Mad Friday I’ve worked at was last year. The entire club got into a mass brawl and the staff had to hide behind the bar to prevent getting hit, and similar instances have happed more than once.
“Some bars lower the prices and offer deals on Mad Friday to attract more customers, but I don’t think prices should be changed because people will be less likely to get too drunk and cause chaos.
“Bars and clubs do take precautions on Mad Fridays though. They get extra door staff and security and serve drinks in plastic cups rather than glass, but there’s always going to be violence that could end in injuries where alcohol is involved.”
If you’re a bar tender, brace yourself! But if you’re off to enjoy Mad Friday this evening, remember to be respectful of the staff and drink responsibly.
To ensure everyone can have a good time and stay safe, police patrols will be increased, with officers assigned to specifically police Mad Friday.
There will also be specialist Tactical Aid officers, traffic police and special constables on hand.