I one time ignored a police officer.
I am not recommending this, only to say that sometimes when you are on foot in the middle of a St. Patrick’s Day parade with a beer in your hand, you weigh your options quickly. He called out to me, and I got lost real quick.
My friend was not so aware, and was unfortunately at the end of a line of a group of us pushing our way to the next bar with green beer.
This was early in the day, no one was drunk or belligerent, but red Solo cups are pretty obvious.
She was stopped, it was beer and she got a ticket. It was a bummer but we all kind of forgot about and continued to enjoy the festivities.
She dutifully went to her court date, expecting a fine, maybe a hundred bucks. Two if the judge was in a bad mood. She walked out of there with a 1,000 DOLLAR FINE.
Again, she wasn’t drunk, she wasn’t being a menace, she was just calmly breaking the law by carrying a beer.
I have lived outside the US and almost everywhere, it’s not like this. Drinking in public is not seen as major issue. Being drunk and aggressive is seen as an issue, and you can be arrested for disturbing the peace.
But if you are having a picnic with a few friends, enjoying the sunshine and drinking some wine, no problem.
I often forget that I’m not allowed to drink publicly, and will suggest we get a few beers for our beach trip or chill some wine before we go. My friends have to gently remind me that this America, and while you are free to buy a gun or vomit your opinions all over social media, you are not free to quietly have a drink outside of the confines of a bar.
There are some places in the US where you can drink openly and without shame. Maybe if we can visit these places and drink in public in peace, then the rest of the US will follow suit.
10 Places You Can Drink in Public in the USA:
- Las Vegas ~ on the strip
- Butte, MT ~ between 8 am and 2 am
- Sonoma, CA ~ between 11:30 am and dusk
- Certain areas in New Orleans ~ French Quarter for example
- Memphis, TN ~ Beale Street
- Savannah, GA ~ Historic District
- Erie, PA ~ 70 block downtown district
- Gulfport, MS
- Hood River, OR
- Texas: Fredericksberg ~ beer & wine in a plastic cup & Fort Worth ~ The Stockyards
People will argue that these places are rowdier than average because of the public drinking but I think that’s because it’s banned everywhere else, meaning again that the average person goes hard when they visit, treating them like their own personal alcoholic Disneyland.
In reality, it’s good for tourism so more cities are voting on allowing it in certain areas.
I did spend a very drunk two days in Las Vegas wandering the strip. Some bachelors bought my friend and I apple martinis and I think we saw tigers walking overhead in a glass cage.
It was a good time. We were entertained and spent our money. We did not break any laws, punch any strangers or get tattoos on our faces.
Have you been to any of the places where it’s legal? I’d love to hear about it.
There are a lot of things about US culture that I often find difficult to understand, especially having lived abroad for a while and returned. This one though is particularly strange to me because I have observed and participated in public drinking in other countries and have never once seen an incident.
In fact, the only time I’ve seen public drinking be a problem is in the USA.
It’s like the first time you go away to college and can finally drink a case of beer to your head thinking there are no consequences. We spend so much time telling people what they can’t do, that when we finally do these things, WE LOSE OUR MINDS. Like my friends getting their stomachs pumped freshman year.
If we were allowed to peacefully enjoy a beer with our friends in the park, then the idea of getting hammered at a baseball game wouldn’t hold as much appeal.
People in the USA tend to go hard when the rules become relaxed, so drinking in public becomes setting cars on fire.
The USA has had a complicated history with alcohol, just look at the Prohibition in the 20s. It didn’t stop people from drinking, it all moved underground and the mob was born.
Maybe instead of being afraid, we can all agree that if we behave like adults, then we can drink alcohol like adults. Anyone found being drunk and disorderly would be dealt with accordingly.
To be clear, I am not recommending that you break the law.
If you feel passionate about this issue it is possible that you could make it legal to drink publicly in your town. There is no federal ban on open containers and in fact most states do not have a restriction against public drinking but instead leave those decisions to the towns and municipalities.
So contact your local government and see what they have to say. Maybe you could be enjoying a cold one in public by this time next year for all the world to see. Be proud of your PBR. Viva la revolución!
Or maybe we can get a license for other areas. Like a concealed weapons permit. Yes officer, I am concealing my beer but don’t worry I’m licensed. I’m here to make sure everyone stays safe and slightly buzzed.
What’s your opinion on drinking in public?
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