Friday, December 20, 2013

East Coast vs. West Coast: Drinking Outdoors

A year ago, I examined the differences between New York and San Francisco liquor laws. While I gave credit to New York for having bars open until 4 a.m., the city lost points for not selling wine in supermarkets and forcing alcoholics to wait until noon on Sundays to get their drink on.

Well, here's another way the East Coast is less forgiving to drinkers: Hardly any states allow people to consume alcohol outdoors. Check out this handy map, courtesy of the Huffington Post.

(Click to enlarge.)

The Northeast is a sea of orange, meaning outdoor drinking is banned in most or all municipalities.

Years ago, when I was visiting New York from the Bay Area, I sat with a friend at one of those red tables in Times Square. We began sipping beers purchased at a bodega, not realizing that such behavior wasn't allowed. After all, the whole point of those red tables and chairs is to give a friendly cafe vibe.

Police descended almost immediately and served us with citations. (My friend argued successfully that I was a clueless Californian and shouldn't get one.)

Anyway, I couldn't imagine that happening in San Francisco.

Not because of the city's freedom-loving ways (drinking in public isn't technically allowed there either), but because the police rarely bother enforcing the law.