In almost every place in America it is illegal to drink in public. The actual law, known as the open container law, prohibits the possession of open containers of alcohol. Which means you don’t actually have to be drinking, making it easier to prove yada yada yada. But, along the travels of Drinking Made Easy we have come across a few spots where it IS legal to enjoy a beverage as your stroll the street. So here is a list of US cities where you can drink in public.
We visited Savannah in season 2 of Drinking Made Easy (see episode guide) and one of the great things about the city of hospitality was the ability to drink your drink on the go. Savannah is beautiful and it was nice to walk around with a nice Mint Julep or Savannah Tea. However, open containers are only allowed in the Savannah Historic District near downtown; drinks must be in open plastic containers and no more than 16 ounces.
Montana and Georgia do not have open container laws and leave it up to the city to determine which ordinance to implement. When the open container law was attempted to be passed in Butte it was quickly opposed. In Butte you are able to walk around the entire city with drink in hand. Montana Style!
The ‘home of the blues’ on Beale Street is a huge tourist attraction for its rich culture, blues atmosphere, and drinking enthusiasm. This section of Beale Street was given special permission to bypas the state-wide ban on open containers. Unlike Savannah, there is no limit to the size of the drink you can have. When Drinking Made Easy went there in season 2 (see episode guide) we picked up drinks like the Walk Me Down (designed for walking the street) and The Diver, both of which holding up to 1 gallon of booze! Woohoo!
Kansas City, Missouri
The Kansas City Power and Light District is a special shopping and entertainment section of Kansas City that is exempt from the state-wide ban on open containers. This 9 block district allows you to drink on the go as long as it is in an open plastic container. Though the rest of the city still enforces the ban, this district was designed specially as a draw for people looking for a good time.
This small German town allows for the drinking of beer and wine (no liquor) on the streets of their downtown shopping district. Though like every city on this list, the law only permits if the subject is well behaved. (though some cities are little looser in their definition of ‘well-behaved’)
New Orleans, Louisiana
The entire city of New Orleans is friendly to drinking on the go (no glass though). New Orleans and particularly Bourbon Street are famous for their drinking culture and for hosting one of the biggest parties in the world, Mardi Gras. With the number of bars in the area you can have a drink, and sip on it as you hop on over to the next bar for another with out ever not having a drink in hand.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas prides itself as the (live) entertainment capitol of the world and the Las Vegas Strip acts as a centralized hub for drinking and partying. Outside bars are scattered everywhere to provide patrons with novelty sized drink containers measuring up to as much as a gallon of booze. Many of these drinks are designed for walking with neck straps and gigantic straws to make walking the strip and drinking as easy as possible. Glass is also permitted on the street except for certain times of the year such as the 4th of July and New Years Eve.
Bending the Rules
Some places are a little more relaxed then others on the open container law. Key West is one such place where it is illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage on the street, however, the city has a reputation for being very lenient or dismissive if you have it in a plastic opener container that is not obviously alcoholic. They certainly didn’t mind when Zane and Steve walked around with their drinks in the Key West episode.
Another popular occasion for public drinking occurs with tailgate parties, beaches, and certain parts of college communities. Technically, it is still illegal, but generally police wont care. This doesn’t mean they wont though and telling them Drinking Made Easy said you would be cool with it probably wont work. So use your head when deciding where to drink and as always drink responsibly.
Know of a place we might of missed? let us know in the comments below!