Alcohol consumption is taken very seriously in the US. More seriously it seems than drug taking (if the pungent aroma of weed on many streets in San Francisco is to be taken as evidence) and this is a very strange concept for an Irish person to grasp. I knew before coming here that there was no drinking on the streets and if you did succumb to the need, a brown paper bag was required (I’ve seen enough American movies over the years). Coming from Ireland, going to pubs was a part of growing up. My first visit to one (minus of course family visits to pubs which generally begin once you are born, possibly even that very day) was celebrating the end of the Inter Cert. For non-Irish readers, the Inter Cert was an exam the whole country was involved in, and it was a real rousing event with the radio, TV and papers talking about the exam preparation, the exam and then the results even though it was just the 14 year olds who sat the actual exam.
There are many obstacles put in place in San Francisco regarding drinking or at least obstacles to drinking too much.
You’ll know by now that I am frustrated with the ID requests that happen as soon as you are near alcohol. I would understand if the ID requests were more related to checking your details against a database of folks that may be unsuitable to drink, but it seems like it is only related to the legal drinking age and bears no relation to common sense. I was out one night and a couple in front of me were carded and age wise they could have been my parents! My husband was still getting carded up to a year or so ago, and he is slightly miffed that it is no longer happening. I have not been carded in the last month and am not sure whether I am happy to be spared the admin or insulted. It may be time for some fillers….
There are many restrictions regarding how much alcohol you can buy when at an event or at the movies here in San Francisco.
The Century movie theatre in the city serves alcohol; beer and wine. Each person can buy one drink at a time, you can buy three in total and you are given a band to wear with a number on it so they can keep track of consumption. I have never wanted to binge drink during a movie but feel that I should have the right if I wanted to.
It’s not all bad on the movie-with-hooch front. There is a really fabulous cinema called the Kabuki Cinema and you can buy alcohol at the bar there (as much as you like!) and bring it into the movie with you. They card everyone going in and there are signs about the do’s and don’ts of drinking there.
At baseball games – where some might argue, you need a stiff drink or three – you can buy two drinks per person at a time, and no booze after the seventh inning ( more than two thirds into the game ). If this was Ireland, no one would watch the sixth inning as they headed to the bar to stock up.I am sure there would also be some ‘in-queue drinking.’
If you walk on the sidewalk outside a bar with a drink and it is not a designated drinking area you will be made to feel like you have committed a felony. I was told this at an event when a food truck was just outside a bar selling food. It was there specifically to sell food to people at the bar. I went outside with an alcoholic drink and two seconds later someone said “That’s illegal, get back inside and leave your drink inside before coming out again.” Right then, no more drinking on the sidewalk for me.
Another evening I was out with my husband at another food truck area that was divided in two: one half sold wine and one half sold beer. I wanted wine and my husband fancied a beer, so we got my wine and then we walked about ten meters from one semi permanent structure to the other semi permanent structure with my wine. We asked if we could bring the wine over across the great divide and to be fair we were told we couldn’t but we did it anyway. Then the guy that served the wine followed us over and a security guard converged on our seats, telling us, “I am sorry Sir that is absolutely not allowed. You are not allowed to consume alcohol in here that you did not purchase here.” He spoke to my husband – clearly the more serious boozer – although the wine was in front of me.
Singapore has a reputation for so many rules and regulations but if you fancy picking up a beer from the 7-Eleven and drinking it in the park 9am on Monday morning, that’s your choice. You want to buy 13 beers? The only problem you have is carrying them all. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the rules and the laws here, not to mention the willingness of all and sundry to remind you forcefully when you appear to be breaking a rule. And there will be many more posts on this subject. It is something I struggle with on a daily basis, right up the point I find a legal place to have a glass of wine. Cheers.