8 Countries Where You Can Drink in Public
As we’ve reported previously, there are just a few special cities in the U.S. where you can drink — perfectly legally — on the street. In New Orleans, for instance, it’s not only perfectly legal and socially acceptable for you to take your Hurricane cocktail out for a stroll as you gaze at New Orleans’ distinctive architecture, it’s practically mandatory.
When you think of drinking in public places, you might envision a bunch of frat boys drinking themselves sick on the streets. But it can be so much nicer than that: in another of the great U.S. drinking cities, — the historic, gorgeous Savannah, Ga. — you can take a Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil-themed tour and reflectively sip your cocktail while you meander through the city’s stunning historic district. It’s a terribly civilized way of approaching drinking in public.
In other countries, they tend to follow this same model of moderation. In most of the countries where it’s perfectly legal to drink on the street, the culture of public drinking tends to veer towards the decidedly grown-up (an elegant little picnic with a bottle of wine in a public park) rather than the teenaged (taking shots in the town square followed by vomiting in the fountain).
In Europe, Latvia is the only country to have pursued a ban on all public drinking. Many European countries have relatively loose open container laws — or law enforcement officials who generally turn a blind eye towards drinking in public so long as the participants are of age and not making a nuisance of themselves.
This works out just fine for visitors — if you’re vacationing another country, it’s typically considered bad manners to get falling-down drunk in their streets, but it’s lovely (and perfectly respectful) to quietly split a nice bottle with your traveling partners while watching the city you’re visiting pass you by. Three cheers to these countries!
While you can’t drink “excessively” on the S-bahn, Germany’s railway transit system, and local laws in Germany may vary regarding drinking in public places, you’ll almost certainly not experience any trouble for simply sharing a bottle of wine with a friend in the park.
New Zealand has pretty loose open container laws — you can even have a container open in your vehicle, although of course you can’t be inebriated while driving. Some municipalities may ban public drinking in certain places, but drinking in public is generally legal for Kiwis.