US alcohol laws, why so harsh? (legal drinking age)

In relation to the above post; the British drink much more than almost any nation except possibly the Aussies. We’re good at it. In most places socialising revolves around the local pub (see any of our soaps for proof)

You may be interested to know we have had occasional panics about drinking, resulting in the creation of our draconian licencing laws.

However we are going through a relaxed period and the governement is planning to relax licencing restrictions to allow pubs to set their own hours (as they do in scotland).

At the same time they are also planning on cracking down on happy hours, as they think it causes bingeing.

No plans to shift the age from 18 though (and many town centre pubs operate an over 21 policy - although this is more for sound business reasons than altruism (18 years olds are rarely that rich).

How about some facts in GQ, instead of random macho bragging? :dubious:

This table here shows the UK as 18th and Australia as 21st.

What’s significant is not as much how much alcohol, but how you drink it. Unfortunately much of the UK consumption tends towards the “slamming it down your neck as fast as possible until you fall down” variety.

This is not true either. Licencing in Scotland may be more relaxed (and they are thinking of reviewing them and outlawing binge-drinking ‘happy hours’) but it certainly isn’t up to the Licencee alone to choose when they open.

That’s pretty much what I meant - the British (and the Aussies and, in london at least, Kiwis and South Effrikans) have a culture of drinking to get drunk - unlike say the french or Italians - ie we go on drinking when others would stop, and as you will know it is pretty much a part of one’s younger years to get regularly mullered. We’d never manage to have sex sober.

As to the licencing proposals: As far as I am aware there will be the possibility to open for a certain number of hours in a day - ie not be open 24 hours. However control of licencing etc will pass to local authorities who will impose their own restrictions, possibly more restrictive than at present.

So what’s the score in Scotland then? Last time I was there (2 years ago) it was certainly possible to find a pub open at any time. Has something changed?

It is possible to drink round the clock in London if you know the right places (not dodgy - just needs planning).

Also I believe that Ireland are bringing back 11 closing, particularly in the “stag party” bit of Dublin.

Great link Futile Gesture, one that certainly surprises me and apparantently dismisses some urban legends. Shame it doesn’t contain any data on what is the standard deviation from that average is for the populations. For example, it must be that the three Finns I know happen to know comsume the whole of Finlands alcohol consumption between them! :smiley:

As a side issue, why is it that in the US people that clearly are over 21 can get asked for ID when trying to enter a bar or buy a drink (I’m 39)? This has happened to me trying to get into a bar in San Clemente CA, and trying to buy a couple of wets at a Rockets game in Houston. What is going on here? (oh, and this might amuse but when I produced my passport at the game the girl serving had clearly never seen a passport before. I had to explain what it was!!).

To recap, is producing ID a requirement or did I just run into a couple of folk that hate limies??

Re the above table. It says that the average brit drinks 8.1 litres of pure alcohol per annum. That equates to just over 6 pints of stella type lager a week.

Someone is not pulling their weight.

Producing an ID is usually a requirement; however, it depends very much on the usual practice in the area and the demographics of the bar in question. I’m 27 but look significantly younger, and I’d say I get carded less than a third of the time in bars and other small businesses in the town where I live now. It’s a fairly relaxed part of the country, and most of the bars I go to are frequented by grad students and young professionals rather than the 18-to-21 crowd. Usually, the bartender or waiter will trust their own judgment about whether somebody looks and acts old enough. All bets are off, however, if I’m in a supermarket or restaurant that is part of a large chain, many of which claim to card anyone who looks under 35. Things are also quite different if I go to visit my parents in Virginia, where everyone seems to card.

As a side note, on trips to the UK I’ve always been amused by the fact that bartenders occasionally ask my age, but have never asked to see any proof of it; from an American perspective, they seem entirely too trusting.

I see my beloved Czech Republic holds fast at number 6…but the Republic of Ireland only number 2?? Maybe the results are skewed because the Luxemburg sample consists of three guys who really booze it up.

This is because Ireland also has the highest per-head population of teetotalers. (Cite: a bloke I was talking to at a wedding once.) This skews the figures.

Some US restaurants and supermarkets ask for ID for everyone so that there is no judgment required by the server/cashier. They do this to avoid lawsuits or fines. Some local governments mandate checking of ID within their jurisdiction, for example Alpharetta, Georgia.

I’m from the UK and have never been asked to show ID to prove my age (or for almost any other reason for that matter).

Next time you’re in our nation’s capital, take a drive on the Key Bridge. Sitting right at the end of it is Dixie Liquors which exists because for many years the Virginia drinking age was 21 while the District’s was 18 or 19. According to more than one person of my acquaintence who grew up here, on Friday and Saturday nights there was a steady stream of 19-y.o.'s driving across the bridge to Dixie, loading up, and driving home. Although better that than going to one of the many nearby Georgetown bars, getting liquored up there and driving home.


Owlstretchingtime wrote:

Wendell Wagner replied

I have to totally agree with Wendell here. I don’t care if people choose to drink, but the attitude that alcohol is some kind of necessity really annoys me.

When I was in high school none of my friends drank, we just didn’t, and we didn’t suffer for it.

Some of my friends started drinking alcohol well into their 20s or 30s and some of them remained complete teetotallers, like me. Those who did start drinking at a late age never found themselves unable to “handle” it just because they didn’t start drinking as teen-agers.

Oh lighten up. You don’t really think that owl was 100% serious, do you?

I may have lost my sense of humour over this one, but it’s gotten worn away by infinite repetition. Is it really so funny that someone has to make this “joke” all the time? I think it overlays a real feeling that it would be horrible to have to do without alcohol (until one is 21, in this case).

Quite so old bean.

Earlier on I said that all Americans are daft. I’ll add that any form of irony is completely wasted (like most students)

Do students live on beer, pot noodles and kebabs? Not entirely. There’s always the Friday night ruby (ask a passing limey) as well (not to mention beans on toast). And believe me; no Englishman has ever attempted a ruby stone cold sober. It’s probably against the law in any case.

It is now 6pm in England and I and my colleagues are going to have a beer. We’re going to the Rutland Arms by Hammersmith Bridge. Anyone want to come and try some marvellous english beer? See you there (we’ll be the flustered looking older blokes in the public bar telling the barmaid that our wives don’t understand us).

Only a weakling or an addict actually cannot get through some portion of life without resorting to recreational neurotoxins.

Perhaps, if “irony” is defined as macho posturing. I can’t speak for all Americans, but a joke that is only slightly amusing quickly becomes unamusing to after scores of repetition.

Owl, allow me to apologize for my rather literal-minded countrymen - perhaps a little bourbon would help? Knob Creek? Makers Mark?

I think if you have stress and marriage problems then you should be getting professional help rather than trying to drink your troubles away.

Hey now, the bartender gets paid!

Only a weakling or an addict actually cannot get through some portion of life without resorting to eating fatty foods as well. But some people may just enjoy fatty foods, and who am I to judge them?