The Alcoholic’s Guide to California

Monday, October 05, 2015

How wise is it to pick a fight with the drunkest city in America?

Fresno won that title decisively back in March when Men’s Health rated the sloshed Top 100 based on five criteria heavily weighted by drunk driving: Most liver disease; Most binge drinking; Most deaths in DUI-related crashes; Most DUI arrests; and Least stringent DUI laws.

Fresno was at or near the top in every category. Clink!

So, how come Fresno doesn’t make the RoadSnacks list of 10 Drunkest Cities in California? What are they smoking over there? Fresno is 40th—in California!

Turns out RoadSnacks was less concerned with how badly people drove when intoxicated and focused more on how much alcohol everyone was drinking. Perhaps a combination of the two would yield the cities that drive best drunk.

RoadSnacks also used a five-part criteria: “Number of bars and pubs per capita; Number of wineries per capita; Number of liquor stores per capita; Each city’s drunk-related tweets within the last week; and Each city’s divorce rate.”

The winner was Santa Monica. The Los Angeles County coastal town boasts “tons of liquor stores” (they are 4th), the most bars per capita and the 7th-highest divorce rate (12.6%) in the state. “It wasn’t even close. It was Santa Monica by a landslide,” RoadSnacks reported.

The top four cities on the list boast large upscale communities, three of which are in Southern California. Santa Barbara is second on the strength of its 3rd-place finish in bars per capita. They are 5th in liquor stores and RoadSnacks noted they are high in drunken tweets.

Napa has more wineries per capita than anyone. “Essentially, for most people, the only reason you’re in Napa is to make booze or drink booze.” That earned them the three spot ahead of Pasadena. They drink a lot in the San Gabriel Valley city, but there ranking was pulled down by their reluctance to divorce (9.4%).

The Top Ten is rounded out by Sacramento, Newport Beach, Oakland, Livermore, San Mateo and El Cajon. San Francisco finished 17th, San Diego 18th, Long Beach 19th, San Jose 38th and Los Angeles 45th.            

Fresno was joined in the Men’s Health list of drunkest American cities by Riverside (4th), Bakersfield (10th), Modesto (12th), Sacramento (20th), San Diego (27th), Los Angeles (48th), Anaheim (57th), Oakland (75th), San Jose (79th) and San Francisco (86th).

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

These Are the 10 Drunkest Cities in California (by Bud Tapman, RoadSnacks)

America's Drunkest Cities (Men’s Health)

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