Food & Drink

Every Place in America You Can Drink in Public

Published On 03/03/2016 Published On 03/03/2016
young people drinking 40s and eating ice cream outside public drinking beer

The right to drink in public was not originally included in our Constitution, probably because our ale-swilling founding fathers never thought it would even be a problem. But as time went on, The Man clamped down on our inherent, God-given freedom to drink a 40oz on the street, much to the detriment of America. 

But some spots, for various reasons, are immune to these Draconian open container laws -- and now, it's just been announced that Manhattan will (kind of) join this list of streets and cities where it's cool to brown-bag your vino, and day-drink in broad daylight. Technically public drinking in Manhattan will only be decriminalized (which means you won't get arrested, but could still end up with a summons and fine), but we included it anyway to honor the event!

Butte, MT

You can pop bottles in the streets of Butte, as long as you don't do it between 2AM and 8AM. Which sucks, because that's supposedly when Butte really starts getting fun. 

The Power and Light District of Kansas City, MO

The Power and Light District is not a reservation for Evangelical Christians, it's a shopping/entertainment mega-complex that spans eight blocks -- and you are allowed to get totally blotto there, out in the open, as long you do so in a plastic cup.

Sonoma Plaza, CA

Possibly the epicenter of American wine, Sonoma, California features an eight-acre park where you can feel free to release your inner Giamatti, and drink your favorite Half-Cab with no regards to the po-po. Just don't drink any damn Merlot, obviously. 

Wikipedia/Marco Verch+

Clark County, NV

Clark county includes America's public drinking Mecca, the Las Vegas strip, where you can gamble your life savings away while crushing your liver publicly, too. Just stay out of bat country, if you value your sanity. The caveat: you can't drink within 1000 feet of the liquor store where you bought your beverage.

Beale St in Memphis, TN

Beale street is the exception to the open container rule in Tennessee. Muddy Waters would approve.

Erie, PA

There are no open container laws in the entire city of Erie. If you've ever been to Erie, you'll understand why they needs this.

Hood River, OR

Though Oregon's open container laws apparently only apply to drinking in motor vehicles (?), we can assure you that in Hood River, at least, you can drink in public.

Flickr/Don Pirolo

New Orleans, LA

This might help explain the rampant plastic beads-for-boobs trade here, because that never made sense to me. One rule: make sure your cup is plastic.

Savannah Historic District of Savannah, GA

You know that distinct, Southern Savannah drawl that sounds like smooth molasses being poured over a stack of grits and hot-cakes? Yeah, it's because people are always getting publicly pickled. Just make sure you beverage is in a plastic cup, and doesn't exceed 16 ounces.

Fredericksburg, Texas

Sorry, liquor-lovers, you can only publicly drink wine or beer out here. Which is still pretty cool, actually. Stick to the main shopping district though -- it's the only part of town where you definitely won't get busted.

East Aurora, NY

This sleepy little NY town is made even sleepier by it's free-wheeling open container laws.

Flickr/William Warby

Manhattan, NY

To be fair, public drinking still isn't "legal" with the mandate passed this week, but it can basically be ignored in most circumstances.

Incidentally, so will public urination. So the NYPD now neither cares where it comes in, or where it comes out. Wait -- was public urination not always legal in New York? Then why does southern Manhattan smell like that? Questions for another day, maybe. 
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He drinking right now. Follow him: @wilfulton.



Learn More