The folks at Men's Health magazine must have been boozing it up at work when they wrote their America's Drunkiest CIty list. Boston placed dead last on this top 100 drunkiest list, making us the "Least Drunk" city in the US while Fresno; Reno; Billings, MT; Riverside, CA; and Austin, TX were named the most spirited. We beg to differ.
According to the 2000 Center for Disease Control Census, 40.5 percent of the population in Boston is between the ages of 15 and 34, otherwise known as prime drinking age. Many in this age group are in one of the 40+ colleges around Greater Boston, and not exactly sober every chance they get. Forbes even nominated Boston as the number 2 Best Singles City in the US (for 2009) because of our hopping bar scene and young crowds.
You think a sober town does something like this every winter?
To come up with MH's misguided list they looked at death rates from alcoholic liver disease and booze-fueled car crashes, who was binge-drinking in the past month, the number of DUI arrests, and the severity of DUI penalties. And with these parameters we find fault.
First the DUI penalties and car-crashes. Just because most people in this city walk, use public transportation, or grab a cab home after drinking doesn't mean they're not going out and getting liquored up. I hardly think Fresno's bus system that ends at around 10pm, nor Reno's bus system (not to mention 3rd or 4th placers Billings, MT and Riverside, CA) whose individual lines run about once every hour in the evening, compares to our fabulous T system. Ok, it's far from fabulous but it'll get you home if you leave right before last call and usually the ones at night aren't the Ts that crash -- bonus!
So there go the DUI guidelines. The liver-disease parameter, well, that might be a good indicator for old drunks, but for our bustling young drunks alcohol-induced diseases aren't quite a problem yet. They would have to be more fucked up than Jeff Conaway to get a busted liver that young. So there goes that indicator as well. What's left? The self-reported binge-drinking. Did that just make anyone else laugh? What college kid or young adult would report themselves to the CDC? Let alone believe that five drinks in a night is actually considered "binge drinking"? Maybe if all those drinks were consumed through a beer bong...
Perhaps the most damaging piece of evidence that this list is a total farce are some of the other cities that made it to the bottom of the list, namely New York (number 93) and Miami, who clocked in at number 96. The bars, we all know, in NYC don't close until 4am, and in Miami they just don't close period, they have a 24-hour entertainment district which means you can booze it up all day and night. Shouldn't that count for something? I think we're all getting a bit shafted here on the list.
Most cities might be proud of their sobriety, Salt Lake City perhaps (who did make it to the list in 97th place), but we Bostonians hold on to our treasured liquor stores every five blocks and our neighborhood pubs with the vice-grip of Charlie Sheen on one of his women. So no thanks Men's Health, you can take your misguided honors back and give us something we'd be really proud of, like being one of the Greatest American Beer Cities, (see beerfestival.org).
For the full flawed list by Men's Health, visit http://www.menshealth.com/drunk/