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Stuff Magazine on North End: Forget the History, Go For the Booze

Stuff Magazine (Photo by Joel Veak)

Stuff Magazine’s Luke O’Neil frets over losing Boston’s reputation as a drinking city, but feels better after hearing about the 90-odd alcohol licenses in the North End.

Late last year, The Daily Beast released one of those wacky made-for-the-Internet lists, ranking the 40 drunkest cities in America. Our fair beery burgh of Boston placed a respectable eighth, behind the likes of Austin, Milwaukee, and Reno. Yet earlier in the year, Men’s Health – whose editors must live in a city where bourbon flows from the taps – ranked Boston as the least drunk city in the country.

Stuff’s informal survey had initially identified Allston and the Faneuil Hall/Canal Street area as the “drinkinest,” based on “the frequency of sidewalk puke and bro fights.”  That was until the author heard about the North End license statistics.

“But they’re all a bunch of lightweights by North End standards. A recent report from the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association claims the restaurant, cobblestone, and stereotype capital of the city is also the drinkingest. “The North End / Waterfront has more alcohol licenses than any other Boston neighborhood,” the study found. “With a population of about 11,000 residents, the North End has approximately 10 percent of the 1,025 alcohol licenses in the city, despite having only 1.7 percent of the population.” There are 109 people per liquor license in the neighborhood, compared with 629 in Boston overall.”

Safe in this knowledge, Mr. O’Neil can once again sleep at night (after passing out).

“Okay, good. That makes me feel a lot better. Tourists from all over the world flock to the North End. You thought it was because of the history – it’s really because of all the booze. Represent us well, North End; for now, anyway, it seems our city’s drinking reputation is in good hands.”

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