Top 7 U.S. Watering Holes

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Most cities can claim plenty of bars, liquor stores, and hard-partying residents. But according to government data, some metropolitan areas do a lot more drinking than others. Which cities are the most sloshed? The answers might surprise you (several towns known for their nightlife, like Miami and New Orleans, didn't even make our list.

These metros consume more than their fair share of alcohol—if Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on drinking habits are any indication. We also factored in the U.S. Department of Transportation's numbers on fatal car crashes, CDC data on alcohol-related liver disease deaths, and FBI reports on DUI arrests in each city.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin: They don't call it Brew City for nothing. This longtime home of the Miller Brewing Company has more regular and binge drinkers per capita than any other U.S. metro, according to the CDC. In addition, an estimated 7.5 percent of Milwaukeeans are "heavy drinkers" (men who consume more than two alcoholic beverages a day and women who consume more than one).

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota: In the City of Lakes, alcohol apparently flows almost as freely as the water. Minneapolis's binge-drinking rates are second only to Milwaukee's, it ranks third for heavy drinking, and the area's alcoholism rates are the fourth highest in the nation.

Columbus, Ohio: Given its reputation as a hard-partying college town, the sobering truth may come as no surprise: Columbus ranks second for heavy drinking, fifth for binge drinking, and sixth for alcoholism. Sadly, despite several new laws designed to crack down on drunk driving, the city's levels of alcohol-related accidents have remained high.


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