7 Differences Between Drinking in Small Towns and Big Cities

I’ve had the opportunity of living in both a small town and a big city. In my time living on each side of the population spectrum, I noticed some differences between small towns and big cities when it comes to going out and drinking. Here they are.


Big City:

You’ll have to decide how much you’re going to drink before you even park your car, because you won’t want it to get towed when it remains on a no-parking overnight street. It depends on the city, but public transportation can usually only get you so far and can also only keep you so clean.

Small Town:

Hopefully you’re smart enough to have a designated driver, because there is no such thing as a taxi service. Also, the only public transportation available is the public school bus, and it’s frowned upon for drunk people to stumble onto a bus full of school children and ask for a ride at 3:15 p.m. on a Tuesday.


Big City:

Pregaming is important financially speaking in a big city, because drinks are more expensive. Pregaming in a big city often entails meeting at someone’s apartment complex that’s close to wherever you’re planning on eventually going out. Whoever has the nicest place closest to the bars will most likely be hosting the majority of your pregaming sessions even if you don’t really like hanging out with the person.

Small Town:

The local bar is just where everyone that’s going out is going out, so there’s really no need to pregame. Plus drinks are so cheap at most small town bars it’s like you’re drinking from your fridge at home anyways. If there is a pregame, it’ll likely involve some grilling, some yard games, and a whole lot of light beer.

Picking which bar to go to

Big City:

You’ve got a lot of options on which bar to attend in a big city. You’ll mainly just have to decide which area of the city you want to drink in, which will most frequently be somewhere relatively close to where you live. One nice thing about drinking at a bar in a big city is that if the bar is not fun, you can just walk down the street for a while and find a new one. There’s actually a math equation that decides which bar you’ll go to based on your current location, your most opinionated friend, and which bar you think will have the most girls. GPS + PushySteve + Hottest π =X

Small Town:

This one’s pretty simple. If it’s a small enough town, there’ll only be one bar and you won’t even have to make the decision. If there’s a few more in town than just the one bar, you’ll just pick the one that most of your friends go to. You may complain about going to a particular bar all the time, but you will go to it in the end anyways because let’s face it, it’s the best option you’ve got.

The patrons at the bar

Big City:

There are a lot of bars which leads to a lot of patrons to choose from in a big city. To quote Back to the Future, “Marty don’t be such a square. Everybody who’s anybody drinks.”

Small Town:

No matter what time you go, “the townies” will always be at the bar.  hey may seem a bit scary at first, but that’s only if you’re the new guy. Once the townies establish that you live in town, are a fan of the local sports team, and you nod your head as they explain something that they are very passionate about, you’ll form a lasting friendship that takes place only at the local bar.

The Drinks

Big City:

Here’s how my usual big city bar mixed drink order conversation goes:

Me: Can I get a rum and coke?

Bartender: Ok what kind of rum do you want?

Me: Umm, just whatever’s easiest or cheapest is fine.

Bartender: Ok you got it. (Pours liquor for 2 seconds and then adds coke for the rest.)

Bartender: Ok that’ll be $8.50.

Me: Oh ok, cool. Do you have any specials going on at all tonight?

Bartender: Well not right now, but we do actually have $1 off draft beers which are usually $9 on every third Tuesday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.

Small Town:

Here’s how my usual small town bar mixed drink order conversation goes:

Me: Hey can I get a rum and coke?

Bartender: Sure (Pours until half of cup is just rum and then adds a splash of coke)

Bartender: That’ll be $2.50

Me: Is there a special going on or something?

Bartender: Yeah. We have half off all drinks every day from opening to 1:00am.

The Music

Big City:

You can pick which bar you go to that plays music you like.

Small Town:

You can pick songs on the jukebox to play music you like.

The Bartenders

Big City:

Bartenders in a big city are usually young and good looking. A lot of bars feature only female bartenders, which I didn’t quite fully realize when I first moved to a bigger city. I saw a guy standing behind the bar and asked him if I could get a beer and he looked at me in disgust and said, “What do I look like a bartender?” I replied, “Well yeah you’re standing behind the bar, and hence you look exactly like a bartender.” I just got an angry stare from him and I moved on from there to get a drink from the bartender who looked like the go-go dancer.

Small Town:

Your bartender in a small town is Mike, the guy who owns the bar. Unlike in a big city, you’ll definitely get to know the owner of the bar and he or she will definitely be an awesome person to get drunk with. This owner/bartender may not know how to make some of the fancier shots or drinks, but when you get your tab at the end of the night you’ll notice a few drinks were on the house.

They each have their strengths and weaknesses. Which one would you declare the winner in this small town vs big city drink off?

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