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Wednesday
Mar112009

Another Blow to Paris Nightlife?

On January 1, 2008 the no-smoking laws in France went into effect, which meant that Parisian nightclubs and bars had to figure out a way to make their nicotine-addicted clientele happy by either adding special fumoirs or putting up with the crowd standing outside the entrance. Non-smokers were happy to be able to go out and not smell like an ashtray afterwards, and smokers basically adapted. So the doomsayers predicting the end of Paris nightlife were wrong.

But now there's another law that was signed last week banning "open bars" in the effort to curb binge drinking in teens and young adults. Open bars are typically the main draw for special soirées such as the After-Works and student parties. So there may be fewer of these soirées, but is that really a bad thing? Does French nightlife really need to embrace the "let's go out and get hammered as fast and as cheaply as possible" mentality that exists in the US and UK?When I was a student in Paris 14 years ago, it was almost unheard of for the French students to get drunk (only we expat students, usually the Anglophone ones, held that dubious honor).

In any case, it seems like a better idea to limit unlimited drinking than to raise the drinking age to 21 (it's currently 18 for hard liquor, 16 for beer and wine).

Read more Parisian nightlife news.

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Reader Comments (8)

Mais Non!

Say it isn't so. I, for one, have never met an open bar I didn't like.

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite? You can't get more Liberte than FREE drinks. And what could be more Egalite than everyone having equal access to free drinks?? And what could inspire more Fraternite than dozens of free drinks???

No, mon amie. Instead of abolishing open bars, perhaps those of us considered "professional" drinkers could open a Drinking Academy and school these youngsters in the fine art of holding ones liquor!
March 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Guilford
You know, if a pint of beer didn't cost 7€, nor a cocktail in the area of 10€, I probably wouldn't mind. But as someone with an extremely high tolerance, it breaks the bank just to get a nice buzz on a Friday night after a long work week.

While binge drinking amongst youth is a worrisome issue, why not impose more rules on open bars? In the UK, there are plenty of 25+ bars... Why not just have a higher age requirement for open bars?
March 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOmid
Whoa...maybe you need to start drinking on the Left Bank or in the 19th Omid! ;)

But yes, I agree they should just check IDs to control under-age drinking (like they do in the US...like that really works anyway) and let the rest of us have our cheap booze. ;)

Let's go march in protest!
March 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Now that's an article I'd like to read (or maybe write)!

Where to find the cheapest drinks in Paris.

I'm all ears because, like Omid, beers in my neighborhood fetch 8 Euro and cocktails START at 10.
March 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Guilford
There's a bar on the corner of Arago and Glaciere in the 13th (near M° Gobelins) that has €1.50 happy hour pints. ;)
March 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Oh, and for "cheap" without looking "cheap", Williams Bar at 26 ave Friedland (M° Etoile, 8th) has happy hour cocktails and Champagne for €6.
March 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Mon Dieu!

Heather, you're an angel! €1.50 for a pint??? I'm there!
March 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Guilford
You are right...this is what it is like in the UK.. "let's go out and get hammered as fast and as cheaply as possible" mentality that exists in the US and UK.

Also here in the UK..drink in the supermarkets is so cheap and easy to buy...they normally drink before going out..so they are normally "HAMMERED"..and as time goes on the females are just as bad if not worse than the males...

UK is a disgrace for drinking, especially underage and binge drinking!!!
March 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

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