Food

The Weirdest Drinking Laws from Around the World  

Mike Rothschild
4k votes 829 voters 70.5k views 28 items

Weird laws about drinking are a worldwide phenomenon: international alcohol laws are sometimes pretty out there and America has some truly strange regulations on the books as well. Alcohol laws from around the world can govern anything from how much wine a married woman can drink (one glass only in La Paz, Bolivia!) to penalties for DUI, and importing wine from province to province. Many are arcane, and others barely enforced, but if you're going out of the country, you'll want to do a quick check for their drinking laws.

In the US, you might want to do the same thing. Planning on a happy hour out of state? Better check if it's legal. Smitten with your bartender in Nebraska? Hanky panky with them is out of the question. Want to buy pretty much any alcohol in Pennsylvania? You'd better have a copy of the civil code with you, because it's insanely complex.

Some of these weird drinking laws and funny laws about alcohol are just plain silly, others are well-intentioned, and some are just relics of a bygone era.
1
You Can't Chug a Beer in Texas While Standing
A long-forgotten law in Texas says it's illegal to take more than three sips of beer at one time while standing. Needless to say, this a difficult law to enforce.
Is this weird?
2
Utah Restaurants Pour Drinks Behind a Curtain
Mormon-dominated Utah has long had complicated liquor laws. In fact, until 2009, bars had to operate as private clubs that charged membership fees. Those laws were repealed, but restaurants now have to pour drinks behind an opaque pane of glass, so as to not tempt teetotalers and children. These so-called "Zion curtains" can be seen in any restaurant opened recently.
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3
Wearing Underwear Under That Kilt? Two Beers!
A law supposedly on the books in Scotland says that any Scottish gentleman found to be wearing underwear under his kilt will be fined two beers. It's likely that this law doesn't actually exist, and if it does, it's never been enforced.
Is this weird?
4
Drinking and Sexy Movies Don't Mix in Idaho

Idaho passed a law in 2000 prohibiting movie theaters from selling alcohol during movies that depict sex. While such a law seems like the kind of thing that would rarely, if ever, be enforced, it actually is. As recently as 2015, two undercover Idaho State Police officers busted a theater for serving drinks to customers in its VIP section during a screening of "50 Shades of Grey."

The theater owners turned around sued the state police, citing a similar law that California had which was overturned on First Amendment grounds.
Is this weird?