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Summer Guide 2013: Best Practices for Drinking in the Park... 

Wednesday, Jun 26 2013

Be subtle
Besides the obvious benefits of drinking in a park rather than a bar (fresh air, nice views, cheaper prices, day-drinking without feeling like a degenerate), part of the fun of park-boozing is the middle school sense of glee at breaking the rules. But don't flaunt your rebelliousness like an asshole. Brown bags are the obvious misdirection, a tacit agreement between you and the people around you that you could just be chugging a refreshing Coke Zero that you forgot to take out of its paper receptacle. And if you want to be bolder you can always...

Rock a koozie
Let's be real: There's no world where a foam beer koozie is an effective disguise for your beer (everyone can see that distinctive strip of Tecate red peeking out from the top). But it will keep your beer cold and make you look cool depending on its level of irony. Deploy accordingly.

Don't be a booze snob
Parks are for watery beer and screwcap wine drunk from plastic cups. Do not bring wine glasses. Do not bring a $12 bottle of Belgian beer or that rare Grand Cru that you've been cellaring. That said, if cheap alcohol absolutely offends your sensitive palate, that's okay too — the park is a democratic space! — as long as you internalize your sneers at your companions' drinking choices.

Use discretion when playing tunes
It's an empirical fact that gatherings are more festive with a soundtrack, and it's fine to score your afternoon with the new Daft Punk on the Jambox. But this isn't your living room. Don't blast music so loudly that the grassy field suddenly feels like a dance floor. Don't pump out explicit songs when there are children or elderly tour groups present. And if someone asks you to turn it down/off, don't compare them to Hitler or that dance-hating mayor in the town from Footloose.

Instagram, but don't be a douchebag
Of course you want everyone to know that you have a fabulous life in which you spend all your time drinking outdoors with your great group of friends – that's what social media is made for. But stay away from annoying humblebrags ("Soaking up the sun in Dolores Park! Too bad I forgot the sunscreen.") and straight-up brags ("Friends and sunshine! I love my life!").

Be nice to other people's kids and dogs
Sometimes children toddle over to your blanket looking for a game of peek-a-boo. Sometimes dogs bound over and want to slobber all over you. Indulge them until their parents/owners come looking; they won't be far behind. If you can't interact with these adorable creatures for a few minutes, you should probably just stay at Zeitgeist.

Keep your PDA PG-13
We know, when the two of you are together it feels like there's no one else in the world. Except there is, and watching your dry-humping isn't as much of a turn-on to the rest of us as you might assume. Rule of thumb: If you are doing something that could elicit the phrase "get a room," remove your hand from your partner's pants and go find one.

Play lawn games,but if the park is crowded, pack it up
You know what's really a bummer when you're just trying to kick back in the sun with a tallboy? The constant fear that you're about to be hit in the head with a Frisbee or errant lawn golf ball. Keep in mind those poor souls unlucky enough to be in your proximity don't believe you when you promise not to hit them.

Don't get sloppy
The social contract of park drinking precludes excessive drunkenness and bad behavior. Don't ruin it for everyone else by getting unbearably loud or so wasted you can't even stand up. If you keep it classy and take the party to a bar when the wind kicks up and/or you're getting too rowdy for a public place, you're on the path to enjoying productive park drinking sessions for years to come.

...and Handling Drugs in a Proper Fashion...

Seal it up
Convenient, isn't it, that the world's most popular illegal drug is among the very stankiest. To avoid broadcasting to the world that you're holding, contain the kush to the pill containers available at most honest marijuana dealers — the ones that pay taxes at least — or stash your J away in a Doob Tube.

Eat it up
Smuggle a beer or a plastic water bottle full of Bushmills into a baseball game and you're a hero; sneak a toke on a bat or share a preroll with your section in the late innings and security is texted. So endear yourself to your section-mates instead with medicated popcorn, trail mix, or the granola nugs Vapor Room provides via its delivery service.

Vape it up
There's nothing like a joint at the beach at sunset. There's also nothing quite like no joint at the beach at sunset because a giant wind just blew all the weed you were twisting up into the nearest sand dune. Join the 21st-century and get with a portable vaporizer. No need to grind and roll means more leisure time. There are dozens to choose from, start at

Stock it up... and share it up
Just about the only excuse to be caught not holding is to be in jail, dead, or watching the final embers of a bowl turn to fine white dust. If the Bay Area's dozens of dispensaries falling all over each other to sell you the best cannabis at the lowest price are too far away, pick up the stupid phone and get a delivery of a $20 eighth from Mission Organics. Or if that's too much, try the emerging world of smartphone weed apps.

Smarten yourself up
We remember the days when ambushing civilians with an exhaled cloud of unwanted secondhand was a fine and funny thing. We also remember that we're no longer 12 years old. Not everyone shares your affinity for the magic plant — and those who do may not be interested in smelling or breathing your dregs. Above all, keep it away from kids.

...and Smuggling Beer

Choose Wisely
Arguments about what are and aren't drinkable beers can be addressed on your own time. Here, we'll focus on the shape of the container the beer comes in. For smuggling purposes, long, thin receptacles are easier to carry on one's body than short, fat ones. Also, the uniform weight distribution of a can makes it easier to tote than a bottle. Importantly, cans don't crack, resulting in beer-soaked lacerations.

Dress Wisely
They're going to look in your bag. So don't put the beer in your bag. Put it in your pockets. Put it down your tall socks. Put it down the front of your pants and wear a loose-fitting overshirt. Put it in your sleeves and slip your hand in your pocket. Tuck your shirt in and put it down your shirt. And, even on a hot day, wear a big, loose-fitting jacket. That way, a relatively thin person can create a 36-ounce aluminum "beer belly" and no one's the wiser.

Load Wisely
At some point, you're going to have to load up your body with clandestine beer. It's a bit of a process to jam beers down your socks or into your waistline. So, the thing to do is to either board Muni pre-beered (this is an ordeal and test of one's endurance) or wander to a secluded scrap of land near the ballpark where your behavior won't attract undue attention. A men's room at a nearby fast food eatery (hint, hint) might be ideal.

Drink Wisely
So far, so good. You're through the turnstile. You're in your section. You're at your seat. You want a beer. But you can't just whip out a clandestine brew. This isn't like pot-smoking outside the ballpark — there are rules. The best thing to do is pack in paper cups or, better yet, plastic stadium cups you picked up at a prior game. Surreptitiously pour the beers into the cups and put the cans back in your bag.

Finish Wisely
Leaving a pile of cans beneath one's seat is poor form. It's never been easier to recycle, or even compost, at the ballpark. Be a mensch and put your detritus in the proper bin. Hey, you've just saved $30-odd dollars. It's the least you can do.

About The Author

Staff, SF Weekly


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