Budapest at Night

A group of men publicly drink alcohol outside near a trashcan full of old beer cups and wine bottles.

A group of men publicly drink alcohol outside near a trashcan full of old beer cups and wine bottles.

It’s just recently that I have discovered the U.S. is one of few countries that almost completely prohibits not allow drinking alcohol in public places with the exception of a few cities. Upon arrival in Prague I assumed that drinking alcohol in public was legal since I had caught several people casually drinking outside. It wasn’t until I did some research that I learned that while there aren’t drinking restrictions in other areas of the Czech Republic, there is a Prague City drinking ban aimed at the general public. It is in effect at most major tourist spots but police are known to be very lenient as long as someone isn’t loud and rowdy. The ban was put into place in July 2008 primarily targeted to keep “undesirable” people from hanging around the metro stations.

Yet the ban does not affect all parts of Prague. For example, near sausage and food stands or anywhere near restaurant tables, people are free to drink outdoors with open containers. Also, during special holidays including Easter and Christmas, the public is allowed to drink in the streets without risking a fine. The fine for breaking the Prague City drinking ban is up to 1,000 CZK or $500. The legal drinking age in Prague is 18.

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