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5 Signs You Learned to Drink in Boston

Student Work
by Isabelle Martin Jan 22, 2015
1. You spent a ton of time and even more money on a really good fake ID.

You’ve been carded more times than you’ve hit traffic on 93. In your younger years, you hunted down similar-looking older friends and tried to buy their licenses, and there was always some tech-savvy person printing out what they claimed to be top-notch IDs for $50.

If you were thinking you could charm your way into the bar, you quickly learned to think again. My 26-year old friend got banned for life from White Horse because they didn’t accept her out-of-state Louisiana ID (she has the most absurdly thick Cajun accent I’ve ever heard), so she started screaming crazy redneck stuff at the bouncer and got the boot.

This heading could also be “You spent a lot of time drinking in your friend’s basement.”

2. You frequented the Silhouette Lounge in Allston.

Back in ye olden days when I was underage, this was the only place I knew of that didn’t card. It’s the shittiest place on Earth. This is what the outside of the bar looks like — that’s seriously the best they can do to try and appear welcoming. It looks like a place where dead bodies are hidden until they can be dumped in the Charles. The inside is even worse.

Regardless, all the 20 years olds I knew slithered into the Silhouette every weekend, drank warm beer and ate stale popcorn and most likely got the runs, but it was all worth it because they didn’t have to spend the three months between when their friends turned 21 and when they did in social isolation.

3. You honed your athletic talents on the beirut table.

Beirut is the unofficial sport of Boston. You probably spent a lot of time perfecting your shot, giving people shit for having their elbows over the line, and arguing about NBA Jam rules. Sometimes people didn’t wash the ball properly after it rolled under the couch in a never-vacuumed Brighton sublet, and that was okay.

Now that you’re a respectable adult, you only play beirut a couple times a year, and the cups are all full of water so you can avoid the hairball-drink situation. You delicately sip a hair-free craft beer out of a glass when the other team scores, and it makes you a little wistful.

4. You’re familiar with blue laws.

Boozing rules are all you know. You’ve never known a happy hour (illegal), and the last time you got to play Kings in the bar was on a weekend trip to New York. No matter what the hour, if you were sitting at a table on an outdoor patio, you brought your appetite, since you had to order food in order to be allowed to drink “outside.” You always had to remember to make an extra trip to the liquor store to pick up your adult beverages, since very few grocery stores had a liquor license (even for beer and wine).

You made sure to buy your Memorial Day cookout beers a couple days before, since almost all the liquor stores in Massachusetts are closed on holidays. They say this is to keep people from drinking too much on their days off, but you know from experience that sometimes a glass of wine is the only thing keeping Grandma from stabbing Aunt Janet at Thanksgiving dinner.

5. You’ve been caught in the no-man’s land between when the subway shuts down and when the bars close.

Until recently, the subway shut down at 12:30am, and the bars closed at 2am. Not only were you staggering outside with no clarity on how you’d get home, there was nothing else to do to kill the time until the subway opened again, since in Boston all the bars must close by 2am.

Usually the more lucid member of the group would suggest getting a cab, so you’d all run down the street to the most opportune-looking corner, trying to edge out all the other idiots pouring out of various bars with the same problem. The cabs caught onto the supply-and-demand aspect of this situation quick, and suddenly your five minute ride home was turning into a bidding war.

Eventually, you’d remember that Boston is a pretty tiny city, and so you’d wind up trudging home in the snow for 45 minutes with your friends.

Now the subway is open until 2:30am on the weekends, and you can just call an Uber, but you sometimes miss the fierce competition and expert cab-flagging moves of your youth.

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