Walking in the Night-time Economy: Drinking Destination or Destination Drinking?

An Abstract for “Drinking Spaces and Places”
A Conference at the University Bristol, 23 April 2016

Dr Andrew M. Butler and Robert McPherson
(Canterbury Christ Church University)

Michel de Certeau (1984:117) states that a “space is a practiced place”, arguing that places are made meaningful by the actions of those who walk into them. With this in mind, this paper will argue that urban and suburban pubs gain meaning as locations licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor inside the human activity embodied within the interactions between visiting drinkers and bartenders.

In the night-time economy under study here, there are city-centre pubs within the city walls that encourage a fly-by trade by hosting a transient clientele predisposed to ‘vertical drinking’, whilst outside the city walls are suburban backstreet pubs, home to a habitué clientele invited to sit round the bar and tables. The pub under study in the former place is marked by heavy episodic drinking, whereas the latter destination offers drinking over a more sustained period marked by real ale connoisseurship.

The two locations differ in terms of drinking practices; in the former distinct groups enter and leave the pub, in the latter singletons or couples enter and become part of a floating community. Intoxication takes place in both locations, but with different policing mechanisms, media representations or potential for moral panic.

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Walking in the Night-time Economy: Drinking Destination or Destination Drinking?

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