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Which U.S. City Could You Save the Most by Cutting Out Drinking?

Marcel Gemme By Marcel Gemme | Last Updated: 23 January 2023
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Introductory graphic for which city you could save the most by cutting out drinking.

It’s no secret that inflation is racking up the drinking bill, prompting Americans all across the country to find unique ways around rising alcohol costs. Whether you’re looking to cut down on the booze for your wallet or your health, there’s no better time than the present to ditch the expensive alcohol and start your New Year off right. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to adopt a new lifestyle that won’t wreak havoc on your finances.

With high inflation having no end, we wanted to discover the cities with the highest bar prices and how much individuals could save by trading their beer and vodka shots for non-alcoholic beverages instead. Keep reading to discover our list of cities that could save the most money by skipping the nightcap and opting for a delicious mocktail instead!

The Top 20 U.S. Cities You'd Save the Most if You Cut Out Drinking Alcohol

Map depicting the top 20 U.S. cities you’d save the most if you cut out drinking alcohol.

Whether you’re planning to take a trip to a new city or want to try your hand at “Dry January” to start the 2023 year, we compiled a list of the top 20 cities that could save the most if they slowed down on the booze.

Unsurprisingly, places like New York, NY, and Seattle, WA, were first and second on our list, receiving city scores of 70.12 and 66.67 out of 100, respectively.

Miami, FL, known for its exciting nightlife is number three on our list, earning a city score of 62.28 out of 100. The city charges $17.00 on average for one bottle of wine and one cocktail drink at a downtown club.

Certain bars in Miami, FL, are embracing Dry January and serving up delicious mocktails like the Hot & Humid ($7) at the Baleen Kitchen, which is made with peach nectar, pineapple, jalapeño, cucumber, and clove. Skip the expensive alcohol and sip on something that will keep you a little more level-headed!

Coming in at number nine is Virginia Beach, VA, which attained a city score of 58.32 out of 100. The average cost of an Uber ride in Virginia Beach is $20.70, which could put a dent in your piggy bank.

The Most Expensive U.S. Cities for a Night Out

Whether you only go out occasionally or tend to drink more heavily, we wanted to find out how much one night out on the town will cost you by examining factors like an Uber ride to your destination and back, drinks at dinner, and more.

Seattle, WA, is first on our list, racking up a bill of $114.87 for a night out, which is 47% higher than the average night out of drinking ($77.95). The average cost of an Uber ride in Emerald City is $38.02, which may leave you thinking twice about overpriced liquor costs.

The sober crowd can still enjoy a nightcap without the added expense of liquor costs at places like the Stampede Cocktail Club, which serves non-alcoholic drinks. Patrons can enjoy an After School Special ($13) made with bruleed custard, lavender, oleo sacrum, Double Bergamot Earl Grey, and Wilderton Lustre — yum!

New York, NY, will cost you $110.31 for a night out while Boston, MA, will run you $92.89. Washington, DC, places fourth and charges $89.03 for a night out, on average.

If you’re looking to save on soaring bar prices while visiting our nation’s capital, try out the Gibson, which features spirit-free cocktails like the Anything But Holy ($7) — made with maple, lemon, ginger beer, Hellfire & Angostura bitters (while bitters do contain trace amounts of alcohol, it’s the equivalence found in OJ and commercial sodas).

Map depicting the most expensive U.S. cities for a night out.

Closing Thoughts

There’s nothing wrong with making time for family, friends, and nights out on the town. However, going out in certain cities might just put a dent in your savings. While social events and drinking might go hand-in-hand for some, there is a growing awareness of alcohol addictions and the difficulty of staying social while staying away from liquor.

Want to cut down on drinking yourself? Read our guide on alcohol problems or search through our extensive directory to learn more about addictions and the different types of treatments offered.

Full Data

That wraps up our city ranking for Which City Could You Save the Most by Cutting Out Drinking. Interested in diving deeper into the numbers for all of the cities, or wanting to see how your city stacks up if it’s not listed within the above map?

We’ve compiled our full data study for all 50 U.S. cities analyzed into the interactive data table below. Search for the city you call home or click on the heading of each column to sort by that category!

Methodology

To find the top cities for saving the most money when it comes to cutting out alcohol costs and skipping the rising bar prices, we started with a list of the 50 most populated cities in the U.S. and ranked them 1 to 50 based on relevant factors. We broke those factors down into three categories: expense, tax expense, and consumption. We then assigned weights to each factor depending on how important it would be when trying to save money and cut out alcohol. Based on those weights, each city we analyzed was given a score out of 100.

To determine the most expensive cities for a night out, we looked at factors like an Uber ride to your destination and back, drinks at dinner (either two beers or a half bottle of wine), and two cocktails at the club afterward. Details on all ranking factors can be found below.

Ranking Factor Ranking Factor Category Weight Source
Cost of Domestic Beer (restaurant & 1 pint draught)
Expense Factor
1.75
Cost of Imported Beer (restaurant & 12oz)
Expense Factor
1.75
Cost of Domestic Beer (market & 1 pint)
Expense Factor
1.75
Cost of Imported Beer (market & 12oz)
Expense Factor
1.75
Cost of 1 Bottle of Wine
Expense Factor
1.75
Cost of 1 Cocktail Drink (in downtown club)
Expense Factor
1.75
Avg Cost of Uber Ride (one-way)
Expense Factor
1.75
Alcohol Excise Tax on Beer ($ per gallon) by State
Tax Expense Factor
1.75
Alcohol Excise Tax on Wine ($ per gallon) by State
Tax Expense Factor
1.75
Alcohol Excise Tax on Distilled Spirits ($ per gallon) by State
Tax Expense Factor
1.75
Excessive Drinking %
Consumption Factor
1.75
Alcohol Consumption
Consumption Factor
1.75
No. of Bars
Consumption Factor
1.75
No. of Bartenders
Consumption Factor
1.75
BLS

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

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