Public drunkenness in Sydney is common?

Old Jan 22, 18, 2:50 am
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Public drunkenness in Sydney is common?

Recently went to Sydney and encountered two instances of daytime public drunkenness.
Both were on public transport too.

Once on the subway train where some guy started shouting and cussing.
Thought there was an argument but turned out the dude was just drunk, still holding his bottle...

Another time was on a bus, some guy came up and started shouting too and harassing the other pax.
Bus driver did nothing.
At least the drunk guy didnt go around bashing people but he did verbally harass quite a few pax.
Some tourists got off the bus too.
Shouldnt the driver at least call the cops or something?

Then occurred to me that many Aussies, maybe tourists too, drink a ton during the day.
At the airport, restaurants, many drinkers during the day.
Almost everyone at the restaurant was drinking!
Quite uncommon, to me at least, for people to drink much during the day in Asia/USA.

Traveled quite a bit in many countries but only really seen drunk people at night.
So it was surprising to see them during daytime.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 4:44 am
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In answer to your question: During the day, no. At night, yes, it is similar to any large city.

I think describing Australians as drinking a tonne during the day is pretty wide of the mark.

If you've only recently been in Sydney then you've been pretty much in town when everyone is on holidays. "Results not typical".

Last edited by bensyd; Jan 22, 18 at 4:59 am
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Old Jan 22, 18, 4:41 pm
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Originally Posted by HawaiiO View Post
Recently went to Sydney and encountered two instances of daytime public drunkenness.
Both were on public transport too.

Once on the subway train where some guy started shouting and cussing.
Thought there was an argument but turned out the dude was just drunk, still holding his bottle...

Another time was on a bus, some guy came up and started shouting too and harassing the other pax.
Bus driver did nothing.
At least the drunk guy didnt go around bashing people but he did verbally harass quite a few pax.
Some tourists got off the bus too.
Shouldnt the driver at least call the cops or something?

Then occurred to me that many Aussies, maybe tourists too, drink a ton during the day.
At the airport, restaurants, many drinkers during the day.
Almost everyone at the restaurant was drinking!
Quite uncommon, to me at least, for people to drink much during the day in Asia/USA.

Traveled quite a bit in many countries but only really seen drunk people at night.
So it was surprising to see them during daytime.
Public intoxication can be a problem in and around the CBD and the folks you encountered are most likely the poor unfortunate souls who are homeless and unemployed (that being said it is no worse than other major cities). The liquor laws in Australia mean that they can only buy liquor to take away from a bar and the take away liquor doesn't open until 10 am I think.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 6:06 pm
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I think public intoxication is a little worse in Australia than the USA. But no, it isn't typical to see it in the daytime.

I don't think it is correct to say 'Aussies drink a ton during the day'. It's more common than the USA to have a beer at lunch in Australia on a workday with co-workers (Australia is similar to the UK in that sense). But it is not normal to get drunk, or drink 'a ton'.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 8:23 pm
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Originally Posted by HawaiiO View Post
Recently went to Sydney and encountered two instances of daytime public drunkenness.
Both were on public transport too.

Once on the subway train where some guy started shouting and cussing.
Thought there was an argument but turned out the dude was just drunk, still holding his bottle...

Another time was on a bus, some guy came up and started shouting too and harassing the other pax.
Bus driver did nothing.
At least the drunk guy didnt go around bashing people but he did verbally harass quite a few pax.
Some tourists got off the bus too.
Shouldnt the driver at least call the cops or something?

Then occurred to me that many Aussies, maybe tourists too, drink a ton during the day.
At the airport, restaurants, many drinkers during the day.
Almost everyone at the restaurant was drinking!
Quite uncommon, to me at least, for people to drink much during the day in Asia/USA.

Traveled quite a bit in many countries but only really seen drunk people at night.
So it was surprising to see them during daytime.
Such an odd post....

As pointed out, you found two lost and troubled souls on public transit.

And then try to create some kind of cause/effect between that and your (possibly biased) observation of tourists and restaurant goers and their apparent day-drinking.

IMO creating this post says more about you than it does of those two Aussies.

Last edited by Exec_Plat; Jan 22, 18 at 9:39 pm
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Old Jan 22, 18, 8:51 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
I think public intoxication is a little worse in Australia than the USA. But no, it isn't typical to see it in the daytime.

I don't think it is correct to say 'Aussies drink a ton during the day'. It's more common than the USA to have a beer at lunch in Australia on a workday with co-workers (Australia is similar to the UK in that sense). But it is not normal to get drunk, or drink 'a ton'.
Funnily enough, only last week, I was talking to an American from Silicon Valley who is a regular at my local and works for some sort of startup. He was commenting on what a culture shock it was when he first went for lunch with his Sydney colleagues and everyone had a beer or glass of wine with their lunch. In most businesses it would be frowned upon to have anything more than 1 or 2 drinks with lunch, however I do know a few guys in sales where the 1980's long lunch never disappeared.

I've worked in London and had plenty of business dealings in Europe and it's certainly a cultural norm to have an alcoholic drink if you're out at lunch with friends/co-workers etc. In America though, we almost always had soft drinks or water. Either works fine for me.

Last edited by bensyd; Jan 22, 18 at 10:34 pm
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Old Jan 22, 18, 8:58 pm
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I would guess that you were more aware of your surroundings as you were in a foreign place. Back home, you become 'blind' to the familiar (we all do).

Daytime public drunkenness in Hong Kong seems to me, where I find myself, the young (often teenager) expats who managed to get pissed at LKF and pass out drunk on Central's streets where they are the following morning. When it's not a school night that is. Having said that, there is an old local man who sometimes catches the morning bus I do, who sits quietly quietly sipping his San Mig at 9am. Only notice the smell of his beer; he just fades into the background.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 10:32 pm
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The real observation here is that many (IMO, the majority) Americans are uptight and quite puritanical about alcohol, whereas most of Europe and Australasia is not. A drink at lunch is not uncommon in many parts of the world. Well travelled people know and understand this. Hopefully the OP never goes to Russia....
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Old Jan 22, 18, 11:30 pm
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Yea quite true.
In the USA and Asia, very few people drink during lunch, even on holiday.
They drink at night but almost everyone around the world do.

Probably a different culture in Aus and in Europe.
Never been to Russia but heard stories of their love for vodka.



Originally Posted by JamesBigglesworth View Post
The real observation here is that many (IMO, the majority) Americans are uptight and quite puritanical about alcohol, whereas most of Europe and Australasia is not. A drink at lunch is not uncommon in many parts of the world. Well travelled people know and understand this. Hopefully the OP never goes to Russia....
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Old Jan 23, 18, 1:44 am
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Another thing to consider is public transportation exposes you to a lot more people than your typical automobile commute (which many Americans are used to). Odds are you'll notice some outliers at some point.
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Old Jan 28, 18, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
Another thing to consider is public transportation exposes you to a lot more people than your typical automobile commute (which many Americans are used to). Odds are you'll notice some outliers at some point.
Ah the joys of public transport. With the advent of the Night Tube on the weekends in London you will meet some very merry souls - something that was once crammed in to the last few tubes on a Friday or Saturday night is now spread eveningly throughout the evening! However, drinking on the tube is prohibited.

While in some of the big US cities like NYC and SF I did notice quite a few day time drinkers in various places. This was in my younger days when I'd stay in cheaper hotels and hostels, so I don't know if it was just the area I was in but even after encountering begging and homelessness during my time in Europe, I remember being shocked by the number of beggars drinking during the day around Union Square in SF.

On the flipside my young adult nephew and nieces came to London for the first time last year and were gleefully encouraged to see all the office workers having lunch time and extended lunch time drinks. On a Monday. On Wednesday we encountered some body who couldn't cope with his intake around 4pm near Leadenhall Markets which they found rather amusing and decided to investigate a working holiday here!!

It is a bit cultural to some extent and it's also what one is exposed to in their normal life. It's like when you read people complaining of noisy hotels in Tripadvisor because of street noise when they are used to to silence of rural life.
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Old May 3, 18, 9:04 pm
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Regular traveller on Syd public transport and it's pretty rare.
Would be slightly more common on some inner-city routes that go through areas with shelters and lots of public housing.

Whereas NYC, you get something almost every second train ride.
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Old May 5, 18, 6:11 am
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It does happen but as others have said no more/less than any other major city globally.

Out of curiosity do you remember which train line you were on and which bus route?
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Old May 5, 18, 6:12 pm
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Sydney seems to be a magnet for US travelers with DUI convictions, based on other FT threads Plus free booze on flights over the Pacific so most pax are falling down drunk upon arrival
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Old May 22, 18, 11:41 am
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I travel to Australia on sales and have many business lunches there.

I can only recall two occasions in twenty years of doing this where we had a drink at lunchtime - once sharing a bottle of wine between four at Cafe Sydney and once with an engineer contact who was "between jobs" in Melbourne where we had a glass of wine each. A casual meeting but good to keep up the contact.
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