Alcohol and Budapest
Drinking is fun and Budapest seems to be centered around it. The award for the success of party tourism should be given to ruin pubs, cheap alcohol and the city’s inimitable atmosphere. However, we are not Supermen so not only kryptonite can harm us, therefore responsible drinking is very important. We would like to give you some good advice.
Although prohibition in the Hungarian capital is not as serious as it was in America during the 1920s, there are still a few rules when it comes to buying alcohol. In many districts of Budapest, it is illegal to sell alcoholic beverages between 10pm to 6am due to crimes committed under influence and complaints of the local residents. Those who break the law have to pay; the fine can be up to hundreds of thousands of Hungarian money. That’s a lot!
The following districts have some kind of prohibition from 10pm: III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, XI, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVIII, XX, XXI.
There are also other rules that the drunks of Budapest have to accept. Shops may not sell, therefore you can’t buy alcoholic beverages close to kindergardens, schools, or churches, and those who want to trade with liquid happiness in any part of the city with an UNESCO World Heritage label must have a special permission. Sadly, even if we manage to take possession of our beloved booze, we can’t drink it in underpasses, on the territory of official and educational institutions and on public streets, roads, and parks. You can’t run (anymore) but you can hide. If you are caught, you can either talk yourself out of trouble or pay a lot of money (about 50 000HUF) that you could have spent on more drinks.
It’s also illegal to serve drunken people in clubs and bars, or offer a drink to seemingly under 18. This latter one is not very ethical either.
Even walking home can turn into a disaster after a proper drinking, but for those who have to take public transportation the night can suddenly transform into a Die Hard movie with all the fights and accidents. Of course drunkdriving is always a no go!
The city’s night bus system is not bad at all, but there are a few rules drinkers have to consider before getting on board: unfortunately it’s not allowed to drink alcohol on the vehicle and there’s no chance the security guards will let you on with an open bottle, even if you promise you won’t be drinking. It’s better to think all this over before being asked to kindly get off.
All those wise (and wealthy) men who included the taxi ride in their party budget deserve some respect, however there are some friendly advices too: it’s not very cool to sleep on the drivers shoulder, forgetting your IDs and phone in the car results in serious dignity and money loss, and throwing up is also very uncomfortable and expensive. Drivers can make us pay 25 – 40 000 HUF if we are too proud to ask him to pull over before the bad thing happens. It’s also a bad idea to roll down the window and initiate sightseeing; the winds are pretty serious in a car going at 50km/h.
People are drunk when their blood-alcohol concentration is between 0.030% and 0.15%. The symptoms at this point are red cheeks, happiness and recklessness; this is when we feel like we are the children of Hulk and Pallas Athena. This divine state lasts until we reach the 0.15%-0.25%. These numbers are not really for showing off, we feel a lot differently when we get here: bad stomach, aggression, loss of balance and a big (negative) change in lovelife. Now it’s time to say good night and go home before something bad happens.
Of course, nobody ever does that. As we go above 0.25% we lose it, we fall asleep, drop things and in the worst cases even alcohol poisoning can occur. What best friends do when this happens is calling the ambulance (104) or the police (107), they will know what to do. If the situation is really bad the party-prince/princess will probably be sent to detox where he/she will be forced to have a good, long sleep. Of course, nobody should ever experience this! Being tipsy and drinking with friends is totally okay, but we all have to be aware of our limits.