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IMPORTANT: If you are easily offended, please do not read on without first reading the Special Disclaimer. This article is purely an attempt at humour and is not intended to cause any offence.



A treasure trove of variety beer – top-fermented, bottom-fermented, bottle-fermented, fruit (pear, peach and strawberry), strong (up to 14% - stronger than wine!), and always served in the correct glass. Unfairly labelled boring in the past (probably by tee-totallers), Belgium is a beer drinkers paradise. Put it this way: “exotic”, strong beer like Stella is just run of the mill ordinary beer over there! All of this can be a recipe for drunken disasters – the drunkest bar owner I have ever seen insisted on waltzing with us whilst wearing a gendarme cap that made him look like the Fat Controller!

Drink: A thoroughly sozzled 10/10
Drunks: Boring?  Not with a jakey count of 8/10

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Look Thomas, it's the Fat Controller


Sarajevska Pils is the standard brew in the capital, and jolly nice it is too. Preferable to neighbouring Croatian beer, search it out of you can, as not everywhere seemed to sell it. Drinking in Sarajevo can still be fraught with problems, as the Squaddies and UN workers often take over the Irish bars, leaving the other places hang-outs for locals. Having said this, we had no problems with being accepted wherever we were. Local drunks were quite thin on the ground (even in the superb Cafe Muppet) - probably because Ronnie McD had snaffled all the beer - although the 24-hour Marquee bar on the riverside, with it’s night-viewing of adult entertainment, seemed to be a jakey-magnet.

Drink: A surprising 8/10
Drunks: A respectable 7/10

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Local lads in the Harp


Like it’s Balkan neighbour, Croatia is still feeling the hangover from the wars of the mid-90’s. As a result, many of the drunks seem to be ex-soldiers, so you may want to avoid talking politics here! The beer isn’t bad: lager-ish “Ozzie” (Ozjusko) is preferable to the darker, stronger “Tommy” (Tomislav). Try the cocktail bar next to the Hobbit for a bit of variety.

Drink: A middling 6/10
Drunks: A sometimes punchy 6/10

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A hoedown in a Croatian local

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is the birthplace of modern lager (pilsner was invented in Plzen), and is a top drinking destination. Once you’ve had your fill of some of Europe’s finest lagers (Staropramen, Pilsner Urquell, Budvar, Branik, Radegast), you can move on to the benilyn-ish Becherova, or the paint-stripping absinthe. Hardcore drinkers have been rumoured to water down the “Green Fairy” with Smirnoff Blue Label (clocking in at a liver-pickling 50% abv itself) – sounds like a challenge to me!

Aside from the drunken stag parties, the Czech capital Prague has no shortage of local contenders for the international crown of “Drunk of the world”. Seemingly obliged to dress in jeans and a tight fitting lumberjack shirt, Czech men have no problem escaping their daily troubles with several 25p pints of fine beer (well, at that price, it would be rude not to!).

Drink: A mighty 9/10
Drunks: A hold-their-beer-well 7/10

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The Shot Out Eye, Zizkov

Someone's back room, Teplice

The halfway house, Usti nad Lebum


Copenhagen is home to both Carlsberg and Tuborg lagers, as well as being rammed with trendy bars and clubs, so it goes without saying that there are drunks to be found here. However, they do save most of their caning for weekend nights. During the week, different bars offer happy hours, and this where some of the determined jakeys can be found. Ex-pats and tourists, however, seem to congregate in one of two places: "Rosie McGhee's Scottish pub", complete with vibrating dance-floor immediately opposite the station, or The Dubliner, a Scottish-managed pub halfway down Strøget - both have a healthy smattering of smashed locals too.

Drink: A palatable 7/10
Drunks: A respectable 7/10

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He may be Scottish, but he does live in Copenhagen!


Some of the finest beer known to man (I’m talking real ale here, not Carling Black Label!), it is unfortunately wasted on the majority of the lager-supping (not forgetting Bacardi Breezer bolting) nation. Real ale comes in a variety of weird and wonderful flavours: hoppy, with honey, with chocolate, nutty – it doesn’t seem to matter to Helen’s delicate English palette – “It tastes of gardens”. Another speciality in the West Country is scrumpy – this has to be drunk to be believed (preferably as a “chaser” with another pint!) – this is not to be mistaken with the chemical compound that is Strongbow. Drunks in this country are, unfortunately, personified by stripped-to-the-waist, Ben Sherman wearing neds who like to fight up an down the high streets of every major town on a Friday and Saturday night (“Are you looking at my breezer?”). Like I said, wasted.

Drink: A variety-is-the-spice of life 8/10
Drunks: A breezer-fuelled 2/10

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Over a scrumpy in Bath


Saku beer, or battery acid amongst friends, is strangely highly-regarded by many. Unfortunately, they’re all sadly deluded – the stuff is rank. Stick to the top-notch voddy instead, although the more adventurous may be tempted by the Vana Tallinn liqueur – apparently this can double up as a Castrol GTX substitute. The drunk score is ramped up by the scores of drunken Finns roaming the streets of a weekend, high on (battery) acid at a much cheaper rate than Helsinki.

Drink: An acidic beer 3/10
Drunks: Over the Finnish line with 7/10

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In Molly Malone's. Tallinn

Faroe Islands

Some of the worst beer in the developed world- tasteless, sharp, acidic, and very over-priced. Still, the locals don’t let get in their way of oblivion, so good luck to them! For years alcohol was strictly rationed on these rocky outcrops, and with good reason – the lack of genetic variety has obviously hampered their ability to process the booze (this is especially true amongst the Inuit population, who share a genetic trait with those of oriental descent that does affect the body’s processing of alcohol).

Couple this with a strange, yet entertaining law, that prevents bars from ejecting drunken customers, this provides every bar with it’s very own cabaret show. Which is handy, seeing as there’s only 3 proper pubs in the whole of the capital city! One legacy of the prohibition days are “key clubs” – local hideaways for fisher-folk, described by Tom Small and Maurice as “something out of Star Wars”. Stories also abound of the locals “coming out of the trees” in the early hours armed with bottles of vodka and whisky, although the more cynical of us suspect that this may be a case of the DT’s. Class, pure class. Special respect is due for the ability to get so drunk on such poor beer.

Drink: An isolated 1/10
Drunks: A "they're coming out of the trees" 10/10

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Parker from Thunderbirds

The mad eskimo

"40 horses here by morning"


Apart from Lille, a beer enclave in the Flemish part of France, our Gallic neighbours are better known for their love of wine. And that’s not to say that some of the wind passes as good 5hit. It’s just I’m a beer drinker (and a “zider drinker”, but that’s another story!), and most of France is not a happy hunting ground. Blighted with top-whack prices for bottom-of-the-barrel beer, Kronenbourg and 1664 (these are actually different beers in France) are the best of a bad lot. Stick to pastis and water instead, and look contemplative as you sip it in a pavement café and smoke heavily. French people on the whole seem to be too graceful to get “pissed up and lairy”.

Drink: A wine-swilling 4/10
Drunks: A too trendy to swally 4/10

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"Have you heard the one about..."



Well dress me in leather shorts and slap my thigh. The un-fussiest of Europe’s beer connoisseurs (Czech’s only drink pilsner, and Belgians insist on the right glass), German’s are blessed with a wide variety of different brews, from the sublime Krausen in the north, to the weissbier of Bavaria, with the fun sized glasses of Dusseldorf Altbier in between. Top this off with a far healthier pub culture than back home, with most cities boasting at least a couple of all-night bars, a far more relaxed outlook on sleaziness, and a host of men in silly costumes and feathers in their hats (sound familiar?), and you’re talking a top drinking experience. Unlike our southern cousins, my experiences with German drunks have always been friendly, if a little dribbly – a very sociable country to get out of your tree in.

Drink: A haughty 9/10
Drunks: A leather-shorts-clad 8/10

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Rosy cheeked

An affectionate drunk


Schtop! Dutch beer (Grolsch, Amstel, Heineken, Oranjeboom) is pretty well regarded on the European pilsner front, although I have to admit I’ve had better. Of course, Holland is also well known for it’s other “recreational options”, so beer may or may not be your first priority. Dutch drunks appear to be as genial as they are when sober, so all in all a pleasant place to drink (or whatever). One word of warning when staggering around the red light area looking for your hotel (“it’s next to a canal”) – you will come across a lot of dodgy looking characters wanting to part from your hard-earned. Everytime I walked past a group I was constantly asked “Charlie? Charlie?” – I don’t even know the man!

Drink: An alright 6/10
Drunks: A chemically altered 4/10

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City lights

Hong Kong

Local bevvy is restricted to three options: Tsingtao (fruity, yet rank at the same time!); San Miguel (Spanish, yet brewed in Hong Kong, yet still reassuringly rank); and Carlsberg (Danish, but not wishing to break with tradition, is still rank). There are of course plenty of imported drinks, but bear in mind that a Guinness will set you back the price of a small house in Dundee. Some readily embrace the high-earning, heavy-drinking and wild-partying ethos of the ex-pats in HK, others are far too fat to cope with the humidity, and resort to drinking lots of iced mocha at Starbucks in an attempt to stave off the drowsiness. Prices are stupid, but every bar has “happy hours” that conveniently run from 11am-7pm, i.e. until just when you’re drunk enough to sell your wife for a beer. As a result, the drunks tend to be on the wealthy side, and have that swagger about them that the city types have on the Friday evening commuter trains out of London. Steer clear of local markets when hammered!

Drink: A shoddy 2/10
Drunks: A too-hot-to-drink 4/10

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But how do I get served?


Blessed with a variety of excellent wines - from the sugary sweet white Tokaji to the dense, chewy Bull's Blood - and "wine bars" that serve the stuff in half pint tumblers ladelled out of soup canteens or from plastic jerry cans, you would think the locals would be hammered on a regular basis. It's just not the case, and mashed Magyars are much rarer than trashed tourists staggering around the Budapest streets.

Drink: Wine and beer - nothing to fear 8/10
Drunks: A sober 5/10

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The drunkest person I've ever seen in Hungary - Helen


With some of the worst beer, and highest prices, in Europe, Icelanders are not particularly well catered for in the booze department – stock up on duty free on the way in!

Like a ghost town during week-day evenings, Reykjavik is transformed into a sea of drunken, punchy youths come Friday and Saturday nights. With beer only becoming legal in the early 90’s, it seems that alcohol tolerance (something most Scots seem to be born with) is not a genetic trait amongst Icelanders (despite their proud claims to be of pure Viking descent!). Beer is some of the poorest in Europe, despite being some of the most expensive. If you’re looking for top-notch entertainment, try Nelly’s (especially the dance floor on the top floor).

Drink: An acidic lager hell 2/10
Drunks: A not quite the Faroes, but not far off 9/10

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Oh so quiet?


Guinness – you either love it or hate it. I’m a fan, after first properly drinking it on a Scotland trip to Dublin in 1999, mainly as it coats my stomach lining and avoids the indigestion caused by gassy lager. Of course, Guinness does come with it’s own price to pay, and the bill is usually settled by the hotel plumbing! Jameson Irish Whiskey is also pretty passable, for a blend (but it doesn’t taste of frazzles).

As for drunks, you’re in luck. Avoid stepping over the bodies of prone hens and stags in Temple Bar and head for the bars in the backstreets, where there is no shortage of old men in bad suits falling off bar stools. Typically, the drunkest person we encountered wasn’t a local, but a girl from Maryhill who had moved away!

Drink: A Guinness-sponsored 10/10
Drunks: A like-Maryhill, but friendlier 9/10

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Hat's amazing

DOTW Disclaimer:

This is a light-hearted look at the sort of alcohol-fuelled mayhem a Tartan Army footsoldier on foreign manoeuvures can expect to find himself in abroad. It is not intended to generalise or offer a stereotypical view, rather it is aimed to give a humorous composite view based on the evidence available. In no way does it mean to imply that the English can't hold their drink. Whatsoever.

Although no offence is intended, and I would implore anyone likely to be offended to simply stop reading, if you would like to object to anything contained on this page (or have any other comments), please email Paul on this link

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