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San Franciscans Suck Down the Booze and the Books

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“Literary wastrels” he calls them:

    The explanation for the mystery was right there, on either side of block-long Jack Kerouac Street in North Beach. At 6 a.m. Sunday, Vesuvio Cafe was open and serving liquor, as it is every day, while City Lights Bookstore wouldn’t open until 10 a.m.

    City Lights was locked up tight as the sun rose, but across the alley two middle-aged guys — one with a picturesque beard and beret — sat in the midst of Beat Generation bric-a-brac at the bar of Vesuvio getting tight on chemistry sets of shots, wine and beer.

    This scene on either side of Jack Kerouac Street could account for why San Franciscans spend an average of $744 on alcohol each year, while they spend only $266 on books.

    Our great bars, like Vesuvio and Gino & Carlo, are open 20 hours a day for carousers, while our bookstores aren’t open nearly as long for browsers.

    ….Despite the great disparity in per capita expenditures on books and booze, it came as a pleasant surprise to learn last week that San Francisco leads the nation in both categories [SF Chronicle]

This doesn’t surprise me any: last time I was there I read and drank a lot, it’s foggy and cold much of the time. Boston is also a town full of educated drunks.

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About Eric Olsen