The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Meannedering: Despite Alcohol’s Abundance, Only Americans Binge Drink

3 min read

Speaking from experience, I can tell you the best kind of glass to drink out of is a fish bowl (but don’t trying this one at home, your betta might not like it).

However, you might leave Parisian bars with empty pockets should you go venturing for said beverage in any tourist hot spots.  A view of the Eiffel Tower would be nice, but is it really worth a 14 euro cocktail?  Obviously not, unless you have a man at the end of the bar buying your drinks for you.

After about a month of succumbing to crowded bars in postcard settings, I learned a little trick: when in Paris, drink as the students drink.

Now you’re probably wondering, why wouldn’t I just go to the long-time student neighborhood, Saint Michel, to meet friends for drinks on the weekends?  Well, Saint Michel is a ton of fun, but even on the weekdays the cobblestone street, Rue de la Huchette, is packed.  I’m talking about tourists, all wearing “Je t’aime Paris” shirts, passing through the crowds with their Eiffel Tower key chains swaying in the wind.

Not exactly inviting, especially with outdoor menus boasting happy hour prices of 10 euros.  Next, please.

Once you get out of this street (if you ever get out), you’re across the Seine from Notre Dame.  Tourism explained.  There is a nice bar on that street with a good happy hour (and marshmallow drink garnishes!) called Shywawa.  That isn’t a typo.  Go there, especially if you like overplayed, at least five-year old American music and European soccer games.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the fish bowl.  Get out of Saint Michel and go to Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest neighborhoods of Paris.

Mouffetard is a well-known hub for students thirsty and exhausted after classes.  Pedestrians dominate the street, lined with strings of lights, as police cars slowly drive through.  Crepe stands are abundant, with (sometimes creepy) crepe makers waiting for bar crawlers to get their Nutella fix for the evening.

If you wanted, you could spend all night going to different bars all on the same street.  Last Thursday, we decided to stick to one—The Student Bar.

Unfortunately, we arrived just past happy hour.  Drinks were still relatively cheap, so a mojito royal quickly graced my presence, unsurprisingly with a marshmallow as a garnish.  After our first drinks, we watched the waiter place a huge bowl of cocktail on the table across from us.  Not kidding.  It was a fishbowl with straws and a stem.

Not wanting to be left out, we ordered one to share.  It was the same price as getting individual drinks, but so much cooler.  Our “Aquarium” arrived at our table with six straws, three marshmallow skewers (who started this trend?!), and jealous eyes wandering toward our table.

We finished the drink in about the same amount of time it took the bartender to make it.  Skills?  I’d say so.

What’s the moral of the story?  Until you find your mystery man waiting for you at the end of the bar waiting to buy you a 22 euro cocktail at Ladurée, hang out with people your own age with lower incomes.  But good luck getting home before the metro closes…and keep in mind that Parisians associate drunkenness with Americans.  Don’t be a stereotype.

Read more about Anne’s adventures on her blog:
Yes, your life is now complete.