Beer pong ban in Huntington Beach – Could San Diego be next?

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Photo from 'namestartswithj89' via Flikr

Photo from namestartswithj89 via Flickr

Beer pong is no longer just a game college kids play in their garages and at parties. It has jumped into the mainstream bar scene. Bars like 710 in PB host weekly beer pong championships for all to enjoy. Now, close your eyes and image that San Diego bans beer pong.

For people in Hunting Beach, it is not just in their imagination; it’s reality. The city passed a new regulation that bans beer pong and any other drinking games from being played in new downtown businesses and establishments applying to renew their entertainment licenses.

San Diego could very well be next. The city has not been shy about another booze ban – San Diego’s beaches have been alcohol free since November of 2008.

You may recall the “floatopia” event from last summer that exposed a loophole in the beach booze ban. The sanction allows anyone to have an open container of alcohol as long as their toes are not touching the sand. Last September, a “floatopia” was created by thousands of beach goers forming groups of floating rafts, inner tubes and air mattresses in Mission Bay. They made sure to stay a few feet away from the beach to obey the ban.

Locals are still allowed to drink and play as much as they want in the nearby bars and restaurants along the boardwalk but for how much longer?

In Huntington Beach, which participated in the 2008 World Series of Beer Pong, the game is now banned. In addition, bars are now forced to close at midnight instead of 2 a.m., all in an effort to curb the city’s reputation of excessive partying. The ban was inspired by the local Police Chief and city leaders who felt it was in the best interest of the community to ban games that encourage people to drink abundantly. They argued that the ban was a safety issue, and also that it would keep drunken patrons from wandering onto lawns and urinating or vomiting onto private property, which is not a rare occurrence for citizens.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what beer pong is, here’s the low-down. The point of beer pong is to make the opposing team drink all of the beer in their cups. The cups are set up on opposites sides of a table in a triangular form. Each player then tries to make the opposing team drink their beer by tossing a ping pong ball into their cups. The team that drinks all of their beer “loses.” Some may argue that they are, in fact, the winners of the game because the “loser” ends up drunk.

Pacific Beach has long be known as a party town, and if revelers continue to take advantage of the beach booze ban loophole, there could be outcries for reform. Last year people became upset with the trash left behind after “inner tube-palooza.”  Environmental organizations argued that the cardboard, plastic and aluminum left in the water could have effects on the ecology of the area. Law enforcement did hand out some citations for public drunkenness but overall they felt that the ban was doing well and paying off.

Taking that into consideration could potentially diminish any arguments for a ban on drinking games in San Diego. Any thoughts on bringing a alcohol game ban to San Diego would also depend on the effects it takes on Huntington Beach. Tourism and the local economy could be affected if people decide they do not want a city to tell them what they can and can not do. This summer, San Diegans will likely continue to try and float pass the booze ban again before that loophole gets patched up.

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