Vertical drinking is a term that’s come into use recently in Britain and Australia to refer to the practice of drinking standing up in a crowded public bar. It’s usually associated with binge drinking, as it inevitably involves consumption of alcohol without accompanying food, and often means people have nowhere to put their glass down, so they drink faster. Vertical drinking appears to have a longer history in New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary (2005), it is closely associated with the era of the 6 o’clock swill. When public bars were required by law to close at 6 o’clock (from 1917 to 1967 in New Zealand, and from 1916 to 1955 in NSW), they would become crammed leading up to closing time. It’s interesting that 6 o’clock swill existed on both sides of the Tasman, but vertical drinking is a later arrival in Australia. While the term might not have been common across cultures, the results would have been. Vertical drinkers very quickly become horizontal.
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