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Newport and Costa Mesa ranked as O.C.'s ‘drunkest cities’

Are Newport Beach and Costa Mesa the drunkest cities in Orange County?

According to an article from last fall that’s now making the rounds on social media, the answer is yes.

The Sept. 28 article on RoadSnacks.net gives Newport and Costa Mesa the two highest rankings among Orange County cities on a list of the 100 “drunkest cities in California,” placing Newport Beach sixth and Costa Mesa at No. 11. Among O.C. cities, Huntington Beach also made the top 20, ranking 14th.

If you’re wondering, Santa Monica was No. 1 in the state.

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The article clarifies, however, that the dubious distinctions are “meant as infotainment.”

“Don’t freak out,” it says.

RoadSnacks says it came up with its rankings based on each city’s number of bars, pubs, wineries and liquor stores per capita. It counted drinking establishments within a short driving distance from each city, though it didn’t clarify the distance.

The rankings factored in divorce rates because “studies have indicated,” according to the article, “that when one or both partners in a marriage are alcoholics, that couple is three times more likely to divorce.”

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Finally, the rankings considered the number of drinking-related tweets coming from each city’s “general area,” including hashtags such as “drunk,” “party,” “beer,” “wine” and “cocktails.”

Newport Beach — population about 85,000 — had a 12.6% divorce rate and ranked fifth and 21st in California for number of bars and liquor stores per capita, respectively, RoadSnacks says.

Newport Beach has been working with bar owners on the Balboa Peninsula in the past year to improve relations between the businesses and nearby residents who have long taken issue with noise, trash, crime and other nuisances stemming from intoxicated people leaving bars late at night.

According to city statistics from 2015, 117 businesses on the peninsula had licenses to serve alcohol, an average of one Alcoholic Beverage Control license for every 95 residents. Citywide, the average was one license for every 189 residents.

Mayor Diane Dixon, who represents the peninsula area, declined to comment about the RoadSnacks story.

The article doesn’t specify any figures for Costa Mesa, other than its divorce rate of nearly 12%.

Staff writer Hannah Fry contributed to this report.


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