Drinking on the Beach in San Diego? Expect a Ticket!

It’s official – you aren’t any longer able to drink beer or alcohol on the beaches of San Diego, and it’s all due to the activities of mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer.

As expected, this kind of citywide ban has people on both sides of the fence feeling pretty passionate about the changes.


On the one hand, you have people that were absolutely sick and tired of having their family barbecues and beach excursions ruined by drunken fools overjoyed at the changes. On the other, you have a whole small army of young people – and no small amount of tourists – upset that they aren’t going to be able to enjoy a beer or two while visiting some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.

To say that this change has been divisive is the understatement of the century. If you’d like to hear arguments from both sides (as well as the impact that it’s had already), you’re going to want to check out this quick guide.

“It was the right thing for San Diego”

As a city councilman, Kevin Faulconer was the major “point man” behind the citywide ban on all alcohol – both sold at the beach as well as brought by individuals from home – at all of the San Diego beaches.

Even though the rest of the city council (for the most part) agreed with Faulconer and his new measure – or else it wouldn’t have passed – the general public wasn’t quite as one-sided in its praise for the decision. However, it’s impossible to argue that this kind of change was unprecedented by any stretch of the imagination.

For quite a while now, San Diego’s beaches have been some of the select few that actually allowed alcohol to be consumed on them throughout California. A number of beach communities up and down the Pacific coast began banning alcohol at their beaches in the early 1970s, and San Diego was one of the few open holdouts.

On the flip side (there is always a flip side), San Diego citizens actively rejected a similarly proposed ban in 2008, just seven short years ago. That bill was also proposed by Faulconer, and even though he was defeated he actively rallied his supporters and influenced his fellow council people to propose the bill once again – this time passing it.

“It’s a great idea!”

There are certainly quite a few people in San Diego that are more than happy with this proposal, especially those with young families that have complained – almost nonstop for a handful of years now – about their family excursions to the beach being interrupted by drunken nonsense of fellow beachgoers.

There’s also been environmental activists that have complained about the rising level of broken glass and empty bottles strewn about San Diego beaches, as well as the risks that these kinds of objects pose to the wildlife and vegetation so critical in keeping San Diego beaches so attractive.

Those in support of this particular change have also pointed to the Labor Day melee that broke out last year on the beach, requiring police in riot gear to show up and pepper spray proud goers to get things under control. However, the ban does not apply to the expensive restaurants on the beach, so there does appear to be a double standard for those who can afford to drink on the beach and those who can afford to drink at the bar across from the beach.

It’s this kind of nonsense that allowed Faulconer to pass this bill without too terribly much opposition at the city council.

“I won’t be headed to the beach as much any longer”

At the same time, you have quite a few people – many in the local government – that aren’t exactly overjoyed with the new changes.

Katie Keach (a member of the Pacific Beach town Council who disagreed with the new changes) argued that Faulconer was only making these moves as a political cover for his upcoming mayoral ambitions. On top of that, you have quite a few young (and those not so young) people in the community – including tourists – that are headed to the beach a lot less than they used to.

It’s impossible to tell exactly how much of an impact this is going to have on San Diego and its economy, but it shouldn’t be all that long until we are able to notice a change and dip in the businesses, bars, and restaurants that used to serve the beach area communities.