The 10 Drunkest Cities In California For 2024

We used Saturday Night Science to determine the drunkest cities in California.

Is there anything wrong with being called the drunkest city in your state?

Especially in California, which is right in the middle in the nation in terms of the amount of beer and spirits every year. So someone has to pick up the slack, right? And boy do these cities below.

How do you decide how much a place drinks? By the number of available places to buy booze, and by how often people are talking about drinking, that’s how.

Plus, we thought why not add in a stereotype? Studies have indicated that when one or both partners in a marriage are alcoholics, that couple is three times more likely to divorce.

So, hold our beers and watch this. After analyzing all cities with a decent amount of people in them, we came up with this list as The Drunkest Cities in California:

For more reading on California, check out:

What drunken criteria did we use?

  • Number of bars and pubs per capita
  • Number of wineries per capita
  • Number of liquor stores per capita
  • Each city’s drunk related tweets within the last week
  • Each city’s divorce rate

For geo-located tweets, we measured the following raw number of tweets that came from within a city’s general area: #Drunk, #Party, #Beer, #Wine and #Cocktails

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

1. Santa Monica

Santa Monica, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Mike Gonzalez | CC BY-SA 3.0

Population: 90,008
Divorce rate: 12.6%
Bars per capita: 1st in CA
Liquor stores per capita: 4th

Wow, Santa Monica, you are tore up from the floor up! Based on the data and number of raw tweets coming from your location, per capita, it sounds like the people there are all having a really, really good time.

There are more bars per capita in Santa Monica than anywhere else in the state. And the divorce rate is the 7th highest in California, too. That’s a sign that lots and lots of people here are drinking quite often.

And, there are tons of liquor stores in the area, too. If you’ve ever spent some time at the Santa Monica pier, you’d know that there are lots of drunk, homeless people everywhere. So it’s not just the residents’ of Santa Monica who are drinking lots and lots every night.

It wasn’t even close. It was Santa Monica by a landslide and then everyone else below.

2. Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Caroline Culler | CC BY-SA 4.0

Population: 88,572
Divorce rate: 11%
Bars per capita: 3rd in CA
Liquor stores per capita: 5th

Santa Barbara: Home of the biggest party school in California. When you’ve got lower State Street bar crawls and the sheer number of parties in the Isla Vista area next door, it’s a recipe for drunken debauchery.

For a college town, the divorce rate is actually really high in Santa Barbara: One in 10 people has already made it to splitsville.

In terms of drunk Tweets per capita, Santa Barbara was really high up there. This was a real gem:

“if you have ever been drunk on state street or woke up in the bushes after falling down and passing out #SantaBarbara”

3. Napa

Napa, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Oleg Alexandrov | CC BY-SA 4.0

Population: 77,121
Divorce rate: 12%
Bars per capita: 6th
Wineries per capita: 1st
Liquor stores per capita: 3rd

There are somewhere between 400 and 600 wineries and tasting rooms in the greater Napa Valley region. In addition, there are lot of other bars and liquor stores, too.

Essentially, for most people, the only reason you’re in Napa is to make booze or drink booze. Period.

The divorce rate is really high here as well. Perhaps drinking wine straight out of the bottle is a big negative for relationships.

Twitter had lots and lots to say about it, too. Most were from people talking about wine crawls or reminiscing about drinking wine here. This one is pretty good:

“I like heading to Napa but mom’s already drunk and it hasn’t barely even started”

4. Pasadena

Pasadena, CA

Source: Public domain

Population: 137,316
Divorce rate: 9.4%
Bars per capita: 6th in CA
Liquor stores per capita: 12th

Colorado Boulevard on a Friday night in Pasadena is the most jam packed, gotta-be-seen, dress-up-nice event in the entire region. The only difference between Pasadena and some of the trendier places in the West LA area are the people are usually drunker in Pasadena, and Pasadena partiers aren’t as snobby as the LA brats, either.

The divorce rate in Pasadena is actually really low in comparison to the other cities on this list. Bravo to you guys for making it work.’ Perhaps drinking is the glue in your relationship.

5. Sacramento

Sacramento, CA

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL

Population: 467,467
Divorce rate: 11.8%
Bars per capita: 9th
Liquor stores per capita: 13th

The state capitol sure does like to party, that’s for sure. There are just a ton of places, per capita, to drink and get hammered here. Twitter had lots of drunk related messages coming from Sacramento, including this goodie:

“I think everyone in Sacramento is drunk right now”

If you’re one of the 12% of folks in Sacramento who is divorced, buck up and have a shot. You need it.

6. Newport Beach

Newport Beach, CA

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 4.0

Population: 85,233
Divorce rate: 12.6%
Bars per capita: 5th in CA
Liquor stores per capita: 21st

Holy Matrimony, Newport Beach.. It says Till death do us part’ for a reason, but your divorce rate is through the roof!

No wonder you guys are having trouble getting your marriages in tact. There are too many distractions in the area to keep you focused on one another.

If you’re in NB and newly single, stop moping and get back out there into the bar scene. After all, that’s probably where you met your spouse in the first place.

7. Oakland

Oakland, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Basil D Soufi | CC BY-SA 3.0

Population: 392,890
Divorce rate: 10.5%
Bars per capita: 8th in CA
Liquor stores per capita: 8th

As the San Francisco side of the bay area continues to become overpriced and, frankly, less stimulating as a result, the cool, young, and frankly, more fun people have moved to the Oakland side. And they’re burning the candles at both ends here, you can be sure of that.

There are just a ton of liquor stores, bars and breweries in the area, and it seems it’s the teenagers to the homeless that are boozing it up big time here. Have you ever attended a Raiders game? Drunk central.

I once saw two Raiders fans – both wearing Napoleon Kaufman jerseys – punching one another in the bathroom at a Raiders game. They went back in line to get more beer after it was broken up.

8. Livermore

Livermore, CA

Source: Wikipedia User Sanfranman59 | GFDL

Population: 81,086
Divorce rate: 11%
Bars per capita: 15th
Liquor stores per capita: 18th

Warning. Dad joke coming.

What does a liver in Livermore need more of? A break.

This bay area suburb is relatively under the radar, but you can bet the folks here like to mix it up in the bar scene quite often. With a divorce rate that high, you could assume there are lots of bleary eyed, vulnerable people stumbling around just about any night of the week.

9. San Mateo

San Mateo, CA

Source: Public domain

Population: 97,332
Divorce rate: 10.3%
Bars per capita: 13th in CA
Liquor stores per capita: 16th

It looks to be pretty neck and neck when it comes to which part of California is drunker – the bay area or the L.A. area. San Mateo, another city near San Francisco, has a ton of places to get drunk or buy booze.

It also seems as if San Mateo has more places to get ramen than anywhere else in the state, too. Are there any ramen bars? Ramen martinis anyone?

10. El Cajon

El Cajon, CA

Source: Wikipedia User RightCowLeftCoast | CC BY 3.0

Population: 99,680
Divorce rate: 11.8%
Liquor stores per capita: 6th in CA
Bars per capita: 28th

Finally, we see a San Diego area city on this list. We’re pretty sure that there are tons of people in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego getting plowed every night. But remember, we’re measuring per capita bars, here people. El Cajon has more drunk related things to do, per person.

And, the fact is there are hundreds of thousands of people in San Diego and Los Angeles who are content with a night on the couch to obsess over their Fantasy line ups.

How boring.

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in California where there are a high number of divorced people, bars and liquor stores, and where people are talking about drinking the most often, this is an accurate list.

And while you might think the larger cities and college towns are more drunk’ than these places, when you measure the percentage of people who have access to alcohol, and who are separated, it makes sense. Cause, the data never lies, does it? And by the way, Hemet has the highest divorce rate in the state.

For more reading on California, check out:

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

15 thoughts on “The 10 Drunkest Cities In California For 2024

  1. The fact Seal Beach was left off this list. We were all leaving the bar right now ro kick some ass, but alas it’s SB and nobody is sober enough to drive

  2. A picture of The Good Time Tavern in Livermore, seriously? You forgot to mention our beautiful wineries and thriving downtown.

    1. Or the air show where they had three airplanes flying and everything else was wine-based? And how about the dogtoberfest dog show at larpd where there you can get stinking drunk on wine?

    2. Or the air show where they had three airplanes flying and everything else was wine-based? And how about the dogtoberfest dog show at larpd where there you can get stinking drunk on wine? This evening I followed a drunk and he finally ended up at the lucky shopping center off Portola and crashed into a parked car and then passed out in the front seat. I called the cops and 20 minutes later he was arrested.

  3. You also have to realize that San Diego State is in El Cajon which probably makes them deserving to be higher

    1. Mike –
      Were you sober in El Cajon?
      Why I ask is that SDSU is closer to the Hillcrest area of San Diego than El Cajon in the back country.
      When the fleet is in San Diego it is one of the most drunken cities in the country.
      Bud Tapman –
      Compton #92 and South Gate #100? Please!
      Obviously, you have not been in the streets of said burgs.

  4. How did Hermosa Beach not make it to the top 100 list? It has the well-deserved reputation of being the drunkest town in Southern California’s South Bay coastal area. It must have escaped the list because of its small overall population, even though it probably has the highest number of drunks per capita in the South Bay.

    1. Hermosa Beach wins the drunkest city in not only California but the United Sates hands down (ok, maybe a tie with New Orleans). It didn’t make the list because the reviewer they sent to do this article is still in the Hermosa Beach jail for not just being drunk in public (as most visitors here are) but urinating on Pier Avenue and unable to post his bail because he left his wallet and cell phone at American Junkie. I’d bail him out but its happy hour now at 36 of our 62 bars.

  5. I am surprised Sacramento scored so low at 5th (LOL). Obviously the cops stay indoors on Friday and Saturday nights in Sacramento. I am sure Sacramento will score higher next time around or when the Kings open their new arena and continue losing. where does California rank among states after all of their increasingly tough laws on drinking and driving but not on driving without a license after losing it, driving but not understanding traffic signs because immigrants can’t read or understand the English language, and so forth? i know of people driving without licenses and the cops do not care even when they hit others and run. be prepared for more lawsuits, no justice for law biding citizens on the road, and excuses from the cops especially the highway patrol for not doing their jobs.

  6. There’s no way this list is accurate if Chico didn’t make it in the top 100.. Chico has so many bars, tons of liquor stores, and a few breweries..

  7. SDSU is not in El Cajon. It’s in the College area of San Diego. (College East and College West, according to the city’s official neighborhood map.) And it’s not clear whether the data set for this story included breweries (which aren’t bars or pubs..according to the ABC). Many drunkabilly wannabee bar owners are now opting to hire an experienced brewer, then just opening a “brewery” or “tasting room” in order to open up a bar much faster, using loopholes in state and local laws. #northparksmellslikepee

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