Monday, June 3, 2013

Lynchburg, Roanoke Last in U.S. in Bars Per Capita

Waterstone's bar in Lynchburg: One of the few, the proud ...
Here's a little piece of trivia you'll either love or hate:

Lynchburg is the driest city in the country and Roanoke is second according to a report from INFORUM (here). That's ranked by bars per capita in metro areas of the country--and that's the country, the whole United States of America and protectorates.

The ratings are from the Census Bureau and I could not access enough of the piece to determine how a "bar" was defined. Obviously, Roanoke has more than two places to drink booze (about 200,000 people in the Valley), but in Virginia, you have to serve food in what would otherwise be bars and they then become "restaurants."  Ultimately, this survey is probably meaningless, especially when compared to cities where a bar is any place that serves booze, but it's fun and it gets people stirred up to say, "I told you we were backwoods" or "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." 

Here's the bottom two:

2. Roanoke, Va. – One bar per 77,215 residents
1. Lynchburg, Va. – One bar per 84,724 residents

Now, as one who does not drink, this bothers me not. However, if I'm recruiting an industry to town, it might be something I'd keep away from discussing, preferring to talk about, say, the greenways and job opportunities for spouses in Lynchburg and Roanoke.


  1. I'm betting this is more a function of Virginia's requirement that places that serve alcohol sell a larger percentage of food, and are therefore restaurants, not bars.

    I say that because the population numbers would say that both Roanoke and Lynchburg one bar. That's clearly not true. I can name 10 places where you can sit and have a beer at a bar without thinking about it, but they're all restaurants. Think about the Pine Rook at the Hotel Roanoke. Great place that's certainly a bar, albeit upscale. But it's part of HR and I'm sure is not counted in the survey as a bar. Likewise I doubt Corned Beef, Frankie Rowlands, Beamers 25 and even Applebee's are being counted as bars. I wonder what they do consider a bar, if the averages say there are only one or two.

  2. This from Kristi Guill: "I found this this article to be quite interesting as a Lynchburg native and still resident. Shocking or surprising? No...but very interesting to be #1 in terms of the absolute lowest in the country. I always knew there was literally nothing to do here but being a non-drinker didn't realize there's not really anywhere to even get good & loaded. Ahhhh the good 'ole Bible Belt. Next time try and do a per capita study on churches. Got plenty of those to get drunk with religion...pick your poison....most everyone like the "Thomas Road Baptist Church aka L.U. shaken not stirred coctail" with it's Waco, TX Cult followers."