Bar Crawl

Two things I like – beer and maps.  Maps about booze are even better.

Having grown up in the Midwest – born and raised in Minnesota, with lots of family in Wisconsin, as well as living in Madison and Ann Arbor, it’s no surprise to me that people there like to drink.  It’s a part of the culture.  Now, we have some maps to prove it.

The blog floating sheep has some great maps of America’s beer belt.  First, the total number of bars in various locations across the US, based on Google maps’ directory.


Next, a point of reference – a map showing the relative popularity of bars to grocery stores – red indicates more bars than grocery stores:


Finally, putting Wisconsin’s culture on display, a map of how many Google Maps entries there are for bars, normalizing the data to show the relative popularity of them.


Unsurprisingly, we see all sorts of concentrations of bars that correlate with population density – namely, cities.  Wisconsin, however, is punching well above its weight.   That well-worn drinking culture shines through.  Southern cities, conversely, seem a little thing based on their populations – perhaps a holdover from dry counties and other temperance movements?

Either way, it’s a cool set of maps.

5 comments to Bar Crawl

  • Canaan

    I know in Va, and Dc most drinking establishments aren’t called bars, mainly b/c they have to serve food as well. So I think we’d see more if it all reference something like “tavern” or “pub”. Though it does prove a lot of things about wisconsin that my former wisconsinite roommate has related to me.

  • Alex Block

    Yeah, there’s certainly room for a language or dialect bias in these results, but Google’s search algorithms are pretty good at matching “bar” with “tavern” and the like. I randomly zoomed in on some place in North Carolina and did a Google Local search for “Bar” and the first hit was a place called “Salem Tavern.” Third hit: “Natty Greene’s Pub and Brewing.”

    Just speaking from experience, having lived in Wisconsin, drinking is just part of the culture there. I wouldn’t call it problematic as a whole (though there are clear issues with drinking and driving, but I tend to think that’s more of a transportation issue than a consumption issue myself), as many states have much higher alcoholism rates – but they also have a whole lot more people who don’t drink at all. In Wisconsin towns, there’s a neighborhood bar on just about every corner.

  • […] up in the past day or so looking at the occurrence of bars across the United States (hat tip to City Block and Floating […]

  • That is an awesome map. North Dakota has a lot of bars for a very small population.

  • […] DC’s lack of the ol’ neighborhood corner bar.  Having been born and raised in the boozy midwest, where the small, corner bar is an institution and people drink alcohol the way others drink water, […]

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