Don't Crash Nashville's Boozy Party Bus Culture

No, we don't need more anti-alcohol laws—no matter how rowdy the bachelorette parties get.


Recently lawmakers in Duluth, Minn. rescinded a 100-year-old, Prohibition-era law locals had dubbed "the Footloose ordinance." That law prohibited establishments in Duluth that serve alcohol from allowing patrons to dance unless the business also obtained a separate dancing license, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported last month, ahead of a city council vote that repealed the measure unanimously.

What exactly were lawmakers thinking 100 years ago? A compendium of Duluth city ordinances, published in 1922, during the early years of Prohibition, reiterates that alcohol was verboten at dance halls and says dances involving "immodest swaying or moving of the pelvic portion of the body; and [including] the 'slow rag,' 'lovers two-step,' 'bunny hug,' 'turkey trot,' 'Texas Tommy,' [and] 'walk back'"—were engaged in by people of questionable morality.

Though the Duluth story has a golly-gee, quaint, Rockwellian feel, and recent reports indicate no one was ever charged under the ordinance, the fact the law was still on the books after more than 100 years is a reminder of the countless idiotic and pointless alcohol laws Americans must navigate every day. The last thing we need today are burdensome new alcohol laws.

Unfortunately, recent reports—including my own columns about other bad booze rules here, here, here, here, and here—suggest the number of new anti-alcohol laws may be on the rise. That's a shame. After all, many cities and states saw fit rightly to deregulate alcohol sales in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One city that appears to be going in the wrong direction is Nashville, where as of this month open-air, motorized, "woo-girl-filled, road-congesting party buses" may no longer allow patrons to possess open containers of alcohol on board, Eater Nashville reports.

"The consumption of beer, ale, wine, or other alcoholic beverages upon or within an unenclosed entertainment transportation vehicle is strictly prohibited," the ordinance declares of the buses, which host rolling private events such as bachelorette parties.

After the ordinance was proposed in October, Nashville party bus owners argued it would "cripple the $62 million industry" and warned it could be "a death sentence for their businesses."

"I wish people would understand that it's not a drunk fest party that the public thinks it is," Susan Pizzitola, owner of the Nashville Party Barge, said at the time, in remarks reported by Main Street Nashville. "My employees are all ABC certified, and we monitor the amount of alcohol that's brought on board, the amount of alcohol that's consumed, and we stop unnecessary behavior."

Nashville's party buses, which Eater dubs "'transpotainment' vehicles," made news in July when a 22-year-old patron was injured when he fell from his perch on a party bus's railing and hit his head on the pavement. The bus subsequently ran over his leg. The bus operator claims the patron who fell was involved in a "stunt." In audio from a 911 call made to report the man's injuries, a caller says he told the man who fell to get off the railing repeatedly before he fell.

Though the party buses (at least the ones that are still unenclosed) are seemingly grounded for now, the ordinance's sponsor introduced a bill that would allow them to operate again, under certain constraints. But it didn't have to be this way. Nashville's city council, which has targeted party buses for some time, likely could have dealt with the matter using different, more sensible, and far-less-intrusive means. For example, the Nashville ordinance doesn't prohibit passengers from being drunk, sitting on railings, or, say, failing to wear seatbelts. It just prohibits drinking alcohol. And, though the ordinance claims "consuming alcohol in an unenclosed vehicle in motion is inherently dangerous," that's likely news to operators of cruise ships, fishing charters, trains that feature open-air bars, and duck boats used to transport numerous World Series and Super Bowl championship teams during parades in Boston.

Nashville's crackdown on party buses is just the latest example of a growing anti-alcohol backlash. Some lawmakers want to swing the pendulum back towards Prohibition. We shouldn't let them.

NEXT: Why Is It So Hard To Admit When You're Wrong?

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  1. The Duluth law wasn’t an alcohol law. It was a progressive anti-First Amendment law. Hopefully, they bring back a modified form of it requiring people to show a certificate that they received an experimental and appreciably ineffective medicine prior to being allowed entry.

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    2. The Duluth anti-dance law is Progressive? Did Bernie's ideological predecessors say: "Nobody needs 23 types of dances?"

      Damn! They'd shit their Trotsky Trotters if they heard "The Wicked" Wilson Pickett sing "Land of 1000 Dances"

  2. Today is what is always one of my favorite sporting events of the entire year: the Army-Navy game.

    There's close to zero chance at all that our pathetic, feeble, addlepated so-called "president" is actually going to attend the game live, right? It's kind of a shame, because this is probably one of the only big football games in America he could go to without being serenaded with merciless booing and "Fuck Joe Biden" chants. It's also a shame our amazing young cadets and midshipmen don't have the sort of Commander-in-Chief that they (and America) deserve.

    1. The chant would be: “Fuck you, SIR!”

      1. Or "Let's Go Brandon!"

          1. Yes, but was there a idiot reporter who tried to blow the chant off as cheering one of the teams/players?

    2. If Biden attended the Army-Navy Game, the Army would change it's official song to "As The HoverRounds Go Marching Along" and the Navy would change it's official song to "Depends Aweigh!."

      The concessioners would offer Jello Pudding Pops, Boost in all flavors, Geritol, and "hair pie."

      And the man in the stands would be hawking: "Programs! Programs! Get your programs! You can't tell one brain-fart from another without a program!"

      1. Trump attended the World Series and got booed.

        1. As well they should boo too. I guess the players now call hitting the ball with their heads and jangling their brains "Trumping."

          (As you can probably surmise, I play no favorites. I don't even identify with the Libertarian Party, even though I still love the philosophical viewpoint.

          For right now, I guess a couple of labels I'll accept is a Young Curmudgeon, who says "Get off my lawn" even in a green-free toney urban apartment or a Georgia Satellite-ist who says: "Don't hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself!")

    3. Well, he didn't go to the game as I expected he wouldn't. And if he didn't make it this year he's obvious not going to make it next year, assuming that he's still alive at this time next year.

      By the way, Trump went to every single one during his four years. Because he loves America and he especially loves and respect those young men and wants to show that he gives a shit about them, unless the current sorry ass piece of garbage.

      1. Bone Spurs couldn't care less about the military or anyone else but himself for that matter.

  3. I will check it up to incompetence. But comments being broken on Baileys article is a bit ironic. Wonder if he forwarded that article to his fellow editors. Maybe a follow up on the election article.

    1. It happens often enough that I now believe it isn’t a glitch or accidental.

      Reason is comparing hits/ad revenue on articles without comments vs those with. The commentariat is critical of them and they don’t like it.

      1. There’s no doubt in mind that most of the fugazii libertarian Reason contributors would love to get rid of the comments entirely, but if they do that they’ll probably lose well over half their site hits. And some of the big comment threads are so big because the myriad of Reason staff sockpuppets are in there responding. The reason why this particular weekend thread is so small is because the sockpuppets are taking the day off.

        1. The day Reason axes the comments is the day I never come back, and I'm sure that I'm not alone in that thinking.

          The only question is -- do they still even care or will they just shovel more billionaire money into the firepit?

  4. "What exactly were lawmakers thinking 100 years ago? A compendium of Duluth city ordinances, published in 1922, during the early years of Prohibition, reiterates that alcohol was verboten at dance halls and says dances involving "immodest swaying or moving of the pelvic portion of the body; and [including] the 'slow rag,' 'lovers two-step,' 'bunny hug,' 'turkey trot,' 'Texas Tommy,' [and] 'walk back'"—were engaged in by people of questionable morality."

    There were at least two factors at work.

    1) Auto eroticism was unthinkable and insane, so prostitution and things it were more acceptable.

    2) Taxi dance establishments were prolific.

    Here's a brief history.

    "A taxi dance hall is a type of dance hall where dancers, usually young women, called taxi dancers are paid to dance with usually male patrons. The owners of a taxi dance hall provide music and a dance floor for their patrons and taxi dancers.[1] In the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, when taxi dancing was at its peak, patrons of taxi dance halls would typically buy dance tickets for ten cents each.[2][3] When they presented a ticket to a taxi dancer, she would dance with them for the length of a single song.[4] Taxi dancers earned a commission on every dance ticket that they collected.[5] . . . .

    By 1925, the taxi dance halls were coming under attack by reform movements that insisted on licensing, police supervision, and succeeded in closing down some taxi dance halls for lewd behavior. After World War II the popularity of taxi dance halls began to diminish. In the 1930s, 50 cities had taxi dance halls, but by 1954 that number dropped to just 6 cities.

    These places surely became a front for prostitution. My understanding is that before sex education, people thought auto erotic behavior was completely insane. Of course people did it, but they would generally restrain themselves from doing it to themselves. Also, remember, people got married right out of high school back then. You were expected not to have sex before marriage--but that didn't mean you were supposed to wait to have sex until you were 27. It meant that you were supposed to get married right out of high school.

    If you weren't married, you went to a prostitute, and prostitutes were much more prolific than they are today. There were brothels all over the place. So, anyway, yeah, after World War II, they cracked down on taxi dance halls, where you could pay to dance with the girls, and if you were willing to pay a extra for more, there was a good chance you could get more. Sometimes, the dancers were especially attractive, and if you wanted more, she'd direct you to a room in the back, where there were other girls in the back did more.

    Saying that these kinds of things disappeared because millennials are a bunch of wankers is probably unfair. If men of the 1920s didn't think wacking it was completely insane and they had access to online pr0n the way millennials do, they probably would have been wanking it, too. Likewise, if millennials believed that there was no alternative to having a woman present IRL, their attitudes about rape victims "asking for it" because of the way she was dressed, etc. would probably resemble the state of society in 1920s. From a hundred years ago to the 1950s, certainly, not even the religious fundamentalists expected guys in their 20s to be abstinent.

    They just expected them to marry young--either that or they were gay or they were going to hookers.

  5. “…we stop unnecessary behavior."

    So only “necessary” behavior is permitted on her party bus? That doesn’t sound like very much fun.

    1. There is a party in her bus but not everyone is coming.

    2. Everything not forbidden is mandatory.

    3. What is this a party bus or a mini-Borg Cube?

  6. How refreshing.

    REPORTER: "Does the president acknowledge that inflation is more entrenched and not transitory?"

    PSAKI: "Doesn't really matter what you call it"

    A reporter asks why “more and more Americans” are saying the economy is on the wrong track.

    Psaki: “People’s psychology on the economy, on how they’re experiencing things in the country right now, is related to Covid.”

    “White House officials say they have no plans to shift Mr. Biden’s messaging on economic issues, even as poll after poll shows his approval ratings in decline and voter worry over inflation swamping all other views of the economy.”

    Biden and democrats count on Americans being stupid. Sadly they are right with democrats.

    1. Biden was going to squash Covid in the first 100 days though.

      1. Who would ever believe brainwashed Republicans would rather die than mask, distance and vax? Although Trump was proud of his poorly educated. Nature tells about thinning the herd and it seems to apply to Trumpers.

    2. Aren’t you glad that the adults are back in charge and we don’t have a president who lies to us?

      1. I really hope that's sarcasm.

        1. It is. That was the point

        2. What difference, at this point, does it make?

          1. Can we at least agree that she would be so much worse than Biden?

    3. It’s Not Happening
      It’s Russian Disinfo
      It’s Happening But Doesn’t Matter <- YOU ARE HERE
      It Matters But Not Very Much
      iT's g0od fOR y0u
      This is Old News
      Shut Up Racist

  7. Only necessary behavior is permitted on her party bus.

  8. A progressive is someone who is worried that somewhere, somehow, someone might be having fun.

    1. Correction: a progressive is someone who is worried that somewhere, somehow, someone might be having fun without having been heavily taxed for the privilege.

      1. Correction correction: a progressive is someone who is worried that somewhere, somehow, someone might be having heteronormative cisnormative non-anti-racist fun.

  9. Video shows Pennsylvania election officials discussing hiding negative election evidence.

    The recording shows two men identified by a source close to the matter as Delaware County election official James Ziegelhoffer and Delaware County lawyer Tom Gallagher.

    The video captures the duo flipping through a box marked November 2020 “return sheets,” with the individual identified to The Federalist as Gallagher saying: “When we Xerox these return sheets there are notes on these return sheets and we are going to have to cover them over with paper. Somebody wrote on there ‘this is an outrageous example.”

    The man identified by sources as Ziegelhoffer, whom county records show held the position of “Judge of Election” for the Western Precinct in the Media Borough, is heard on the recording saying, “So, like, any derogatory or whatever.”

    “Right,” the tape records the apparently more senior election official responding, then adding that “most of the stuff is written on the back so we’re alright.”

    1. Why the hell is reason autoclosing tags on every paragraph.

  10. Thank goodness the Nashville city council has taken it upon themselves to "do something."

    If an SUV can go on a killing rampage in an unfortunate accident, then there's no telling what kind if mayhem a full sized, booze-guzzling bus can inflict. Common sense automotive laws.

  11. But can I smoke weed on the bus?

    1. Sure, offer those girls your joint.

    2. As long as you pass it around. 🙂

      The weed on the bus goes round and round...

      1. "Don't Bogart That Joint, Muh Friend! Pass it over to me!"

  12. A pandemic of endemic idiocy.

  13. Just for the record:
    Mayor is John Cooper (D)
    40 member council, 35 from specific districts, 5 at large.
    (not so easy to dig out their parties, without actual effort)

  14. I'm not a fan of the Nashville ordinance, but the article's implicit suggestion of maybe requiring passengers to wear seatbelts would (if enforced at all strictly) hurt these open-air party buses approximately the same as banning alcohol.

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