Drinking Schools

  • Peter Archard


‘Bottle gang’ and ‘drinking school’ are synonymous terms, respectively applied by American and British skid row inhabitants to group drinking. Rubington’s definition of a bottle gang is, for the most part, applicable to a drinking school:

…(the term) ‘bottle gang’ refers to the typical form of street drinking in which indigent unattached men engage. The men appear to be heavy drinkers by conventional standards and are usually referred to as alcoholics, or in slang terms as ‘bums’, ‘drunks’, or ‘winos’. Generally they meet on the street, pool meagre funds, send a member to a package store to buy an inexpensive bottle of fortified wine, share the bottle in some public place (e.g. alley, doorstep, park or street corner in rooming-house areas, urban slums, or Skid Row quarter) and separate once the bottle is emptied.1


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  1. 1.
    E. Rubington. The bottle gang, Q. J. Stud. Alc., 29 (1968), 943Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    H. M. Bahr. Skid Row: An Introduction to Disaffiliation, Oxford University Press, New York (1973)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Archard

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