Friends of your average brown bag. Photo via Flickr
It’s spring, meaning our digits will no longer freeze over while clutching a brew in the great outdoors. Yet this begs an important question: Which method of outdoor drinking is fundamentally better: brown bagging or sitting on a terrasse?
To determine which is best, the pros and cons will be weighed against seven important categories: affordability, quality of drinking, sociability, mobility, ambience, possibility for adventure and benefit to one’s community.
1. Affordability: Tall boys procured at the dep are more affordable than ordering pints at a drinking establishment, but a legal drinking space can allow for the purchase of beer in bulk in a more convenient manner, such as pitchers or two-for-one specials. Another benefit of brown bagging is the ability to purchase large quantities of beer for home use, and only taking the required number of beers when you go out. Winner: brown bag
2. Quality of drinking: Unless there’s a mixologist sitting on an adjacent park bench, the best cocktail you’ll likely be able to produce while brown bagging is a brass monkey (also known as the hobomimosa in some regions) or Skittlebraü. I guess one could whip up something at home and pour it in a Nalgene, but no one ever does. Winner: terrasse
3. Sociability: In the eyes of many, brown baggers are seen as scofflaws, usually because they’re caught in the act in midday. Terrasses offer greater opportunity to meet new people, since your first impression on being engaged by a stranger in a place of business is not the same as it is in a public space. On the other hand, terrasses offer limited seats, making brown bagging better suited to larger groups. Winner: draw
4. Mobility: Brown bagging offers the opportunity to walk around and not feel confined to a spot, but you’re also limited in where you can go because in theory you’re not supposed to be able to walk down a busy street with a beer in hand. Terrasses are everywhere, but once you’ve found an ideal spot, there’s little incentive to get up and move. Winner: brown bag
5. Ambience: The are some terrasses with wonderful views located on bustling avenues brown baggers probably won’t tread, but parks offer a certain spaciousness that can be quite relaxing. Also, terrasses can offer other amenities like comfortable seating, bug-repelling lights and awnings or umbrellas for when it rains. Winner: terrasse
6. Possibility for adventure: Because there is simply a large section of the population unwilling to brown bag it, the chances of getting an eclectic gang together for some mischief are greater on a terrasse. Then again, brown baggers are inherently committed to an adventurous lifestyle, and public spaces are where all the city’s best weirdos can be found. Winner: brown bag
7. Benefit to one’s community: One would have to think deps and the SAQ do greater business during the winter months, so it is important to support local watering holes and restos that depend on more customers when the terrasse season arrives. Winner: terrasse
Conclusion: The right arrangement for you — brown bag or terrasse — obviously depends on the circumstances of your drinking. In terms of pure drinking, brown bagging is the most cost-effective way of getting blitzed during the warm months. Winner: brown bag ■
Today is the last day to weigh in on your favourite terrasse in the city in our #votebestofmtl Instagram contest, so shoot something, tag us in your pics and add our hashtag!