Although my memories of traveling round Europe are beginning to fade into a vague mixture of pleasant snapshots, some bits do remain very clear, notably how lovely Granada was. While I’d love to transform British cities to resemble it more closely by reducing the size of the roads, recreating the Alhambra, transferring the climate and so son, I realise that might present some practical difficulties. However, I think that copying their tradition of offering free tapas in bars is one that can be achieved and that would genuinely help deal with some of the problems people have with excessive drinking leading to anti-social behaviour in the UK.
In brief, how it works in Granada is that each time you buy a drink in most of the city’s bars you also get a snack with it – substantial enough that 3 or 4 drinks would probably get you equivalent food to a decent meal. Of course, drinks prices are higher to reflect this, but not substantially so and certainly not enough to make you feel that your aren’t getting a good deal.
This in itself makes it a Good Thing, but there are other significant benefits.Both by soaking up the alcohol and by slowing down the speed of drinking, it significantly reduces how drunk people get, while encouraging a more relaxed fashion of socialising.
Ultimately, of course, the main impetus behind Britons binge drinking is reducing inhibitions sufficiently to allow them to get laid, which no amount of free tapas can compete with. But I think it would all be much more civilised if it was accompanied by a few tasty snacks.