WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 15, 2013, 10:05 PM

Insight to why North Dakota has most bars in U.S. per capita

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota tops the list of most bars per capita in the United States.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - North Dakota tops the list of most bars per capita in the United States.

According to Census Data compiled by the Helena Independent Record, there is one bar for about every 1,500 residents. But there may be more to the numbers.

The 2011 Census found there are 422 bars in North Dakota. With a population under 700,000, that gives us the most per capita.

While our state has topped lists for binge drinking and teen drinking in the past, the rural demographics could also be at play here.

Heading out for drink after work or on the weekend is a popular pastime in towns of all sizes across the country. But with one bar per 1,500 people, North Dakota has the most per capita.

Jason Stein, Bar Manager: "Not surprising at all. There's not much else to do here."

Here in Davenport, the Supper Club and Lounge is the only local bar in town. So, it's more than just a place to sit down and have a beer, it's a community gathering place.

Stein: "It's kind of a centerpiece. There really isn't anything else to do in a town of like 200 people."

Bruce Schauer at the Wild Rice Grill and Bar agrees. He says they serve the community much more than just cold beverages.

Bruce Schauer, Bar Manager: "In rural communities, the local bar and grill is really the only place you can go to eat, and the food sales are usually about the same as the liquor sales."

So, while he isn't surprised by the statistic, he says it doesn't necessarily mean North Dakotans drink more than people in other states.

Schauer: "There are a lot of bars and grills, and I think they're just focusing more on the bar part."

The state coming in on the bottom of the list, Virginia. There are 125 bars in the entire state, for nearly 8 million people.