Drink

Alcohol is the most common vice of the century. The upper classes usually keep alcohol in their homes, and frequently imbibe at social functions or (for gentlemen) at clubs.

The middle classes pursue similar drinking habits to the aristocracy in clubs, and at social occasions such as at the theatre, restaurants and hotel bars.

The lower classes indulge in alcohol more frequently and commonly than those above, mainly because it is generally their only available entertainment is at the local public house or 'penny gaff'. Indeed, alcohol is often the main form of escape in Victorian Britain for the lower classes, as their own lives are so bad.

Women of all classes are as likely to drink as men. Amongst the upper and middle classes, alcoholism is just as common amongst women as men, although it is usually a very private affair. Lower class women are as likely to be seen drinking gin in public houses as are men.

Alcohol is commonly available to take away from general stores, food stores, and public houses (the "pub"). Clubs and hotels rarely sell alcohol to take away. Public houses and bars are theoretically regulated by licensing laws that dictate their opening hours. The legal times to sell alcohol from these premises are between 11:00 am and 11:00 pm. The law is rarely enforced and most establishments stay open for business long into the early hours of the morning. Clubs and hotels are considered private property and so are not subject to the licensing laws, and usually stay open as long as guests / members occupy the bar. In lower class areas, there is usually a pub at the end of every street or row of houses — these are often just converted houses that can only fit 10-20 customers. Pubs are often excellent sources of local rumor, as well as being unofficial recruiting offices for criminal activity. The barman at the local is usually well informed about the comings and goings of a neighborhood, so being on good terms with him can protect you and provide excellent gossip. Strangers beware!