Many European cities have public pub crawls that serve as social gatherings for local expatriates and tourists. They enable participants to meet new friends and become acquainted with new bars in a strange city.
In the UK, pub crawls are generally spontaneous nights out in which the participants arrange to meet somewhere and decide over drinks where to drink next. Structured routes with regular stops are rare. Most drinking sessions based around a special occasion such as a birthday or a leaving celebration will involve a pub-crawl, often with the group splitting up but agreeing on meeting at the next location. It is a common sight in UK towns to see several groups orbiting the various drinking locations with little apparent coherence or structure.
In the north of Spain, around the Basque Country, the tradition for groups of male friends crawling pubs and drinking a short glass of wine at each pub, and often singing traditional songs, is known as txikiteo or chiquiteo, and can be held at night or day. By the end of the 20th century, it was extended also to women, and when it involves a wider variety of drinks, it is more often called poteo.
Santa-theme pub crawls
The SantaCon pub crawl originated in San Francisco in 1994 and has since spread to 300 cities in 44 countries, including New York City. London, Vancouver, Belfast and Moscow. The New York SantaCon is the largest, with an estimated 30,000 people participating in 2012. Other events were much smaller and more subdued, with 30 participating in Spokane, Washington.
In New York City, where it has taken place since 1997, it has come under widespread criticism for rowdiness by participants, with drunken behavior that has disrupted parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and led to calls for the event to be ended and for participant misbehavior to be curbed. Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that despite “some rowdy actions by a small handful of people in the past,” SantaCon was “an event that we support. It’s what makes New York New York.” During the New York City SantaCon in 2012, participants “left a trail of trouble” through Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown Manhattan, the East Village and Williamsburg. Residents complained revelers vomited and urinated in the street and fought with each other.
In London, the London Santa Pub Crawl has been held each December since 2004. The event sees participants dress up as Santa Claus, and visit a selection of London pubs along a pre-planned route. From just 25 participants in its first year, the event now sees more than 300 Santas take to the streets to enjoy the festivities. Participants are asked to donate to support the event’s nominated charity, and more than £5,000 has been raised over the years for the British Red Cross and St Christopher’s Hospice. The 2014 London Santa Pub Crawl took place on Saturday 13 December 2014.
In Brisbane, Australia, the Christmas Pub Crawl runs each year on the first Saturday following the end of the school year in December. This event has been running annually since 1982 and is now “the world’s longest running pub crawl”. Santa-themed pub crawls also take place each December in the towns of Wollongong and Grafton, with proceeds donated to charity. In 2015 local police announced cancellation of the Grafton event, but were opposed by the mayor.
A pub crawl is run annually by The Adelaide University Engineering Society (AUES). The event attracts students from all over South Australia to as many as 34 local pubs and clubs. In 2015 the event had 6000 participants while 2014 and 2013 both had 5000 participants.
The Mining and Metallurgy Association (MAMA) at the University of Queensland have been awarded the Brisbane City Council (BCC) and University of Queensland Union (UQU) Award for Social Activities of the Year due to their well-known Pub Crawl.
The city of Antwerp has a tradition called “elfkroegentocht” or “eleven bars walk” where a company, often friends or work relatives, will celebrate by walking from one bar to the next and have a “bolleke” of De Koninck beer at each. The figure of 11 may refer to carnival festivities.
An annual St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, LepreCon, takes place in Hoboken, New Jersey. The 2016 event, held in the evening 5–6 March, degenerated into a violent brawl. Fifteen people were arrested and 35 hospitalized, including two police officers. The officers were injured when one of the participants was seeking to flee the scene. Hoboken police responded to 432 calls from service during the event and issued 54 tickets, mostly for public drinking. The 2015 event resulted in 93 summonses and 11 arrests. The 2016 LepreCont cost the City of Hoboken $110,000 in police overtime. Two hundred officers were deployed for the event. Hoboken’s police chief, Ken Ferrante, said he was “disturbed by the repeated behavior that is occurring on these types of themed events,” and said he “will not tolerate having any of our officers injured, for the purposes of a few to make a financial profit at the expense of our residents.”
Running A Tab Pub Run takes place monthly in San Antonio, Texas, and is hosted by WeRunSanAntonio. The original Running A Tab Pub Run covered 5 miles in downtown San Antonio. The starting point was the historic Sunset Station and finished at the Blue Star Brewery and Art Complex. The event is held in conjunction with San Antonio’s First Friday Art Walk. In 2009 the route was modified to accommodate the more than 500 participants every month. Running A Tab now consists of a 3-mile downtown loop and 5 bars/restaurants. A theme is selected every month and participants dress in costume in accordance with the theme. The event is free and open to the public.
Annually in London, thousands of New Zealanders take part in the Waitangi Day pub crawl, a crawl around the Circle Line on the London Underground. Starting at Paddington they work anti-clockwise around the line, usually ending at Westminster for a haka (traditional New Zealand challenge/dance) and then many continue on to the Temple Walkabout bar. While numbers vary depending on the weather, in 2008 there were reported to be around 12,000 people involved.
In Finland, Pub Crawls are a common student event, usually by the name of Appro. The best known Appro events attract students from all over the country: Hämeenkadun Appro in Tampere has roughly 10,000 participants every year, Kauppakadun Appro in Jyväskylä has c. 8000.
Often the participants of the event receive a jacket patch, which is then sowed onto the student boilersuits worn by many in the Appro events. Normally, the colour of the patch depends on how many drinks one has had during the pub crawl; for example, in Kauppakadun Appro, getting the golden patch requires 17 drinks from women and 19 drinks from men.
- Drinking culture
- List of public house topics
- Organ crawl
- Pub Golf
- Rail Ale Ramble
- The World’s End
- Zombie Pub Crawl
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- “Tampere on tänään Suomen haalariväen keskipiste – Kolme syytä, miksi Hämeenkadun Appro on kasvanut 10 000 opiskelijan härdelliksi”. www.aamulehti.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2019-02-24.
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