Pub crawl

A bar in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

A pub crawl (sometimes called a bar tour, bar crawl or bar-hopping) is the act of one or more people drinking in multiple pubs or bars in a single night, normally travelling by foot or public transport to each destination and occasionally by cycle.[1]


Many European cities have public pub crawls that act as social gatherings for the local expatriate communities and tourists. These crawls focus on the social aspect of meeting new friends and being introduced to new bars in a strange city.

In the UK, pub crawls are generally unstructured and spontaneous nights-out, in which the participants arrange to meet in a particular location and decide over drinks on 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.[2][3]

Santa-theme pub crawls

SantaCon in New York City, 2011, video
Main article: SantaCon

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.[4][5] The New York SantaCon is the largest, with an estimated 30,000 people participating in 2012.[6][7] Other events were much smaller and more subdued, with 30 participating in Spokane, Washington.[8]

In New York City, where it has taken place since 1997, it as 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."[9][10][11] 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.[12] Residents complained revelers vomited and urinated in the street and fought with each other.[13]

University of Queensland Mining & Metallurgy Association annual Pub Crawl in 2013

In London, the London Santa Pub Crawl has been held each December since 2004.[14] 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 will take place on Saturday 13 December 2014.[15]

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".[16] Santa-themed pub crawls also take place each December in the towns of Wollongong and Grafton, with proceeds donated to charity.[17][18][19][20] In 2015 local police announced cancellation of the Grafton event,[19] but was opposed by the mayor.[21]

Other pub crawls


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.[22]

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

A pub crawl held annually in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, attracted 4,718 participants on 14 June 2009.[23]


The Singapore Pub Crawl is the biggest pub crawl organiser in Asia running twice on weekends and public holidays. They also organise special themed pub crawls such at Australia Day, St' Patrick's Day, 4 July and Halloween. Famous for their collaboration with Nakd Water and supported by the local Health Promotion Board, they give out free water on the crawls to promote responsible drinking.


In Iceland, a "runtur" is a popular way of getting to know the bars and beers in the area during the celebration of Beer Day every year on March 1—many bars and nightclubs are open until 4:00 a.m.[24]


Typically pub crawls in Ireland happen in December, with sessions typically known as the twelve pubs of Christmas common in larger towns and cities. However these festive pub crawls have created a backlash in recent years, with certain bars (particularly in Limerick and Dublin) banning twelve pubs participants due to a predilection among some groups of revellers in engaging in challenges and dares such as swapping shoes or other items of clothes, pestering regular customers, or even stealing small items such as pint glasses or toilet paper rolls.


Paris Bar Crawl is the international pub crawl for locals, backpacker, and students who want to go beyond the standard tourist trails and discover the very best nightlife in Paris. You might be a Parisian or just a visitor here for the weekend. Maybe you live round the corner, in another city or even in another country.


Although Hungary has no traditional pub crawls of its own, the rather boisterous ex-pat community has introduced the idea and it has taken quite well. Now, it is traditional to see groups of expats or backpackers pub crawling through the 7th district of Budapest, the party district of the inner city. As several bars are located near each other, only short walks are needed to get around, and most of them can be seen in a night. The current pub crawls are centered around the famous ruin bars of Budapest, a kind of bar that is unique to the Hungarian capitol and a famous tourist attraction. You can find several companies and hostels running their own pub crawls through the city.[25]

North America

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.[26] The 2015 event resulted in 93 summonses and 11 arrests.[27] The 2016 LepreCont cost the City of Hoboken $110,000 in police overtime.[28] 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."[27]

Running A Tab Pub Run takes place monthly in San Antonio, Texas, and is hosted by WeRunSanAntonio.[29] 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.[30]

2008 Oshkosh Fall Pub Crawl

The City of Quebec starts its own pub crawl in 2012.[31] The routes take place in the Old Quebec, the historic part of the city. They run all year long for tourists and locals to enjoy.

In Montreal, Quebec, a new pub crawl got started during the summer of 2015.[32] They start from a walking distance of hostels and hotels in downtown Montreal. It is a great way to discover Montreal's Nightlife. It runs yearlong on Fridays and Saturdays.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, there is a yearly pub crawl on Saint Patrick's Day. In 2012 the pub crawl had more than 15,000 participants roughly 6000 more than the previous year which had 8987.[33]

In Louisville, Kentucky, the "Bambi Walk"[34] has been underway since the 1980s.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a zombie-themed pub crawl commenced in 2005 and had grown to over 30,000 participants in 2012.[35]

Great Britain

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.[36]

The film The World's End, featuring comedian Simon Pegg, depicts group of middle-aged British men on a lengthy, drunken pub crawl.

The Otley Run takes place annually in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

In Wales, the Tonypandy–Cardiff pub crawl is an annual event differing from most pub crawls in that it uses public transport. Participants travel one stop on the train, get off, go to the nearest pub for a drink, and repeat, concluding in Cardiff. The event has seen numbers rise each consecutive year, and has achieved cult status amongst its participants. The event has since spread to Melbourne, Australia, where the Sandringham train line is used.

In York, there is an annual charity event known as the Assize of Ale. It is based on the medieval Assize of Bread and Ale and led by the Guild of Scriveners and Sheriff and of the City.[37]

The Shoreditch Pub Crawl is an alternative pub crawl for locals, students or visitors who want to go beyond the standard tourist trails and discover the very best nightlife in Shoreditch.

See also


  1. Meghan Pescio (28 August 2013). "Livin' Local: Vegas Cycle Pub-–A Pedal Powered Pub Crawl". pinpoint publications. Pinpoint Publications Limited Liability Company. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
  2. Basque Government (ed.). "Poteo in Bilbao" (Comment to tourist route through traditional poteo areas in Bilbao). Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  3. Servicio Central de Publicaciones del Gobierno Vasco, ed. (December 2009). "The magic of Basque cuisine" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  4. Santora, Marc (13 December 2013). "Naughty or Nice? Not Everyone Is Jolly About SantaCon Coming to Town". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  5. "Pub-crawl Santas: Vancouver joins in the Christmas spirit with SantaCon 2013". The Province ( 2013-12-14. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  6. Gilbert, Jason O. (13 December 2013). "Bring Drunken Santas Under Control". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  7. McCabe, Lyndsay (22 November 2013). "NYPD Ask Bar Owners to Refuse to Serve Rowdy SantaCon Revelers". Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  8. Gillespie, Kaitlin (15 December 2013). "SantaCon Spokane a good night indeed". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  9. Parascandola, Rocco (23 November 2013). "NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly: SantaCon is a 'peaceful event' department supports". The Daily News. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  10. Chung, Jen (24 November 2013). "Ray Kelly Says NYPD Supports Santacon: 'It Makes New York New York'". Gothamist. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  11. Del Signore, John (12 December 2011). "It's Time For SantaCon To Stop". Gothamist. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  12. "Drunk Santas Terrorized City During Seasonal Rampage, Critics Say". DNAInfo New York. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  13. Tracy, Thomas (4 December 2013). "SantaCon organizers working with politicians, police to turn naughty event nice". The Daily News. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  16. Email M. Paulsen 11/11/12.
  17. Santas on pub crawl - Local News - News - General - Illawarra Mercury
  18. ANGELA THOMPSON (12 December 2009). "Christmas pub crawl sets record". Illawarra Mercury.
  19. 1 2 "Police shut down this year's Grafton Santa Crawl".
  20. "Grafton Santa Pub Crawl".
  21. "Mayor jumps on Grafton Santa Pub Crawl support sleigh".
  22. Adelaide University Engineering Society pub crawl stops city
  23. "Guinness World Records".
  24. Beer Day from
  25. "Pub Crawls in Hungary". AllNightCrash Pub Crawl Budapest.
  26. "15 Arrested, 2 Police Officers Injured During Hoboken's Annual St. Patty's Day Pub Crawl". CBS New York. 6 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  27. 1 2 Lam, Katherine (6 March 2016). "Hoboken police chief 'disturbed' by arrests, disturbances from St. Patrick's Day bar crawl". WPIX-11. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  28. Strunsky, Steve (4 March 2016). "St. Patrick's Day crawl Saturday to cost Hoboken $111K in police overtime". The Advance (New Jersey). Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  29. "We Run San Antonio – "Stay to the left and hurry back!"".
  30. "Run A Tab Pub RUn".
  31. "Quebec Pub Crawl - Home".
  32. "Pub Crawl Montreal".
  33. "Pub crawl goes on despite rain | Charlotte". 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  34. "Stuff Magazine".
  35. Mannix, Andy (2012-11-14). "Zombie Pub Crawl breaks world record". Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  36. "Ex-pats celebrate with pub crawl". One News. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  37. "Sheriff of York to test York's beers in traditional Assize of Ale". 13 August 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
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