Pub crawl

Pub crawl
A bar in the USA

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 walking or busing to each one between drinking.


Origin of the term

A picturesque pub in the United Kingdom

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term (including variations such as "gin crawl" and "beer crawl" and "bohemian death march") has been in use since the late 19th century.[citation needed]

The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English defines 'pub crawl' as both a noun and a verb, with the noun (dating from 1915) being defined as "a drinking session that moves from one licensed premises to the next, and so on", and the verb (1937) meaning "to move in a group from one drinking establishment to the next, drinking at each." The term is a combination of "pub (a public house, licensed for the sale of alcohol) and a less-and-less figurative sense of crawl".[1]


The city that holds the Guinness World Record for the largest pub crawl is Maryborough, Queensland, Australia (4718 people) for the World's Greatest Pub Crawl held in June 2009. The city has broken the record each year since it started the pub crawl, now known as the World's Greatest Pub Fest, in 2005.[citation needed]

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- or a simple night out- 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. Spontaneity is the essence of a UK pub-crawl, as is hefty alcohol consumption.

World's biggest pub crawl

The World's Greatest Pub Fest, held annually in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest pub crawl. The World's Greatest Pub Crawl, as it was then known, set the official record of 4,718 participants, on June 14, 2009.[2] Maryborough, a city of 26,000, three hours north of Brisbane, is home to 17 hotels. The World's Greatest Pub Crawl began in 2005 and has broken the Guinness World Record each year since then, although on occasions the record has been beaten between events. The World's Greatest Pub Fest, as it became in 2010, is held on the Sunday of the June Queen's Birthday long weekend. Charity is a major focus of the crawl, with proceeds of the 2010 blue-themed event going to prostate cancer causes. It has been presumed that bad weather may have prevented the city from re-breaking its record on June 13, 2010. Numbers will not be official for weeks or potentially months.

On October 9, 2010 London is attempting to break Maryborough's Guinness World Record with an event called World Record Pub Crawl 2010. Organisers are expecting 5,000+ people.

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 counter-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.[3]

The largest student bar crawl in the world, known as 'Seven Legged,' is held each year in Nottingham, England. In 2009, 6,750 students took part. The University of Nottingham's fundraising and events organization team, Karnival, hosts the event each autumn. The event requires a team of seven, six of these team members are tied together in a similar fashion to a three legged race at school. The seventh member acts as the 'runner' buying the teams drinks at each of the seven bars which they attend. All teams must have their own fancy dress code. At the end of the evening the teams end up in a final destination. In 2009 these clubs were Oceana, Ocean and Rock City. The entire event raised £50,000 for Karnival to be distributed to local Nottingham charities.[citation needed]

The Adelaide University Engineering Society (AUES) holds an annual pub crawl attracting students from all over South Australia. In March 2011, they sold 3000 "PlasterChef" T-shirts, making it the largest known pub crawl in the world where all participants wear the same shirt.[citation needed]

In 2010, The Twelve Bars of Christmas (TBOX) in Chicago hosted 10,000 patrons, becoming the biggest Christmas pub Crawl on record.[4]

Other notable pub crawls

Gator Stompin' takes place annually in Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida. This event, which occurs throughout midtown and downtown, has been a Gainesville tradition for over 29 years. The bar crawl consists of over 50 bars and includes multiple prizes that entrants can win and currently attempts to set the world record for the largest bar crawl in the world.[5]

2008 Oshkosh Fall Pub Crawl

Wisconsin is well known for its many pub crawls. Oshkosh holds two pub crawls (fall/spring) and its most recent crawl attracted over 3000 participants. In the greater Milwaukee area over 1,500 people attended the North Avenue Stumble in 2010 and the event doubled in 2011 with over 3,000 people. Also thousands of people have attended the Wolski's Pub Crawl, the Bay View Pub Crawl, and the Zombie Pub Crawls.[citation needed]

The Buffalo Bar Crawl is a biannual bar crawl event in Buffalo, NY drawing nearly 3,000 participants semiannually. Encompassing twenty bars in the downtown Buffalo area, a portion of proceeds from the event go to help beautifucation efforts and security enhancements for downtown Buffalo's entertainment district.[citation needed]

StayClassy, a San Diego-based Web site that helps charities raise money online, held its fifth annual charity pub crawl March 27, 2010. The event has been held in different areas of the city, most recently in Pacific Beach.[citation needed]

The Mad Hatter Pub Crawl in San Diego, CA (Pacific Beach to be exact) celebrated their 8th annual event on May 20, 2010. This event requires participants involved to wear crazy, fun hats. Along with a well planned crawl route, the Mad Hatter Pub Crawl always boasts numerous sponsors, prizes for the best hats, laynards for each participant, specials at each location, and a stop called the "energy stop surprise", which is a favorite with the hundreds of crawlers each year. Money is also raised for the charity of choice for each year. The Mad Hatter Pub Crawl's main organizer has moved to Richmond, Virgina, thus so has the crawl itself. More details at Pacific Beach

The Ghent Winter Bar Tour in Norfolk, Virginia takes place each year on the last Saturday in February and is the largest charitable pub crawl in the United States based on dollars raised. The annual event had nearly 1,250 participants on February 26, 2011 and raised $30,390 in one night for Edmarc Hospice for Children.[citation needed]

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.[6] Beacon NY also had a pub crawl,for the last 12 years. Last years attendance was estimitated at 5000.

The biggest Bar Golf pub crawl is known as "Bar Golf USA"[7] formally known as Boston Bar Golf), who’s popular has grown over the last five years. They host Pub Crawls all over the country, but their most popular crawl would be in Boston, Ma. They’re annual Boston Bar Crawl has had anywhere from 1000 to 1500 people.[citation needed]

Notable pub crawls in the UK include the Otley Run, Hillsborough Street, and the Mumbles. The circular underground train line in Glasgow allows for a variation on the pub-crawl known as the sub-crawl or "clockwork orange". This involves the purchase of an all day ticket for the subway and consuming a drink at the nearest bar to each of the fifteen stops on the route. This is referenced in the Iain Banks novel "Espedair Street"[citation needed]

A long standing Christmas pub crawl takes place in the town of Alsager on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border. School friends have now been attending the marathon session, beginning at 11am until 2am, for the past 9 years. The event, held on the last Friday before Christmas each year, owes its success to the comradery and idiocy of the participants and features a team based quiz session running throughout the day. Participants must be of legal drinking age and a yoth.[citation needed]

The Hunterdon County Bar Tour is an annual event held in the rolling hills of Hunterdon County, New Jersey in the United States. The Bar Tour was established in 1977. The Tour is held in the fall and is not generally a walking tour. The American Tavern Touring Association awarded the Tour its Charter. In recent years, the Tour has presented the Tavern of the Year award to Christie's (2006) and the Little York Tavern (2008). The Little York Tavern in Little York, New Jersey was awarded The "Friendliest Tavern in Hunterdon County" in 2009. The Hunterdon County Bar Tour is not the largest or most renown Bar Tour but it cited for its longevity.[citation needed]

Le Tour de Shores is an annual bar crawl held in St. Clair Shores, Michigan every summer, beginning in 2009. What makes the Tour unique is that it is actually a bike crawl - participants must go from bar to bar on bicycle., led by the King of the Shores.[citation needed]

The Twin Lakes Pub crawl of Twin Lakes Wisconsin is held every 3 years, 2011 being the next "crawl". Twin Lakes has a population of 5124 people but what's impressive is T.L. boasts 17 bars in the quaint southeasthern Wisconsin village!

Pub Crawl Shanghai started in April of 2010 and has run pub crawls every Thursday since. Their claim to fame is being the only weekly pub crawl in China, and in September they started running crawls on Thursdays and Saturdays. Regular events run at 40-60 people (bused around the city to popular hot spots) but holidays or special events have been known to reach over 200 crawlers. The crawl offers drink discounts, free shots, and an open bar to start the night before progressing to 2 other bars and ending at one of Shanghai's biggest clubs. [8]


The MADride Pub Crawl in Madrid, Spain was the first of its kind. Meeting at the famous landmark Oso y Madroño (bear and strawberry-tree sculpture) in the center of the city every night at 11PM, they take tourists and locals alike to discover the Madrid nightlife.

The Glasgow Subway "sub crawl" requires participants to drink from a pub near each of the 15 stations on the circular route. Two similar events are the Circle Line Pub Crawl involving London's Circle Line (attracting expatriate New Zealanders on Waitangi Day) and the Metro Pub Crawl from Birmingham to Wolverhampton on the Midland Metro. Glaswegians also get to enjoy the Thirst Bus which takes revellers from the city centre to the east end and back with frequent visits to licensed premises along the route.

Pub crawls need not be officially organized events. Pub crawls, such as the Louisville, Kentucky "Bambi Walk", can be undertaken by friends when the desire strikes. According to Stuff,[9] the "Bambi Walk" has been crawled, unorganized, since the 1980s.

Pub crawling has become a tourism category, with UK tour operators offering weekend pub crawls to former Eastern Bloc countries, and Australian touring company Thirsty Swagman[10] offering a round-the-world pub crawl tour.

The Beacon New York pub crawl attracts around 3000 people from all over New York. Proceeds from the sale of wrist bands goes to families in need.

The Buenos Aires Pub Crawl is the biggest organized pub crawl in South America, operating six nights a week and involving groups of between 15 and 250 pub crawlers. There is also a sister pub crawl in Santiago, Chile.

Minneapolis, Minnesota started a zombie-themed pub crawl in 2005 that has become an annual tradition which has grown to over 5,000 participants in 2009.[11] Zombie pub crawls can be seen as a combination of the pub crawl and zombie walk traditions. During a zombie pub crawl participants wear zombie costumes and shuffle from bar to bar imitating the living dead. Following Minnesota's lead, zombie-themed pub crawls have now spread to multiple cities including Philadelphia, Chicago, Columbus,Ohio, and Washington DC.

Edinburgh’s Rose Street is well-known locally and beyond as the city’s legendary pub-crawl venue. Situated one street behind Edinburgh’s world-famous Princes Street, Rose Street occupies four relatively short blocks nowadays boasting 18 pubs. In the 1970's, there were 28 pubs. The pubs’ close proximity to each other in this part-pedestrianised street makes pub-crawling very accessible. Not only popular with young local men, the street has become a shrine to many visiting rugby and football fans wanting to rise to the challenge of this Everest of alcohol consumption. The Rose Street pub crawl, known as the Rose Street Challenge, is not an organized event, but is a year-round, self-imposed challenge to attempt to drink alcohol in every pub / licensed hostelry in the street. There is no prize other than the pride of personal or group achievement.

On the Saturday leading up to St. Patrick's Day March 17th for 14 years is one of the most popular pub crawls in Chicago. The pub crawl typically starts around 9am in Wrigleyville neighborhood and takes participants through the Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.

Since 2009, Chicagoans have also set out to take a stance against terrible fashion trends by participating in the "Double Denim Bar Crawl," or the DDBC. Crawlers meander around Wrigleyville Neighborhood bars dressed in a minimum of two articles of Denim. Much like an 80s theme party, the DDBC explores the hilarity of acid-washed jean jackets and jorts, all while consuming their fair share of cold booze. April 9th, 2011 marks the first year the organizers have partnered with a charity, Autism Speaks, to raise money while crawling.

Dallas Uptown McKinney Ave has been hosting its annual "Crawl for Cancer" pub crawl for the past three years. With over 3000 people with teams of 300 with 10 to 12 per team, this crawl includes over 16 bars within a one mile radius. It usually held in the middle of April and raises money for Cancer Research.

Monopoly Board Pub Crawl

A Monopoly pub crawl is a pub crawl involving the visiting of public houses on each of the streets of a city which appear on that city's version of the Monopoly board. This is most commonly done in London, following the British version of the game, but could just as easily be applied to anywhere else having a dedicated Monopoly board and a sufficient quantity of pubs or bars.

Santa Claus theme

In Wollongong, Australia, a Santa Claus Crawl occurs each December to raise donations of children's toys for local charities. The Santa Claus Pub Crawl 2007 dressed in Santa Claus costumes thronging roads and pubs.[12] In 2009, the pub crawl set a new attendance record, with between 2500 to 3000 Santa Clauses, elves, and other costumed revelers joining the annual event, raising around A$15,000 in cash and A$40–50,000 in donated toys for the Salvation Army, and making the event now the largest of its type in the world.[13] In 2010 the event attracted over 4000 people growing steadily through social media.

In the United States, The Running of the Santas is a December event in which some Americans dress as Santa Claus and venture from bar to bar consuming alcoholic beverages. American cities have staged such Runnings but not with universal approval. In 2008, for example, the Boston Herald commented on Boston's scheduled Running: "Scores of beer-sodden, booze-soaked pub crawlers dressed up like St. Nick plan to hit the Hub’s streets during tomorrow’s “Running of the Santas” - an annual, nationwide drinkfest that has infuriated parents and watchdog groups. "Santa Claus is a treasured icon for children,” said Eric Helmuth, spokesman for Join Together, a Boston University health group that is fighting the jolly pub crawl. Helmuth said he’s concerned about the effect on kids who see “Santa careening through the streets drinking or going from pub to pub."[14] The international SantaCon is another event that sees seasonal crawls.

See also


  1. ^ Dalzell, Tom. The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. TF-ROUTL, 2005.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Beer Day from
  7. ^
  8. ^ [ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}"]. 
  9. ^ Stuff Magazine
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Santas on pub crawl - Local News - News - General - Illawarra Mercury
  13. ^ Christmas pub crawl sets record, Illawarra Mercury, 14th Dec, 2009
  14. ^ Heslam, Jessica, and James Hinton. "Running of the Santas bad for kids, groups say Ho, ho, hold it! Boozefest slammed". Boston Herald, December 12, 2008. Accessed January 17, 2009.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pub´-crawl´er — pub crawl «PUHB KRL», verb, noun. Slang. –v.i. to go from one pub or bar to another: »I d rather pub crawl than visit Whitehall (Saturday Review). –n. a round of several pubs made by one or more persons. –pub´ crawl´er, noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • pub-crawl — pub′ crawl v. i. cvb to have drinks at one bar after another • Etymology: 1935–40 pub′ crawl , n. pub′ crawl er, n …   From formal English to slang

  • pub-crawl — [pub′krôl΄] [Informal, Chiefly Brit.] Brit. Informal vi. to go from one pub to another as on a drinking spree n. the act of, or a period spent in, pub crawling: also pub crawl …   English World dictionary

  • pub crawl — pub crawls N COUNT If people go on a pub crawl, they go from one pub to another having drinks in each one. [BRIT, INFORMAL] David had been on a pub crawl with pals from his rugby club …   English dictionary

  • pub-crawl — n BrE informal a visit to several pubs, one after the other, during which you have a drink in each pub ▪ a Saturday night pub crawl …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pub-crawl — pub crawler, n. /pub krawl /, v.i. 1. to have drinks at one bar after another. n. 2. See pub crawl. [1935 40] * * * …   Universalium

  • pub crawl — pub ,crawl noun count BRITISH INFORMAL the activity of going to several pubs one after the other and having a drink in each one …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pub crawl — ► NOUN Brit. informal ▪ a tour taking in several pubs, with one or more drinks at each …   English terms dictionary

  • pub crawl — noun a tour of bars or public houses (usually taking one drink at each stop) • Hypernyms: ↑tour, ↑circuit * * * noun : a tour of bars and public houses usually with a pause for one drink at each moved from café to café in a regular pub crawl… …   Useful english dictionary

  • pub-crawl — verb go from one pub to the next and get progressively more drunk he pub crawled around Birmingham • Syn: ↑bar hop • Hypernyms: ↑drink, ↑booze, ↑fuddle • Verb Frames …   Useful english dictionary