This is not a revisionist point of view — anyone who knows me will tell you I’ve always had an outward contempt for these people, even when I was bartending…
The concept behind a “pubcrawl” is inarguably sound: “Let’s get a group of friends together on a Saturday and hit the town for a bit of fun, trying numerous different locations for a steady change of scenery.” In fact, I daresay that actually sounds rather enjoyable.
But here’s where the fundamental plan goes awry: “Let’s get a pack of 60-100 screaming wankers together from noon ’til 9 on a Saturday and we’ll all wear matching t-shirts and sack the town like a pillaging horde of Vikings, drinking as much as we can in the first bar until some Alpha toolbag jumps on a barstool, blows a whistle and screams at us to leave. From there on out let’s just descend into a belligerent fog, tripping over things that aren’t there, dropping our pints on the floor, screaming
She’s convinced her average looks warrant a free round of Jagerbombs and zinfandels.
‘Woooooooooh!’ in 5 minute intervals for absolutely no reason and picking fights with any other bar patron who isn’t wearing the same t-shirt as we are. Oh, and let’s play Journey on every g*ddamned jukebox we encounter along the way.”
I’ve never participated in a “pubcrawl” as such. I’ve gone on all-day drinking binges involving various locations, but there was no map, no t-shirt, no “scorecard,” and no Journey. There was me, a few friends, and a good time. But having worked behind the bar for more “pubcrawls” than I care to remember, I can tell you the only good part about having a “pubcrawl” in your bar is when they leave.
The three types of pubcrawlers
There are three main types of people who go to these things: First up is the snotty suburban diva – she may be “Belle of the Ball” in Boonton, but in ‘Boken she’s a B-. Yet she’s convinced her average looks warrant a free round of Jagerbombs and zinfandels for her and her harpy of a sorority sister. While she’s busy bitching about the price of shots, the bartender simply wants to take the beer order off the guy behind her but can barely see him over her hair. Then there’s Johnny Toughguy — he’s in from out of town, reeks of some essence by Faberge and “couldn’t give a $#!+, yo.” He starts off at the first bar ordering three shots of Patron — for himself — and by bar number three he’s spitting on the floor and telling the bartender “go effyaself.” Of course he knows no one will do anything about it because he “rolled up in here wit’ da boyz,” or at least a significant group of others wearing the same lame t-shirt. Then there’s the Samsonite – the useless pieces of luggage that get dragged around from bar to bar and thrown in the corner. They’re normally somebody’s roommate, co-worker, or girlfriend; fringe outsiders who simply can’t drink AT ALL but still thought it would be a hoot to give it a shot. That’s the same logic as not being able to jog around the block, yet you sign up for the NYC marathon anyhow because it looks fun. While these people may not drink much, they often leave the biggest mess.
Often the exception to the rule is when a “pubcrawl” is done in the name of charity, as these people are normally decent human beings to begin with. But 9 times out of 10 it’s usually a self-absorbed gaggle of social misfits who couldn’t get a group of friends together without harassing them via Evite. For the record, I’m certainly not advocating the ban of these events, or any other draconian knee-jerk reaction. I just think these people should be told they’re comically annoying and predictably pathetic. If it takes a scorecard, a rigid itinerary and a matching t-shirt for you to enjoy your Saturday, my guess is you have a tough time truly enjoying anything in life. But hey, “don’t stop believing…”
(Cheers to bartenders Brian Kehoe and Brendan Carty for adding their two cents to this column.)
P.S.: On the topic of charity, my friend Vivian is participating in the “Have A Chance Walk to Fight Brain Tumors,” on Sunday, Oct. 18 at Battery Park. Vivian is walking on behalf of her mother, Teresa, who recently lost her battle with brain cancer. To donate, log onto http://www.active.com/donate/HaveAChance/teresapenha, and for more information check out www.braintumor.org.
Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/retired bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Midweek Reporter. Like a well-made Manhattan, he’s stirred but never shaken. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/HALLERON.