Bar crawls are a fabulous way to hang out with friends. It gives you the opportunity to visit different establishments as well as try unique drinks. There’s a frivolity with the unique bar crawl themes people come up with that are both fun and entertaining.
How do you bar crawl?
There are many ways to bar crawl or pub crawl as you may have heard it. We’ve put together a quick list of simple steps to make sure you enjoy your night to the max!
- Have a plan.
- What you’ll see below are a list of awesome bar crawls that have caught fire in recent years. No the general route. Plan uber or taxi service. Pick your theme. Have fun!
- Eat food.
- Whether before the event, during or probably a little afterward, make sure you’re eating food. Don’t bar crawl on an empty stomach!
- Pace yourself.
- Some bar crawls are also known as “pub runs” but the running doesn’t usually last but for more than a couple bars. Pace yourself. Don’t over drink. Be safe.
- Stick to one type of drink.
- It’s so easy to start adding shots into the crawl to spice up the fun and risk but be careful not to mix either at all or too much. It’s never fun later that night when it finally hits you!
- Have fun.
- Pick some fun peeps. Likely there will be a theme and so ya’ll can dress up maybe in fun onesie costumes. Enjoy yourself!
So, what are the most unique and popular bar crawls?
1. SantaCon Bar Crawl
A popular bar crawl in the U.S. is the New York SantaCon. It has had as many as thirty thousand participants. This began in San Francisco in 1994. As a result of its popularity it has spread to forty-four countries. New York City has the largest of all the SantaCons. They have had as many as thirty thousand attendees.
Unfortunately, there have been some incidents of unruly behavior in NYC, but they’re not letting a few bad apples spoil the party. Following their cousins in the U.S., London has a Santa bar crawl. It started with twenty-five people and now has three hundred participants. It looks like they need to work on that to catch up with New York.
2. Zombie Bar Crawl
Minneapolis has hosted a zombie-themed bar crawl since 2012 that has had as high as thirty thousand people participate. This theme has been picked up by cities all over the world. In Minneapolis, it is certified to be the “world’s largest gathering of Zombies” by the Guinness Book of Records.
With the popularity of zombies in popular culture, this one just gets more widespread every year.
Participants do the shuffle of the undead while imbibing their favorite adult beverage. Only time tell if they can come back from the dead the next morning.
3. St. Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl
There are many St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls in nearly every city. But the biggest one claims to be in Charlotte, NC. An event company hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl in uptown Charlotte that draws upwards of 20,000 participants.
Check out the biggest St.Patricks Day bar crawls in that article! People may be wearing green, but after a night of this they’ll probably be turning green.
4. Superhero Bar Crawl
It’s what you may have guessed; participants dress as their favorite superhero. As in most crawls you buy tickets to participate. A lot of these superhero bar crawls donate some of the dollars to charities. While the Reno, Nevada Superhero Crawl claims to be “the longest-running comic-themed bar crawl in the known universe,” any city can have fun with this theme.
Buffalo, NY adds some spice to their version by combining the good vs. bad in their and villain crawl.
5. Poker Crawl
Charleston, SC, held a crawl that was a sure bet when it came to fun. As participants went from bar to bar, they received a playing card at each for a five-stud poker hand. The person with the best hand at the end of the night won a prize.
This theme can be a great one for charity if you allow people to “bet” on their hands and donate the money to your chosen cause.
6. Monopoly Crawl
Participants dress up like pieces from the board game. Every bar is a Monopoly territory and has a suggested beverage associated with it.
The Monopoly crawl has its roots London, but it has made it across the pond, of course. It started in 2007 when some friends sitting around a pub wanted to do something new and different. In the London version, there are usually around twenty-six pubs involved, so you may have to spread it out over a weekend if you don’t want to need the “Get out of jail” card!
7. Bambi Walk
One college bar crawl theme is the Bambi walk. It usually attracts college kids on their twenty-first birthday. Taking place in Louisville, KY, it consists of twenty-three bars. That’s a lot of imbibing. The crawl begins at the Bambi Bar and ends at Phoenix Hill Tavern. Is it possible to do the whole thing? Many have tried, but few have succeeded.
This is a theme based on a particular bar and could be recreated anyplace that has a bar that is the “townie” favorite!
8. Haunted Bar or Halloween Bar Crawl
Charlotte N.C. calls theirs the “Trick or Drink” event. It’s actually a two-day celebration that draws around 15,000 participants. Bar crawlers purchase a wristband that will get them in the different drinking establishments. They won’t have to pay a cover charge. Merrymakers will also be able to take advantage of drink specials.
Halloween is the perfect time to hear a ghost story. But anytime is a good time when you’re crawling through a city. A lot of these cities have haunted pasts. You can hear these stories while guzzling down a craft beer or sipping a glass of pinot grigio. Some spooky cities with bar crawl include:
- Savannah, GA
- New Orleans, LA
- Boston, MA
- Baltimore, MD
Considering the historical significance of these cities, it’s no wonder there’s some haunting going on. A cocktail on a crawl is just the thing to steady the nerves.
9. Christmas Bar Crawl
One Christmas bar crawl that gets kudos is the Twelve Bars of Christmas in Savannah, GA. You guessed it; it consists of twelve bars and a lot of merrymaking. Participants dress in holiday fare. Can you say ugly Christmas sweater? It might be a little chilly, but crawlers will get to see a beautiful historic city.
However, Savannah isn’t done with the twelve days when it comes to crawling. They also have the Naughty Elf Pub Crawl. At this point Santa’s elves leave the North Pole and have a cocktail as they traipse from bar to bar. Where’s Rudolph?
This is bound to be a fun one, however you do it. Cold nights, warm company, and a yummy beverage make for a merry holiday bar crawl.
10. Summer Bar Crawl Themes
There are too many great summer themes to pick just one. Summer is the perfect time to walk around and visit bar after bar. And there are several crawl themes around to heat up your summer.
- NYC’s Red, White, & Brew bar crawl—Freedom needs to be celebrated every day. And what better way than with the freedom to imbibe at various watering holes.
- Prohibition Pub Crawl—The East Village of New York was rockin’ and rolling during prohibition. This is your chance to enjoy the route your great-grandparents took to get a drink. Starting at the infamous Scheib’s Place, you can visit some former speakeasies that once eluded the authorities. Of course, once the 21st amendment arrived, speakeasies became legal.
- Drunk Uncle Sam: 4th of July Bar Crawl—You’ll be back in the East Village for this one. Picture it, thirteen hours on an inebriated journey that celebrates the birth of the U.S. Ben Franklin would be proud and a little jealous.
- Tour de Turnt—Located in Philadelphia, this bar crawl is actually a bar bike. As a take-off of the Tour de France, you bike from bar to bar. So instead of just getting tipsy, you’ll be tipsy biking. Hence the word “turnt” which means under the influence. This crawl is actually a fundraiser for Bringing Hope Home. This is a non-profit that provides support to families struggling with cancer.
- Booze Clues—This is another one for the college kids. It’s a scavenger hunt at Hermosa Beach. You’ll have the opportunity to win 5K in prizes on your way to the designated watering holes. Some of the fun at the bars consists of naughty charades, cornhole, flip cup, pong, etc.
- Rooftop crawl—You’re back in New York for this one. They definitely know how to party. This crawl takes you to four amazing rooftops. Drinking on a roof with those views? It doesn’t get much better than that.
What are Fun Unique Bar Crawl Themes?
Funny bar crawl themes are always popular. From clowns to snuggies, it’s fun to have a theme. It’s especially fun if costumes are involved. Some may ask what kind of costumes you should use for a bar crawl, but there really isn’t an answer. Pretty much anything goes. As you’ll see, anything did go for these unique bar crawls.
- Clown crawl—You guessed it. Everyone dresses like a clown. But there’s a twist. The Clown crawl in Charlotte is, in reality, an “evil” clown crawl. This turns a crawl into a creepy crawly. And watch out if you are a coulrophobe. You’ll probably need a drink just to get past it.
- Pug crawl—This one gets the bulgy eyed pooches involved. Portland, OR has you dress your pug up in a costume, and then the two of you hit the bars. There are different themes. For instance, one year, it was “Pugs on Broadway.”
- Snuggie Pub Crawl—Everyone remembers the Snuggie commercial. You know, the blanket with sleeves. (like these on Amazon) Where here’s your opportunity to buy one (you know you want to) and wear it on a crawl. Snuggie crawls take place all over the U.S.
- Everybody Gets Lei’d-Hawaiian Themed Charity Bar Crawl—Dress in your Luau themed attire. That means anything from grass skirts to coconuts bras. Flip flops are required on this occasion. Each participant is given a scorecard to be marked by the doorman at each establishment. You’re not required to buy a drink, but hey, it’s a bar crawl. If you complete your scorecard, you get a prize.
- I Love the 90s pub crawl—Remember Baywatch, scrunchies, and waiting for the 1999 ball to drop? Orlando, Florida takes you down memory lane with their bar crawl. Make sure you dress the part, or you won’t get in to see the Fresh Prince.
- Harry Potter bar crawl—Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, really gets into this one. They convert the whole town into Hogsmeade. So, if you’re not a muggle and want to show off your wizardry skills, head over to this bar crawl.
- Silent Disco bar crawl—Revelers wear headsets and dance while going from bar to bar. They’re listening to an MP3 player play the latest from Donna Summers and the rest of the disco queens. People not involved have to be wondering why dozens of people are walking and dancing to nothing.
- Lepre-Con—Go Green! Shed your winter clothes for this spring festival. In Hoboken, New Jersey, revelers dress as leprechauns to imbibe in green beer and red wine.
International Bar Crawls
There are some international bar crawls that can put some of America’s to shame. From Belgium to the UK, everyone likes a good time…especially when it comes to a cocktail. Here are some worth getting a passport for.
- Glasgow Sub crawl—Glasgow in the UK, has a circular subway going around its city. The Sub crawl entails riding the subway. Then you get off at each one of fifteen stops and having a brew at the nearest pub to each of the stops on the line.
- Finland pub crawls—These are big college bar crawl themes. A bar crawl usually goes by the name of Appro. These attract students from all over the country. The Hameenkadun Appro in Tampere hosts roughly ten thousand people annually. Usually, participants get a jacket patch they can sew on their boilersuits. Each patch’s color depends on the number of drinks the student has imbibed.
- Waitangi Day pub crawl—Although this also takes place in London, this particular crawl is enjoyed by thousands of New Zealanders. Waitangi is a national holiday in New Zealand. It commemorates the Treaty of Waitang. This was a treaty that secured British sovereignty over the islands of New Zealand. This is the nation’s founding document.
- Talk Like a Pirate Day pub crawl—This crawl started in 2005 in Plymouth, New Zealand. It had only three pirates at that time and now has hundreds. Talk like a Pirate Day started in the U.S. It is celebrated on September 19.
- Pub Golf—This is truly an international crawl. Each bar is considered a hole. There are either nine or eighteen holes (bars) in each crawl. A par must be established for each drink, and you must finish your drink in a certain number of sips to make par. Each person is given a scorecard, and a time limit is also established for each hole. Some bars are designated as a water hazard. In other words, the bathroom can’t be used, or you’ll incur a penalty stroke.
- Elfkroegentocht—Antwerp, Belgium, has a tradition of the Elfkroegentocht. That means eleven bars walk. Friends or co-workers walk from bar to bar to have a beer. This can take place at any time of the year.
- Txikiteo or Chiquiteo—This takes place in northern Spain. It started when groups of men wandered from pub to pub and drank a short glass of wine at each bar. They would sing traditional songs called txikiteo or chiquiteo. This can be held at night or day. By the end of the twentieth century, women were involved. A wider variety of drinks were also consumed. Now it’s often called a poteo.
- Berlin pub crawl—This consists of four bars. But the great part is walking to the bar. Each drinking establishment gives you a beer for the road. Open container is permitted so you can sip as you walk.
Funniest College Theme
The Seven-Legged Pub Crawl: University of Nottingham students in England came up with this one. Six students tie their legs together. A seventh one is the official “drink getter” in case the bar is crowded. Each team usually wears a costume and are chained at the ankle. Typically, it’s a fifteen-bar crawl. No word on how the restroom is used.
Summer vs. Winter for a Bar Crawl – What to Consider
When choosing a bar crawl theme keep the season in mind. If you are planning a winter crawl, you don’t want to require costumes that are too light. For instance, you wouldn’t want to have a Hawaiian themed crawl in the winter. It’s a little nippy wearing flip flops and grass skirts in January! Try heavier costumes.
At a summer crawl, if the weather is particularly hot, the reverse is true. Don’t ask people to dress up in Santa suits or gorilla costumes. And make sure water is available to avoid dehydration.
Why a Theme for a Bar Crawl?
A bar crawl without a theme is just a walk down the street to get a drink. A theme brings camaraderie to the festivities. It infuses the group with a kind of team spirit and mass silliness. A theme also makes it easier to see who’s part of the crawl. If you see another superhero, chances are they’re part of the group.
As you’ve seen, there are numerous themes that can be used for a bar crawl. Your imagination is your limit. In case you’re ever thinking of organizing one, have fun putting it together – and don’t hold back!