There is a tradition, passed down from generation to generation, by lovers of libations that has been utilized for all manners of social interaction ranging from networking and charitable events, to holiday and personal celebrations. These have been known to encompass costumed themes, feats of athleticism (often running), and singing or chanting. Primarily, this event is completely recreational, and instigated spur of the moment, by gathered groups of friends, intent on a common goal; consumption of large quantities of beer. You may recognize this description, and while it goes by many names and variations, it is most fondly and commonly known as…a pub crawl.
All for Me Grog
“May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong, and may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re gone.” – Irish Toast
The Irish have a reputation for an enviable constitution when it comes to drinking, and who could fault them for the accompanying number of pubs set across the world! Noted for their skill in turning anything into a party, these imbibing paragons of hops and barley have made pub crawling into a natural and lucrative part of their national tourism.
A group in Galway offers a daily expedition through a selection of the city’s malted and hopped establishments. Beyond the anticipated beverage expectations the tour includes the story and brief viewing of some of Galway’s popular tourist sites. Not only can you enjoy a few drinks in affable company, but you are also able to get a first-hand look at local culture!
Dublin has a veritable variety of organized bar tours available for all types of interests.One talented duo offers a combined tour of some of the most famous pubs in the city, along with a musical journey, extolling the history of Irish music and its influence on the nation’s past, present and future. On a different note, there is also a literary pub crawl. Watch and listen as your guides and actors regal you with tales and quotes from such literary legends as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and W.B. Yeats as you tour the pubs where they once took their inspiration.
Come Out Ye Black and Tans
“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink, when they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” – Frank Sinatra
If you’re someone who likes the idea of a pub crawl, but doesn’t quite have the prodigious constitution to mix and match at multiple watering holes at once, try something at a more sedate pace. Create a “Small Crawl” itinerary around a couple of notable pubs in a variety of cities and sample a more eclectic selection of national flavors.
In Cork, the Franciscan Well offers home-brewed beers and a steady stream of events to keep you entertained. In the town of Meath, The Cock has been owned and operated by the McCabe family for generations. Their own history alone would, I’m sure, be an interesting tale. McHugh’s is located in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has the prestige of being the oldest building AND oldest pub in the city, despite converting its design to a more restaurant style experience. For a pint and a wealth of Irish music, McDermott’s Pub in County Clare is the place to be. Charlie Foley’s in Kerry is another family run pub with regular live music and ready to serve a friendly pint.
There is certainly no lack of venues, ranging from the historic to the modern that can be incorporated into your itinerary for your own personal pub tour.
World Wide Watering Holes
“A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation.” – Anonymous
The Irish are not the only citizens with a healthy taste for drink! On a more global scale, if you’re into breaking records and drinking for a cause, head to Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. This city put together a Pub Fest in 2005 that has been breaking its own Guinness World Record every year since! Proceeds from each cause go to a charitable organization. Granted, this is one record that on an international level is continually pushed to the limit, but these folks have placed numerous times and definitely deserve some credit!
The Riviera Bar Crawl in Nice, France has one goal, to introduce their international attendees to the nightlife of the French Riviera. They incorporate a series of games and prizes while you move from bar to bar.
The Spanish Steps Bar Hop takes place in Rome on a nightly basis. Travelers should not expect to arrive in casual clothes and should come prepared to dress to impress, as they take you on a tour of bars, clubs and happy hours. Since 2004, this successful crawl has been introducing attendees to the Eternal City.
Pub Crawl Cologne offers open group tours and also private excursions to see this city’s hottest pubs and clubs. Cologne is known far and wide for its beer culture and nightlife. Group leaders boast that they can take you to places so under wraps, even the locals aren’t aware of them!
Wherever you are in the world, there’s sure to be an organized group with a finger on the pulse of the local pub scene. Whether you wait until you’re there to locate one, or do some preemptive reconnaissance, a crawl is an interesting and interactive way to see a city.
I hope you have an exciting and memorable adventure, SLAINTE!
Do you have a Pub Crawl on an international or local level that you’d recommend, or a story about one that you attended? We’d love to hear about it!