Providing people from all walks of life the opportunity to let their hair down and have a fun-filled few hours, the pub crawl is an institution that has been with us since, well, ages really. The Stone Ages to be precise. That’s right; it seems even Fred Flintsone & Barny Rubble used to get stuck into a bit of the amber nectar, with the discovery of beer jugs from the Neolithic period around 10,000 B.C.
According to The SAFE Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives, pub crawl-type behaviour has been referred to as far back as the 16th century in Southhampton, England. However it wasn’t until 1883 that the practice was first documented, and the term “pub crawl” did not appear until as late as 1915. The phrase was introduced by a writer called Thomas Burke who specialised in observations of the downtrodden inhabitants of London’s infamous East End. The SAFE Encyclopedia also points out that the term “bar hopping” was introduced in 1945 and was used by the Americans to describe the same ritual. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes a pub crawl as “a visit to several or many pubs or bars in one night”. This suits the gang here at Bar Hop just fine as we’re all about the bar scene here in Perth.
A pub crawl can mean different things to different people and part of the reason for that is that there are other names for this particular pastime. Some of the more popular terms include bar crawl, bar tour and of course, what we are all about, the bar hop. In many cities and countries around the world, these events can be rather loose affairs, with many venues being included in a typical event, and the events themselves carrying on for hours on end. And then there are all the themed pub crawls that take place around the globe. The themes are many and include everything from the national days’ of countries such as St Andrew’s Day and of course St Patrick’s Day, to the many fancy dress events involving Santas, super heroes, pirates, zombies and more.
These days the main pub crawl players include groups of expats and tourists in cities all over the world, although there are a number pub crawls that are steeped in tradition and, and are therefore heavily attended by the local population.
Not all pub crawls are created equal and there are some massive annual events taking place all across the globe. Australia is known for having some of the most notable pub crawls of anywhere in the world, including huge events taking place in Maryborough, QLD, Wollongong and Adelaide. One of the biggest crawls on record according to the Guinness Book of Records was the Pub Crawl for Cancer event which took place in Kansas City Missouri on June 1, 1993. A huge crowd of 4,885 went to 21 pubs (each participant visited 10), and drank 4,635 gallons (17,545 litres) of beer. Not a bad effort by anyone’s standards! Another Guinness record is the 15,458 zombies that embarked on a pub crawl in October 2014, however the biggest crawl of them all seems to be the 21,137 that congregated in Charlotte, North Carolina in March 2014 for the annual St Patricks Day pub crawl. Now that’s impressive!
Some other notable pub crawls taking place around the world include an annual event in Iceland known as a Rúntur, where Icelanders celebrate the ending of a 74 year prohibition of beer, and the monthly Pub Run San Antonio, where participants don their running shoes and run between the venues. The Kiwis are a fun bunch and they get in on the act with the Waitangi Day Circle Line Pub Crawl in London. This would also have to be one of the world’s largest hakas as the traditional dance takes place at the end of every crawl.
So there you have it. Hopefully you now have a better idea of what’s involved in a pub crawl, or bar hop as we prefer to call it. And of course if this sounds like fun to you then head over to our Bookings page and join us for some bar hopping fun around Perth – although of course you can expect a much more intimate affair on one of our nights out with our groups capped at 20, we are more about quality than quantity!