This summer, the “Cornetto” or “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy begun by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Nira Park in “Shaun of the Dead” comes to a literal end with “The World’s End”. In the film, Pegg attempts to reunite his university mates (including Frost and Martin Freeman) to relive and finish a famous failed pub crawl. However, after the group begins the crawl, they discover the town has been taken over and they are humanity’s only hope.
The idea of the pub crawl has been around since the 19th century, involving the attempt by a group of people to visit multiple pubs in one night. Also formerly known as a “beer crawl” or a “Bohemian death march”, it’s largely an excuse for people to get together for a chance to experience new drinking establishments and/or get plastered. Sometimes the crawls turn into a game, an endurance challenge for its participants to complete or pass out trying.
1. Seven-Legged Bar Crawl (Nottingham)
Legend says that when Sir Jesse Boot donated the land for University of Nottingham in 1921, he did so on the condition that students take one day off each year for “frivolous fun”. This challenge evolved into the Seven-Legged Bar Crawl, an event in which six participants are tied together wearing fancy dress (themed costumes), while the seventh member runs to the bar for them. Several pubs and night clubs in Nottingham participate, including Ocean, Gatecrasher, Coco Tang, Stealth, and Rock City, amongst others. Karnival, the university’s student union, uses the event each year to help raise money for charities through registration fees, and the event can include up to 6,000 participants.
2. Subcrawl (Glasgow)
Also known as the “Clockwork Orange Pub Crawl”, visitors who wish to experience the city’s pubs and the underground subway can have both with Glasgow’s famous pub crawl. To participate, you purchase an all-day Discovery ticket for the Glasgow Subway and hit a pub at each stop. The Glasgow Subway forms a ring around the city and is the third oldest subway system in the world behind London and Budapest. There is a designated pub for each stop, including: The Primary, Curlers, The Dolphin, Hayburn Vaults, Brechin Bar, The Stadium Bar, and so on. Participants will also sometimes participate in an activity called “subsurfing”, or riding the subway while standing and not holding onto poles or handgrips (though this isn’t recommended for safety reasons, but when you’re blitzed, you may forget about important things like safety). Completing the crawl by finishing in the first pub you visited is considered quite an achievement.
3. The Mumbles Mile (Swansea Bay)
Along Mumbles Road, you can find about nine pubs that participate in Wales’ most famous pub crawl. The number of pubs on Mumbles Road has waxed and waned over the years as the local council has frowned on the practice and other night spots have gained prominence. Eight of the pubs are on the road itself, including: Park Inn, The White Rose, The Village Inn, The Pilot of Mumbles, CJ’s Bar and Grill, Dog & Duck, The George, Patrick’s, and Salt at the George. The Antelope Hotel was a favorite hangout of poet Dylan Thomas, but has since closed. It’s a great place for a pub crawl as the road follows the coast of the bay, providing a fantastic view for tourists.
4. Otley Run (Leeds)
Billed as “the biggest bar crawl in Leeds”, this crawl started as another university event, where it began in Otley and ran the gambit of university pubs down Otley Road. Now it begins at about 3PM near Woodies Ale House and includes up to sixteen other pubs such as The Three Horseshoes, The Box, Strawberry Fields, The Library, and more. Fancy dress is optional, but recommended, for participation. Otleyrun.net updates potential crawlers with news and offers a printable scorecard. Thousands of people do the run each weekend and publicans have only seen the interest in the Otley Run rise with each passing year.
5. Monopoly Pub Crawl (London)
It’s the granddaddy of them all, a Mount Everest that would make Sir Edmund Hillary stop and think for a bit. Like Glasgow’s Subcrawl, the Monopoly crawl makes heavy use of the Underground and follows the streets from London’s Monopoly board. All in all, it makes for a whopping 26 pubs, requiring participants to start when the pubs open at 11AM. Completion involves having at least one drink in all of them, though half-pints will suffice for this requirement. Crawlers are advised to eat regularly and drink water in-between pub visits. While some landlords are accepting of the crawl, others are not terribly happy to have groups of drunks coming in for a quick drink and leaving. To assist crawlers, The George on Old Kent Road actually opens at 10:30 AM. Participating will get you in the “Hall of Fame” on the crawl’s website at monopolypubcrawl.co.uk, with credit for drinking in each pub, attending but not drinking in each, and attending but not completing (illustrating the importance of managing yourself).