From small town college to New York City, bar crawls are as American as apple pie. Many entrepreneurs attempt their own bar crawl companies, but few last more than a couple months. If you are thinking about stepping up to the plate, know that bar crawls rely on good bars, good people and some basics to keep it all moving. As you prepare for a monthly crawl down your favorite district, keep these steps in mind to take your crawl from good to great:
1. Remember the Basics
There are three basic pieces every bar crawl needs before moving onto any other detail:
- The bars must have exclusive drink specials for the crawlers, otherwise there is no point in following the group.
- Arrange for transportation with local cab companies or Uber. You don’t want someone drinking and driving on your watch.
- Make sure you have the proper permits through the city (most require them).
Now that we have that behind us, let’s look ahead to the fun stuff:
2. Keep It Close
A bar crawl should never be a bar marathon. Make sure each bar is never more than a block or two apart and keep the flow through popular areas so no one gets lost along the way. Everyone is here to drink, not think – take distance and navigation out of the equation.
3. Try Different Themes
If you rely on the same bars or district each month, fun themes are a good way to shake up the environment and keep it interesting. Break out the costumes for more than just Halloween. Have an ’80s theme night or a zombie-filled night. Anything to keep the same bars feeling new each month.
4. Partition the Drink Specials
You’re bound to lose a few drinkers at each bar because that’s what booze can do to the brain. But if you and the bar end a drink special at a certain time (or put an expiration time on drink tickets), it helps herd the group to the next bar.
5. Give Prizes at Each Bar
Arrange for the DJ to announce a random prize at each bar. Make the prizes better with each stop with the grand prize at the last bar. You can give or sell tickets at the beginning to give crawlers something else to look forward to and an extra incentive to stick with the group.
6. Brand Like Crazy
T-shirts, hats, coozees – throw it all at every guest on your bar crawl. Chances are you’re not the only dogs in town, so you want everyone to know who throws the best party on the block. A solid brand is key to retention. Don’t skimp on it.
7. Throw Bikes in the Mix
There are tons of trails, paths and bike lanes that cover the landscape of every metropolitan landscape in the country. Tour de Tavern of Scottsdale, Arizona, is one example of a popular bike bar crawl. Many other cities are adopting similar ideas.
8. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Don’t let yourself feel like the sober babysitter during the bar crawl. Everyone is looking at you to set the tone, so kick, back, relax and throw the best bar crawl in the city.
This is a post by Jim Burch who was born and raised near St. Louis. He developed an obsession for baseball and the Cardinals. College days brought him south to Kentucky where he studied creative writing and journalism while working as an editor for the Murray State News. These days, he writes diverse and sexy copy and hones his physical prowess at the CrossFit gym in Chandler, AZ. His specialties range from movies and television to consumer technology and health & fitness.