The number and popularity of bar crawls in Arlington has increased, and it’s caught the attention of the Arlington County Police Department and county government.
At the Arlington County Board’s budget mark-up meeting this afternoon, the County Board approved an addition $42,000 to the police specifically for “pub crawl support.” Pub crawls in Clarendon, Courthouse and Ballston have drawn crowds close to 5,000-6,000 people, County Board Chair Jay Fisette said.
“I’m becoming a pub crawl expert, not by choice,” Arlington Police Chief Doug Scott told the Board Wednesday. “We are receiving crawl requests at a very escalated pace because they’ve been very popular. We thought we were going to have three, that went to nine, and it’s growing.”
Scott said he’s planning a meeting with the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association on April 30, but told ARLnow.com a time and a location have not been finalized yet. He and the Board discussed the potential for regulatory measures for potentially reining in the crawls, or requesting the restaurants and/or organizers provide the funds for the police support.
“There are a lot of legal issues around some of the choices the manager and board will have in terms of how we address these crawls in the future,” Scott said.
Board Member Libby Garvey asked Scott if the crawls were “a little like Mardi Gras except all year long.” Board Member Mary Hynes, who lives near Clarendon, said she has had a hard time wading through the revelers when she wants “to go to the grocery store.”
Lines for bars extend far down the sidewalk for many of the bar crawls, which include crawls on St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and other holidays. A bar crawl in late June last year led to 13 alcohol-related arrests, and one reveler during this year’s Shamrock Crawl showed up naked to the Arlington County Jail while trying to visit her husband, who was arrested during the crawl.
“Our level of disorderliness really escalates on days where we have pub crawls,” said Scott, who told the Board he’s reached out to law enforcement in cities around the country to ask how they’ve handled bar crawls. “I just signed off today on a comprehensive ground response. I think there’s no aspect of the community, especially around some of these bar locations, that are not impacted.”
The April 30 meeting appears to be the first step toward the Board possibly setting new policies regarding pub crawls. Board member Walter Tejada, however, cautioned against taking too harsh a stance against the events.
“I want to be careful not to be the hardheaded government keeping people from having fun,” he said. “I want to strike that balance, but it’s an issue of safety. If you have data that it could be leading to bad things, then we can’t ignore it.”
Photo via Groupon
The Shamrock Crawl, a St. Patrick’s Day-themed event that bills itself as “Arlington’s biggest bar crawl,” will take place on Saturday.
At least 15 Courthouse and Clarendon-area bars and restaurants are participating in the crawl, which is scheduled from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 online or $20 at the door, and include a “signature shamrock mug,” party favors, green beads, food and drink specials and a $2 pizza slice deal at Bronx Pizza (3100 Clarendon Blvd).
“Join thousands of fellow Irish loving and beer drinkers as they flood Arlington and turn it green!” says the event’s website. Promoter Project D.C. Events also produced a video highlighting last year’s Shamrock Crawl (above, possibly NSFW due to song lyrics).
The inaugural Clarendon’s Finest Holiday Bar Crawl will run this Saturday, Dec. 14, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m., with tickets selling for $10 and all proceeds going to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Clarendon Grill, Mad Rose Tavern, Mister Days, Mexicali Blues, Hunan Number One, Bracket Room and SoBe Bar & Bistro will all be participating with drink specials throughout the evening. Registration for the crawl will be at Sobe (3100 Clarendon Blvd) from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Prizes will be given out for the best costume, dynamic duo and best group costume at the bar crawl ending party from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Mister Days, at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd.
There are a number of events happening around Arlington for the holiday this weekend. Among them:
Doorways’ Howl-o-ween Dog Walk for the Homeless
Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Doorways, a domestic violence shelter for women and their children, is hosting a dog-walking fundraiser at Big Walnut Park (1915 N. Harrison Street). While many similar shelters don’t allow pets, Doorways provides a place for both victims of domestic abuse and their pets. Visitors are encouraged to dress themselves and their pets in Halloween costumes, and dogs can compete for prizes. Registration is $30 for adults and $20 for children under 16, with proceeds going to Doorways.
FALLoween at Market Common Clarendon
Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Market Common Clarendon, at 2700 Clarendon Blvd, is hosting its own pet-friendly parade Saturday morning. There will be trick-or-treating, a mini pumpkin and a petting zoo. A pet and human costume parade will start at 11:00 a.m. and a “Princess vs. Superhero fitness contest” will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. All events are free.
Douglas Park Halloween Trail of Terror
Saturday, Oct. 26, starting at 7:00 p.m.
Douglas Park will host its second annual haunted trail this Saturday evening Starting at 1620 S. Quincy Street, visitors will walk through Douglas Park and walk through trails where they’ll encounter goblins, swamp monsters and other ghouls and ghosts. There will also be a children’s area with milder fun. To experience the trail, visitors should bring canned food for donation to the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Elliot in the Morning’s Halloween Bash
Friday, Oct. 25, starting at 8:00 p.m.
Friday night at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd), DC101′s Elliot in the Morning show will host a costume party with a $3,000 cash prize going to the winner. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. and the cover charge is $15 before 10:00 p.m. No costumes with stilts or weapons will be permitted. Sixty party-goers will be selected by judges in the crowd to be finalists by 10:30 p.m., and crowd applause will determine the winner among those 60.
Not So Silent Cinema Presents Nosferatu
Saturday, Oct. 26, starting at 8:00 p.m.
At Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd) Saturday night, a klezmer quintet will play accompaniment to the 1922 silent movie classic “Nosferatu,” cinema’s first vampire flick. The movie will be shown at the Dome Theater. Tickets are $15.
HiBall Monster Bar Crawl
Friday, Oct. 25, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.
HiBall events is hosting a bar crawl Friday evening from Courthouse to Ballston, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. Participating bars include Spider Kelly’s, World of Beer, Wilson Tavern, Whitlow’s on Wilson and The Front Page. Tickets are $15 and participating revelers can participate in a costume contest via Facebook, with the winner getting $200 and gift cards from participating restaurants.
Photo courtesy of Doorways
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Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
On Saturday, Arlington County police made 13 alcohol-related arrests in Clarendon during the All-American Bar Crawl, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Among the arrests were two for assault on a police officer and one for a man who attempted, unsuccessfully, to throw a chair through the front window of a business.
Sternbeck said calls for police in Clarendon were “steady” throughout the evening, up until about midnight. “Multiple” fights were reported during that time.
On Sunday, meanwhile, police were called to a pool on the 1600 block of S. Eads Street — at the Crystal Towers apartment complex — for an intoxicated man who allegedly exposed himself.
The 29-year-old Arlington resident exposed himself to about 25 people, including children, while sitting in a chair poolside, Sternbeck said. A lifeguard asked the man to leave, and police arrested him for indecent exposure at his apartment.
As many as 3,000 people are expected for the Shamrock Bar Crawl, billed as “Arlington’s biggest bar crawl.” The St. Patrick’s Day-themed event is taking place from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday (March 9th).
As of this afternoon, organizers said the bar crawl was sold out due to “high demand.” Some tickets will be available for $20 cash on the day of the event, they via social media, with registration taking place at Mad Rose Tavern and Velocity 5. Other bars participating in the event include Whitlow’s, SoBe, Hunan One, Wilson Tavern, Arlington Rooftop and Mister Days.
Drink specials include $2 Yuenglings, $3 rail drinks, $4 “shamrock shots,” and $5 Irish car bomb shots. Participants — who should be easy to spot thanks to free green beads and “Signature Shamrock mugs” — will also be able to nab $2 cheese pizza slices at Bronx Pizza.
A separate St. Paddy’s Day-themed event, the Four Courts Four Miler race, is taking place at 9:00 a.m. in the Courthouse area. The race is sold out and expected to bring thousands of runners and spectators to Courthouse. A number of road closures are planned for the race.
A pedal-powered pub turned heads in Courthouse today as it stopped by for a goodwill tour of Arlington.
The owners of Trolley Pub — a company that operates two open-air, pedal-powered party trolleys in Raleigh, N.C. – brought the vehicle up to Arlington in advance of their planned expansion here next month, to get a lay of the land and to introduce it to local law enforcement.
Police Department brass, County Board staffers, Health Department officials and other county employees stopped by on their lunch break to gawk at the 15-seat contraption and ask questions about its operation, legality and safety record.
The Trolley Pub, it turns out, is perfectly legal on the streets of Arlington, at least according to a preliminary police review. Owner Kai Kaapro said the trolley is classified the same as a party bus or limousine under the law; patrons are allowed to bring their own canned beer or boxed wine (no glass and no liquor) and drink it while pedaling around, since there’s a paid driver steering the vehicle.
The trolley itself does utilize pedal power, but it also has its own electric motor, capable of climbing steep hills and reaching up to 20 miles per hour. Normally, Kaapro said, the trolley will cruise around 5-10 miles per hour. Riders (up to 14, plus the driver) will be required to wear seat belts. So far, he said, there have been no reported accidents involving such vehicles in the United States (the concept originated in Europe).
Kaapro said he’s still scouting out possible routes in Arlington. Asked whether he thinks drivers might be annoyed by the slow-moving vehicle on local streets, he said it’s “really not more of an obstruction than a bus,” except it might move a bit slower.
“The novelty tends to moderate people’s tempers,” he noted.
Another concern he’s hoping to allay is that Trolley Pub patrons will be hardcore, out-of-control partiers. In fact, he said, most of his customers are in their 30s and 40s and not interested in getting sloppy drunk while pedaling across town. Twenty-somethings, Kaapro said, haven’t shown as much interest in his Trolley Pubs in Raleigh.
“Most young people don’t really need an excuse to go out and drink and hand out with friends,” he said. “We try hard to make sure it doesn’t get too rowdy. We like the older crowd.”
Plus, Kaapro said, the $35-40 per person price for a two hour tour might be a bit too high for those recently out of college.
Typical Trolley Pub customers are bachelorette parties, tourists, corporate team building exercises, and groups of friends on a pedal-powered bar crawl. Drivers, hired by the company, are typically bartenders or anybody else who can be fun and control a crowd at the same time.
Kaapro, 28, said he started the Trolley Pub two years ago after graduating from law school.
“For some reason this seemed more appealing to me than working for a law firm,” he said.
The Trolley Pub attracted quite a bit of attention during its stint in Courthouse today. One older woman blocked a lane of traffic, in front of about a half-dozen gathered police officers, to a take a cell phone photo of the trolley. Kaapro said he’s received some 20-30 calls for reservations already, just from people who have read about it online.
A new Trolley Pub (different than the older model pictured) is expected to start roaming the streets of Arlington in mid-April.
The open-air, pedal-powered trolley lets riders mix drinking and exercising while taking in the Arlington sights. Up to 14 people can ride along on a tour, along with one certified Trolley Pub conductor in the captain’s seat.
The trolley already exists in cities like Raleigh, NC. Pricing is not yet listed for the Arlington trolley, but Raleigh’s charges $30 per person for up to six people on a two hour tour, or $350 to rent the entire 14 person pub for two hours.
Riders who want to drink on the ride have to bring their own alcoholic beverages, but are able to use the on-board ice chest. No hard alcohol or glass is allowed, and alcoholic beverages must remain on board at all times.
The tentative launch date is April 13, according to the Trolley Pub Arlington Facebook page.
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Ballston Bar Crawl to Benefit Sandy — Eight Ballston-area bars are hosting a bar crawl to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bar crawl will start at noon on Saturday at Front Page (4201 Wilson Blvd). The event also includes a poker competition for prizes, like Redskins and Capitals gear. [Clarendon Nights]
There’s going to be plenty of Christmas cheer to go around in Arlington this weekend. A sleigh-ful of holiday events are planned around the county. Among them:
- Winter Wonderland in Clarendon — This event will feature family-friendly holiday activities and entertainment, including strolling carolers, professional ice sculptors and free photos with Santa. Mix 107.3 FM will be broadcasting live and the Marine Corps will be collecting toys and cash for their Toys for Tots campaign.
- Saturday, 4:00 to 7:30 p.m., Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd)
- The Gift of Art Reception — Support local artists and buy a unique, artful gift at this holiday showcase event.
- Saturday, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Arlington Arts Gallery (5179 Lee Highway)
- Shirlington SantaCon — This daytime bar crawl encourages participants to come dressed as Mr. or Mrs. Claus as they go from bar to bar in Shirlington Village. The $15 registration fee will benefit the charity Dreams for Kids.
- Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Shirlington Village (2700 S. Quincy Street)
- Good Sports Holiday Party — Good Sports of Arlington will be holding its 6th Annual Holiday Party to benefit its Scholarship Fund for Arlington students. This year’s event will feature a raffle with prizes such as Capitals tickets, Presidents Club seats to a Nationals game, and a weekend getaway to Virginia’s brewery and vineyard area outside Charlottesville.
- Saturday, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Crystal City Sports Pub (529 S. 23rd Street)
- National Chamber Ensemble Holiday Concert — The National Chamber Ensemble and talented young guest musicians play seasonal favorites as well as a traditional carol sing-along. Tickets are $28 for adults and $15 for students.
- Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Artisphere Spectrum Theatre (1101 Wilson Blvd)
- Holiday Concerts and Sing Along — The award-winning, all-female Potomac Harmony Chorus will present its annual Holiday Concert and Sing-Along. Admission is free, but donations will be collected on behalf of Doorways for Women and Families.
- Sunday, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., NRECA Conference Center (4301 Wilson Blvd)
- Christmas Movie Festival — Christmas-themed movie classics are shown at the big screen at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. The lineup includes: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Scrooged, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
- Sunday, 12:00 to 9:00 p.m., Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Ireland’s Four Courts seems like the place to be this weekend for pre-St. Patrick’s Day fun. Saturday morning the pub will be hosting runners before and after the Four Courts Four Miler. It is also billing itself as a post-ShamrockFest destination.
Four Court’s normal Sunday activities will become even more Irish-y. Expect a special Irish Sunday brunch. Then, later Sunday night, karaoke become Irish-themed karaoke.
For more dedicated drinkers, the Arlington Athletic and Social League is holding its “St. Practice Day” bar crawl on Saturday. The $10 registration fee is almost worth it just for the t-shirt.
Registration starts between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. at Mister Day’s. Subsequent destinations include Hard Times Cafe, Clarendon Grill, Eleventh Street Lounge, and SoBe.
For more over-21 festivities, check out our St. Patrick’s Day Guide.
Photo courtesy Stacey Viera of Every Food Fits. Smiley faces added to protect the innocent.