Clarendon has been known for its nights-and-weekends bar scene and drinking culture, and there is perhaps no more pure an example of the drinking culture than the bar crawls that come to the neighborhood a few times a year.
There’s the Halloween crawl, the “All American” crawl and — this past weekend — the St. Patrick’s Day-themed Shamrock Crawl, which returned to Clarendon after a one-year hiatus. Like Dan Zak before me, I went to check it out.
The final list of bars included Bar Bao, Pamplona, Whitlow’s, Mister Days, Hunan One, Oz and Clarendon Grill. An earlier list featured Courthaus Social, but it was later removed.
Starting at 1 p.m. my friend and I were among the first people to show up at Bar Bao, where you had to register. We were given free plastic mugs and a map.
Nothing was ready when we first got there. No bartender, no music. Just my friend and I and two other guys awkwardly sitting around. After 5 to 10 minutes of standing around waiting for something to happen, we got up, left and headed to Courthaus Social, not knowing that it was no longer on the list.
We killed an hour at Courthaus Social and decided to finally start heading back. On the way over, we passed Oz and my friend insisted on checking it out.
Inside, I saw a $4 “shamrock shooter” was being offered. The bartender told me it was a watermelon flavored liquor of sorts, and it was so good I had another, clumsily spilling some on my green shirt. But the revelry was rather subdued — as far as we can tell, no other bar crawlers were there.
Fast forward to 3 p.m. and we decided to head back to Bar Bao. On the way over we found a grocery cart that I pushed my friend in for 10 seconds. She then jumped out and we went into Bar Bao. Finally things are poppin’. A DJ is performing, the bar was open for those inside and outside on the patio. People were actually there. The weather was between 40 and 50 degrees, but it was sunny so it wasn’t too bad to stand outside while having a beer.
While at Bar Bao I also met a guy who said he was friends with the man who was famously tased by police while wearing a Pikachu onesie, about one year ago. The man is still in prison after fighting with both police and the bouncers of A-Town Bar & Grill, his friend said, adding that they were wrongly discriminated against when they were kicked out of A-Town.
After Bar Bao, it was time to cross the courtyard to Pamplona, which serves Spanish cuisine but today was also offering $7 Irish car bomb shots.
Before our final stop at Mister Days, my friend and I were tempted by yet another grocery cart. Except this time, when I pushed it, the cart fell over, with my friend rolling out (she was fine). A police officer then came out of nowhere and initially told us to return the cart, seemingly less interested in my friend’s tumble. I offered to take the cart back to Trader Joe’s, but the officer had seen enough shenanigans.
“Just leave,” he said, which we promptly did.
Four and a half hours of drinking later we couldn’t make it to the four remaining bars. But I like to think we still had a great, boozy adventure. And for the record, neither us nor anyone we saw vomited in any front yards.
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