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Some 3,700 people participated in Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl, an annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed bar crawl in Clarendon, according to police.
That’s down from nearly 5,000 attendees for last year’s crawl. Unlike last year, however, this one resulted in relatively few arrests.
Police say they arrested two people in direct connection to the crawl — one for assault and battery, and the other for drunk in public. That compares to more than two dozen arrests during last year’s event, including a bar crawl attendee who was arrested for allegedly showing up naked at the Arlington magistrate’s office in search of her incarcerated husband.
The Arlington County Police Department credited planning and cooperation among police, bars, event organizers and neighbors for the largely drama-free afternoon.
“It was a lot smoother of an operation,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We have to credit the bars that participated as their staff refused to let people who were highly intoxicated in. There was a great working partnership for this event between police and the participating businesses.”
“It was a year-long planning process… there were constant meetings among county staff, the civic associations, the businesses and the bar crawl hosts,” Sternbeck added. “It showed positive results in terms of behavior.”
Sternbeck said police “could have arrested quite a bit more for drunk in public” but instead focused on getting those individuals home safely via taxicabs. New this year, Sternbeck and another police department employee live-tweeted the bar crawl and set up an outdoor photo booth — complete with props including a McGruff the Crime Dog mascot head — where they mixed fun with a bit of public outreach.
“We definitely spoke to them directly about responsible partying, appropriate behavior and transportation usage,” he said.
Despite helping to drastically reduce crime, police did take note of one area for possible improvement.
“The biggest problem I saw was people darting into the street before waiting for the appropriate time to cross,” Sternbeck said. Several police department tweets showed attendees dressed in green crossing in the middle of busy roads, in front of cars.
Per new bar crawl regulations that were approved last year, bar crawl organizer Project DC Events was to pick up the tab for police overtime associated with security for the event. Sternbeck was unable to say what the bill was for this weekend, though the Washington Post previously reported that the cost to police was between $15,000 and $20,000.
Photos courtesy Arlington County Police Department
The Shamrock Crawl, an annual bar crawl in Clarendon for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, is back again this year, on March 21.
The Saturday following the annual celebration of the Irish spirit, thousands of carousers will be wearing green and holding commemorative mugs for the event hosted by Arlington’s Project DC Events.
To take part in the festivities, drinkers can register online for $15. After 11:59 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday), the price goes up to $20.
The crawl will start at 2:00 p.m., with participants registering at either the Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) or Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) before 5:30 p.m. Crawlers will get a shamrock mug to be refilled at participating restaurants, party favors, St. Patrick’s Day beads and $2 slices at Bronx Pizza (3100 Clarendon Blvd).
The participating businesses are:
- Clarendon Grill
- Clarendon Ballroom
- Mad Rose Tavern
- Whitlow’s on Wilson
- American Tap Room
- Hard Times Cafe
- Spider Kelly’s
- Hunan One Restaurant
- Mister Days
- IOTA Club & Cafe
- Don Tito
Last year, thousands of revelers packed the streets all day, including one woman who allegedly tried to visit her husband in the Arlington County jail sans clothing.
— I Love Arlington VA (@ilovearlingtonv) March 17, 2014
(Updated at 5:05 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department live-tweeted Saturday’s Halloween-themed bar crawl in Clarendon, providing Twitter followers with frequent updates, safety tips and photos.
The bar crawl, billed as “The Rise of the Day Drinkers,” ran from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. It was the first bar crawl approved for a permit under the county’s new bar crawl regulations, which are intended to curb drunken criminal activity by providing a larger police presence, at the expense of crawl organizers.
The stepped-up police presence apparently worked. This past weekend’s Halloween-theme was a relatively quiet affair, with only 9 or 10 arrests, according to initial reports. There were no reports of any bar crawl patrons stripping naked, or any other significant incidents, according to police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
ACPD’s live-tweeting highlighted authorities’ efforts to keep everyone safe — from officers making sure long lines outside of bars did not stretch out onto the street to paramedics having a stretcher ready should medical assistance be needed.
The police department’s running commentary also had some lighter moments, including an officer taking a photo with Muppets characters, a joke about finding Waldo, and a reminder that orange could be the new black for bar crawl patrons who choose to drive home while drunk (see below).
Remember to drink responsibly & plan a sober ride home. Over the limit & these costumes can become a reality. pic.twitter.com/38FxQlJFv9
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) November 1, 2014
Photos via @ArlingtonVaPD
Participants are encouraged to wear their spooky and creative costumes to the event on Saturday, November 1. The crawl, dubbed “The rise of the day drinkers,” will take place from 2:00-9:00 p.m.
Tickets currently are available online for $15, and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $20. The fee gets participants a souvenir mug, food and drink specials at bars in Clarendon and a raffle entry. There will be prizes for the most festively dressed participants.
Bars along the crawl include Whitlow’s, Mad Rose, Clarendon Ballroom, Bracket Room and Hunan One. A full list of participating bars can be found on the Clarendon Halloween Crawl website.
It’s the latest high-profile police incident involving a bar crawl attendee in Arlington. In March a Reston woman allegedly showed up naked at the Arlington Magistrate’s Office and demanded that she be allowed to visit her husband, who was arrested earlier that day. Both had attended the St. Patrick’s Day-themed Shamrock Crawl, according to police.
The drunken antics of bar crawl attendees continue to irk residents of the neighborhoods around Clarendon. Some are calling for additional restrictions, or even an outright ban, on bar crawls. On the other hand, supporters say bar crawls are fun events that provide a social outlet for younger residents and a big boost for local businesses.
What, in your opinion, should Arlington policymakers do about bar crawls, if anything? (Assume that reducing the frequency of bar crawls is inclusive of any changes in police staffing you might support.)
There was “chaos” on the streets of Clarendon Saturday night when a naked bar crawl attendee ran from police, hopped in a car and led cops on a high speed chase that ended in a crash.
Just past 8:00 p.m., police say a man who had been participating in the All American Bar Crawl stripped naked in Goody’s (3125 Wilson Blvd) pizza restaurant. The man, described as a black male in his 20s, left his clothes in the restaurant and ran outside, where police quickly gave chase, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The man hopped into a car — police couldn’t say if it was his car — and took off. Police cruisers followed, and chased the drunk man through an adjacent neighborhood. The man then made it back to Clarendon and started going the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, before striking two parked vehicles near the intersection with N. Highland Street, Sternbeck said.
The man — still stark naked — jumped out of the car window and started running, but was soon tased by police and taken into custody, according to Sternbeck. He was taken to Virginia Hospital Center as a precaution, and is expected to be booked at the Arlington County Detention Center tonight on numerous charges including indecent exposure.
A large crowd witnessed the incident, Sternbeck noted. One witness on Twitter said the largely intoxicated crowd that gathered started chanted “USA” as the nude man was detained.
NBC 4 tweeted the following photo of the arrest.
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) June 29, 2014
Photo (top) courtesy Keith Hall
Organizers say “thousands” of patriotic partiers are expected to flock to local watering holes like Clarendon Ballroom, Velocity Five, Bracket Room and Mad Rose Tavern, which are among the 14 participating bars announced so far for the event.
Participants — who are encouraged to dress in red, white and blue — receive specials at each bar, a “signature freedom mug,” “patriotic party beads,” $2 pizza slices at Bronx Pizza and raffle tickets.
This is not the first year for the All American Bar Crawl, which is being held in advance of the Fourth of July. The event was also held in Clarendon last year.
Arlington County policymakers are currently considering measures to impose additional restrictions or fees on bar crawls.
A month after a particularly rowdy St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl this year, the county announced in April that it’s exploring the idea of establishing new regulations for pub crawls, perhaps also providing a bigger police presence and making crawl organizers pay for the police and medical support.
Meanwhile, the county has created an online survey, asking those who live and work in Arlington for their thoughts on setting a time limit for bar crawls; a cap on the number of bar crawls per year, per month or per neighborhood; and who should pay for police, fire department and street cleaning services.
The one area where there is nearly universal agreement: bar crawl organizers, not the county, should pay for the added police, fire/EMS and street cleaning services.
There was also a free-response section for “other views and suggestions” on bar crawls. Opponents of the bar crawls — who seem to outnumber those who support such events in the survey’s “responses” section — didn’t hold back.
Excerpts of some of their responses:
- “Bar crawl participants should be prohibited from entering residential areas adjacent to the commercial area where the bar crawl occurs, unless they (1) can demonstrate they live there, or (2) have parked there and pass a breathalyzer test.”
- “Beer bottles in my yard; drunks found sleeping on neighbors’ porches… I think the hours of the crawl need to be limited… much, much too long.”
- “‘Bar crawling’ needs to be sharply curtailed. The noise and public urination at these events lowers property values, resulting in lower tax revenues for the County. Even worse, the binge drinking that occurs at these events can prove fatal to the drinker.”
- “I am shocked that our county board promotes public drunks and for MONEY no less… What kind of a reputation does that render?”
- “Organizers should need to obtain a license/permit to hold such an event, and that should cost money. “
- “We are not U St (I don’t want to live there), so an overabundance of large professional bar crawls would not be pleasant for those who have lived here for a while. I would be more in favor of an event where they shut down streets where the crawls are located, hopefully making it safer for both drivers and revelers.”
- “I think these are totally inappropriate events. They encourage binge drinking, littering, public obscenity, assault, and other bad behavior. I have seen a group of 40-50 bar crawlers walking through my neighborhood (Lyon Park), directly in front of my yard in broad daylight. They were drinking from solo cups, swearing loudly and littering — and this was only on the way TO the event.”
- “We already have bar crawl participants throwing up on lawns in the Clarendon area. It is unfair to expect people who live nearby to absorb this level of nuisance. Bar crawls also model bad behavior for Arlington teens.”
- “My main concern with bar crawls isn’t the crawls themselves (although they have an annoying impact on parking availability), its the long-term impact they may have on the character of the business’ that move into the area. There’s been a trend over the last few years for restaurants to close down and be replaced by ‘sports bars’ and other establishments dedicated solely to getting smashed.”
- “Residents with or without kids should not have to put up with the additional late night noise and other nonsense (fights, vomit, public urination, black outs requiring paramedics, petty property crimes) that can reasonably be expected to happen from time to time when dealing with groups of drunken pub crawlers.”
- “The police and fire/EMS are busy enough on regular weekends and holidays without adding unnecessary insanity and work. Actually, the more I think about this, the more I think we don’t need bar crawls at all. They’re more of a headache than they’re worth.”
There were also comments generally supportive of bar crawls:
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.
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.