The art of running Bar Crawls: Trials and Tragedies
By: Adam Judd
This week I decided to write a blog on how to (and how not to) run bar/pub crawls in Pattaya.
As some of you know, I have run well over a hundred mostly successful bar crawls in my roughly ten years of living and visiting Pattaya and believe myself to be pretty well versed on what makes them a success (and what doesn’t.)
Some of my best moments in Pattaya have come from running these crawls and luckily pretty much none of my worst as I have never had a major disaster (Other than passing out or being distracted by a girl on earlier crawls.).
So I’m going to put together a brief guide for guys who are curious about holding their own crawls and how to unite and bring guys together and make sure people have a good time. The easiest way to do is to go ahead and make numbered points so we will go with that.
1. Advertise the crawl at least a month in advance. Last-minute crawls generally don’t do very well. Guys coming on holiday are always anticipating the vacation and constantly looking for information and tips the closer the vacation is getting.
2. Use multiple advertising sources. Advertise the crawl on Pattaya Addicts, on Facebook, in person, if you are in town at your favorite bar and if you are part of LINE groups or FB groups advertise on there as well.
3. Make the meeting spot for the crawl an easy to find and large space. I used my bar often but this is obviously not a choice for many folks so it’s best to start the crawl at a place that your audience is familiar with. You would think this is an obvious point but too many failed crawls have started at venues that are difficult to find or a bit intimidating for newbies.
4. Create a LINE (Or wechat, etc) group and use that to keep in contact with members of the crawl. In Pattaya, members will often get distracted or want to stay for a minute in a bar for a chat or perhaps an hour of their time…hehe. This ensures people are able to catch up with you throughout the crawl.
5. Try to set a general area for your crawl so you are not running all over the city. This limits the difficulty of transportation or arranging it. If you are planning on mostly walking from bar to bar inform the crawlers ahead of time as not everyone may be physically healthy enough to do a lot of walking. (This has been an issue for me in past bar crawls.)
6. Don’t assume, even if you have been around for years and years, that everyone knows who you are. Either post a photo of yourself or wear an outfit that you clearly describe to the group so they can identify you when they arrive.
7. If you are running the crawl be on the lookout for guys who show up to the venue looking shy or introverted, sitting alone or looking curiously at the group of guys or bar. This is usually a guy looking for the crawl but many guys, especially new guys, are too shy to say hello or approach. You, as the crawl runner, need to make them feel comfortable, approach them and say hello.
8. Don’t overset an agenda. Make it fluid. A few spots that you ensure to go to is a must but a rigid time-set agenda can often take the fun out of the crawl. It’s also difficult to determine how many people will be on a crawl. I have run crawls with four people and forty people. It requires a very different skill set for both of these.
9. If you get a higher turnout then expected assign a second person to be an alternate host or guide. This way the alternate person can take a portion of the guys into a second location while you are in the first and the groups can swap
10. The MAJOR goal of a crawl is bonding and guys getting to meet each other. Don’t panic if guys aren’t going nuts with girls, buying tons of lady drinks, dancing, etc. Although this can make a crawl more entertaining most people come on a crawl not so much for the venues but to meet new wingmen and friends.
11. Don’t be upset if you lose some guys during the crawl. This is normal. Often some guys find that the social aspect and amount of people is not for them and leave. Or they get distracted by the girls.
12. If you have someone disrupting your crawl, do not be afraid to tell them to calm down or leave. I have had guys that were off their head drunk, being obnoxious and bothering the entire crawl and have had to politely tell them to go home as they were pissing off the majority. I have also had a MAJOR cheap charlie who did not want to purchase drinks in any bar and just join the group and piss off several bars because he didn’t order a drink and kept saying the rest of the group was. I make it clear on crawls that everyone needs to order a drink, even if you don’t drink. Thai owned bars especially don’t care that 12 people have had a drink, they care that one person did not.
13. I usually follow the rule ONE AND DONE. This means one drink and you leave. I usually drink the beer at my pace and give about 20 minutes to a venue. If people are having a fantastic time I will usually inform the group we are staying for another drink.
14. Give the group a five-ten minute warning before you leave the venue. Don’t just tell everyone it’s time to go.
15. If you have a large crawl tell one portion of the group it’s time to check bin, then the other portion of the group. A large group of people can overwhelm many small venues and cashiers and cause multiple bill issues.
16. Don’t get too drunk. I have broken this rule but for most people, since you are leading the crawl you will need to be cognizant of your own behavior and be able to track the members of your crawl.
17. Pay attention to guys that seem to not be clicking with everyone else or sitting alone or being ignored by most of the crawl. They are usually shy and just need some encouragement. I will often sit with these guys and warm them up. Nondrinkers especially can feel out of place on a crawl.
18. In regards to an agenda, having a few stops in advance is a good idea. If possible especially with a large group inform the owner/manager you are coming. Send them a instant message or LINE about 30 minutes in advance also as a reminder. Often they will put out food or give rounds of shots for you and the gang and it’s a great way to get people in a party mood.
19. Don’t be afraid to change things up and be fluid, again. If the crawl was beer bars but everyone is bored swing into a gogo or different establishment and get the party going. A quick hands-on gogo or a well-managed bar usually get the energy back.
I have met friends for life and so have many others on bar crawls. I hope these tips help!