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D.C. Liquor Authority Calls Off One of City’s Biggest Bar Crawl Weekends

One bar was expecting to pull in $20,000 from a St. Patrick’s Day-themed event

City Tap Dupont was the registration point for tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl, which typically sells 1,000 tickets a year.
Dan Swartz/City Tap Dupont
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A trio of annual St. Patrick’s Day-related bar crawls have been called off ahead of Saturday, leaving lots of Guinness and corned beef hash on the table at dozens of D.C. establishments while the city goes into lockdown mode to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

D.C.’s liquor authority, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, revoked permits on the eve of each themed crawl in accordance with DC Health’s recommendation this week to cancel large-scale events of at least 1,000 people through the end of the month.

A spokesperson for ABRA says a pub crawl permit has never been pulled before, but license holders for the affected crawls can request approval for them to be rescheduled.

The registration point for one crawl, dubbed the Leprechaun Lap, was City Tap Dupont, which was expecting to haul in $20,000 in sales during the 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. event.

“We are definitely losing some money,” says City Tap Dupont manager Lisa Cascone.

Crawlers were supposed to take over the whole restaurant all day. Dinner will be open to the public again, Cascone says, “but we’re definitely not going to make as much.”

East Coast party planner Lindy Promotions also postponed its Baltimore crawl. As of Friday afternoon, its Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia crawls were all set to go ahead this weekend. Mass registration points in those cities will no longer be active.

The D.C. event typically draws 1,000 drinkers a year. Each $25 ticket includes entry to all eight bars, $3 beers, $5 shots, and leprechaun swag.

Ticket holders were told last night via email to head to new Clarendon beer garden the Lot. They’ll get a waived cover charge and their first drink on the house both tonight and tomorrow. Lindy says its St. Patrick’s Day crawl in D.C. will still happen this year, albeit belated.

“We are definitely going to be doing it — as soon as things calm down a bit and the city gives us a go ahead,” a Lindy rep tells Eater.

This weekend’s cancellations mean this year’s only pre-St. Patrick’s Day crawl in D.C. was the 8th annual Whiskey Walk last weekend, a homegrown bar hop that’s expanded to Philly and New York over the years. Across the river, Old Town’s 7th Annual Port City Pub Crawl was also just nixed for this weekend.

Dupont Circle was also going to be jammed with drunk revelers on Saturday for a Shamrock Crawl spanning 15 bars, with $5 Irish car bombs at each.

A pair of scheduled participants, wine lounge Nero and its week-old sister bar Sign of the Whale, will still run crawl deals for all until 10 p.m. (including $2 Miller Lights and $4 well drinks). Partner Vikram Bhalla tells Eater his new Japanese-Southern fusion spot SOTW will scratch sushi and undercooked seafood offerings for the next few weeks until the virus scare is over. “Because it’s raw fish that needs to be replenished pretty often, and because of low sales, we decided to shelve it until April,” he says.

Another Shamrock stop, Connecticut Avenue newcomer Tokyo Pearl, also still plans to serve specials that day, owner Stephanos Andreou says.

“Of course it’s affecting [business] but it’s better for the overall health of the people, that’s the most important,” he says, of the nixed crawl.

ABRA also pulled permits for U Street’s planned Chase the Green Crawl on Saturday. Pub crawl permits for events in April and beyond remain in effect.

During these unprecedented times, Andreou hopes more landlords help out their restaurant tenants — or “lots of business will shut down.”

“Everyone needs to come together and help each other to overcome this problem. But most importantly we need to do what’s best for everyone’s health,” he says.