Don’t get me wrong, a pub crawl can often be a recipe for a good night out. Like a Mecca towards inebriation, crowds of students travel from pub to pub seeing how many pints or Tequila shots they can down, causing a momentary storm amongst the locals and then running off never to be seen again.
The strolls from pub to pub also allows you to get to know your fellow (sometimes literal) crawlers, in a way that you wouldn’t when your conversation is drowned out and distorted by an overly-zealous baseline.
‘Want to get a drink?’
The constant reshuffling provides an opportunity to elude the conversational drain that you got stuck talking to in the first pub, whereas in your usual one-stop pub situation this might often be the fatal sentence for a shit night.
The fun is also heightened when you add costumes into the equation. Pub golf, for instance, is a great excuse to bring out the tartan trousers that have been banished to the back of your wardrobe since you promised Dad you would join Golf Soc during Freshers’ Week. Throw in a healthy dose of tweed and a flat-cap and you’ll come out looking totally fly. Or, at least, you’ll all look equally twattish. Better still is the Otley Run, an infamous Leeds pub crawl traditionally done in costume. Hosting such an event allows you to importune your friends to dress in the theme of whatever tickles your fancy, from Alvin and the Chipmunks to Zookeeper and Animals (hey, whatever give you a power trip on your birthday).
But such frivolity hinges on one particular thing: timing. The obvious issue between October and January is that the weather in England is almost guaranteed to be abysmal. No one wants to spend two hours painting their face as the Joker, only to see their hard efforts slide down their face in bloody drops of rain all night. Equally, for the good half of the female Crawlers, who will insist on dressing as a particularly scantily-clad Cinderella, a twenty minute walk to the next pub will not be well-met, not with any level of beer jacket.
Another key issue is the usual festivity that surrounds October-December, festivals that are strategically timed to get us all through the bleakness of winter. Halloween, for instance, is a great time to dress up, but not for a pub crawl. The taxi drivers of student cities have enough to contend with, swerving past drunken Scooby Doos and Harry Potters, without being confronted with the terror of a blood-covered ‘Hannibal’ stumbling into the road in front of them. In fact, no one who has seen Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video wants to be confronted with a horde of people resembling and acting like zombies during their walk home.
And then there’s Christmas time.The joy of gift-giving and a few weeks off work is enough to make anyone’s cup runneth over: there is no need for an escapist, indulgent booze up. But more pertinently, no one wants to see Santa drunk. Ditto his elves. It’s like the staff of Pret-a-Manger going on strike for a week: our society just isn’t ready for it.