BY VINCE PERSTAD
What started out as a bar crawl of no more than 35 people in last September has now turned into a sensation that attracts over 75 people at a time. Downtown Crawlers offers “pub and grub” crawls featuring a variety of themes.
“When people hear the word ‘crawl’ they automatically associate it with alcohol,” Downtown Crawlers host Thomas Neuert said. “We have ideas like doing sport crawls, where we have a bus that takes people to three different locations, for example, where they participate in different sports like boxing, spinning, kick boxing, etcetera.”
Ticket prices for these events range anywhere from $20-$30 depending on the crawls and where the crawls end up going.
“We wanted to try something new,” Neuert said. “We decided to have a crawl the last Saturday of every month, which allows us to make them accordingly for the holidays — Pumpkin Spice Crawl, Chocolate Mint Crawl, etcetera.”
The bar crawl that took place this past Sunday began at the District Tavern in downtown Tampa and took approximately 65 people on a tour to five mystery locations, all within an hour drive.
The bus ride itself included entertainment with music of all sorts, open-bar and raffling events from the bar crawl hosts with tickets to Busch Gardens, Sea World, soccer games and more.
The first location, the Canopy, was a rooftop bar overlooking the St. Petersburg bay area. When you arrive at any of these locations, all you have to do is show them your pink wrist band for an array of drink specials.
Neuert said he eventually wants to set up a UT crawl specifically for students 21 or over as well as an event involving the under age population.
“One of the best parts with these crawls is that every crawl we have, there is always a fundraising event going on for charity,” Neuert said. “It isn’t all about coming out and getting slammed on the weekends, but rather having a great time with new people as well as helping those who are in need of it.”
After two hours at the Canopy, the hosts of the crawl moved the crowd to the next location, which was the Moonlight Bar, right below the Canopy.
The hosts were always open minded in making sure that the crawlers were having a great time; no one was left without a smile on their face as a result of the constant mingling.
“I wanted to try something that had never been done before,” managing director of District Magazine Eddy Suyak said. “That’s why we choose these five mystery locations and then have everyone participate because it’s such a fun time when no one knows where they are going at first.”
The crawls typically last about seven or eight hours, depending on where the final bar is located. The ride back to the District Tavern in downtown included an open bar.
“We realized that in the beginning of the crawl, no one is being too social with each other because they are all strangers pretty much,” Suyak said. “However, during the course of the day it’s absolutely awesome to see everyone talking to each other and just having a great time together; that’s why we do this.”
Once the crawlers arrived back at their start location, they were greeted with more drink specials as well as an open buffet and time to socialize.
“The amount of people have increased dramatically since the first crawl and even then we were surprised about the numbers,” Neuert said. “We never have less than 60 for every crawl.”
Currently, Neuert and Suyak are coordinating the plan for the UT crawl that will hopefully take place sometime this semester. Their next crawl will take place on Saturday, March 4. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
Vince Perstad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org