Booze Banter

45 Hours in LA, The Final Chapter: The Worst Pub Crawl Ever

Molly, our bartender for the night.

Molly, our bartender for the night.

As I mentioned at the end of “45 Hours in LA, Part III“, there were pub crawl rumblings afoot for my last night in town. We knew where we’d be starting the evening’s festivities (Tom Bergin’s Public House in West Hollywood), but the rest of the night was up in the air. Would we head to another bar in West Hollywood? Would we grab an Uber to meet Bino at a bar in Venice Beach for some drinks and live music? At this point in the evening, stops two, three, and maybe four didn’t matter. When Lee, the West Coast Office (WCO), and I left Torrance in a plush, late model Honda Odyssey for our first destination, all we cared about was meeting up with Whisky Guy Rob and securing some prime seating at the bar.

Now I’m no stranger to a pub crawl, but to do them properly, you need rules. Back in March of 2013, we discussed the Proper Pub Crawl Rules that the good people at Esquire pulled together with the help of their All Things Drinking Grand Poobah, aka David Wondrich. Interestingly enough, Esquire’s rules require twelve steps. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t do many pub crawls throughout the year, otherwise, I might need a very different kind of Twelve Step Program.

Rather than the usual blow by blow retelling of what happened during my last night in LA, I thought that I would instead rate our pub crawl based upon Esquire’s Twelve Step Guide. Each step will be worth 5 or 10 points which means that a perfect score will add up to 100 points. Here goes…

  • Step 1 – Theme: Whether it’s hitting all the newest cocktail bars or determining who makes the best manhattan, a sense of common purpose, is essential to maintaining focus. 5 points
    • Our Results: Given that we didn’t plan anything beyond meeting at Tom Bergin’s, I would say that we failed miserably on this one.
    • Score: 0 out of 5
  • Step 2 – Scope: Four to five bars is plenty to schedule. There may be additional targets of opportunity, of course, as the evening develops. 10 points
    • Our Results: This is a tough one to judge. We basically stayed at Tom Bergin’s all night, but the WCO and I did stop at Hey 19 for a final drink (or two) at 1am, which brought our total number of bars visited by exactly half our party to two.
    • Score: 2.5 out of 10
  • Step 3 – Transportation: In order of desirability: walking, hired car and driver, taxi (where street hails are quick), public transit (not bus), taxi (where you have to call), bus, horse and carriage. 10 points
    • Our Results: Uber was the plan. We stuck to it.
    • Score: 10 out of 10
  • Step 4 – Rendezvous: Don’t meet up at a bar. People will be late, and next thing you know you’re half lit before the crawl has even started. 5 points
    • Our Results: Three of us convened at The WCO’s house (Lee, myself, and of course The WCO) while Rob waited for us at Tom Bergin’s, which I believe is walking distance to his apartment.
    • Score: 4 out of 5


  • Step 5 – Passengers: Keep your group small. Herding time increases exponentially with every additional drink. Two to four people gives you the right balance between sociability and maneuverability. 10 points
    • Our Results: The core group was four with the possibility of a fifth if we decided to hook up with Bino.
    • Score: 10 out of 10
  • Step 6 – One and Done: One drink per person at each bar. Do not weaken, particularly late at night. 10 points
    • Our Results: I had two beers and two Irish Whiskeys during my five hours at our first destination, and I had two more whiskies at our second destination. The other guys probably had about the same.
    • Score: 0 out of 10
  • Step 7 – Avoid Entangling Alliances: You’re on a mission. You will meet people who want to join you. They may follow, but they’re not part of your group and may delay or divert your course. 5 points
    • Our Results: We met numerous people throughout the course of the night. Some were friends of Rob and The WCO, while others were just random people that we met while holding court (and our ground!) at the end of the bar. We chatted. We drank. They moved on.
    • Score: 5 out of 5
  • Step 8 – Entropy and Inertia: Alcohol accelerates entropy and breeds inertia. This means you will stay longer at each succeeding bar than at the one before. Plan accordingly. 10 points
    • Our Results: Did I mention that we stayed at our first stop for 5 hours?
    • Score: 0 out of 10
Tom Bergin 5

The Irish Reuben.

  • Step 9Eat: Real food. Make dinner – by which we don’t mean bar snacks – your second or third stop. Watch the wine. You also might want to stop tweeting. 10 points
    • Our Results: Irish Reuben. Shoestring French Fries. Shepherd’s Pie. Brussels Sprouts. Fish and Chips. Bread Pudding. We ate all that and probably a few more things. Deliciousness was in ample supply.
    • Score: 10 out of 10
  • Step 10 – Unscheduled Stops: These are the worst and the best. After three new cocktail bars, a shot of bourbon in a dive you happen to be walking by seems like a good idea. To us, anyway. 5 points
    • Our Results: There were no unscheduled stops because there were no additional stops. Well, there was that one unplanned stop for a nightcap, but I’m not going to count that against us.
    • Score: 5 points
Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout

Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout

  • Step 11 – Drinks: Best start strong and end weak – get the brown and stirred drinks early and the sours and fizzes later. Also, there’s no shame in switching to Guinness. 10 points
    • Our Results: This one is a mixed bag. I started with two beers and then switched to Irish Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, and Mellow Corn. Since I paced myself throughout the night and never felt like I overindulged, I’d say I followed the rule. The other guys mostly drank whisky with lots of water chasers like the experienced drinkers that they are. This was most definitely not amateur hour.
    • Score: 10 out of 10
  • Step 12 – End Times: It’s always better to go home with a portion of your sobriety intact, even if it means suspending planned activities. So, at least, we’ve been told. 10 points
    • Our Results: Refer to Step 11. Like I said, this was definitely not amateur hour.
    • Score: 10 out of 10
  • Total Score: 66.5 out of 100

If my memory serves me correctly, a 66.5 is equivalent to a D on the high school grading scale. While we may have failed miserably as far as Pub Crawls go, does that mean the entire evening was a failure? Au contraire Mes Amis!

While we didn’t bar hop that night, arriving early and staying late at Tom Bergin’s allowed us to watch the ebb and flow of customers throughout the night. When we arrived, it was very much an after work crowd. Then things got quiet for a bit between 8 and 10 until it picked up again when the “late shift” stumbled in. Watching the crowd demographics shift over the course of an evening as we chatted, ate, and drank was great fun. Factor in that we had prime seating with a great view of both sides of the bar and a superb bartender that was taking excellent care of us, and you now know why we denied our pub crawl urges and simply stayed put. It would have been fun to Uber our way to Venice Beach or some other LA location, but sometimes you just have to embrace the vibe and live in the moment.

3 replies »

  1. Glad you left out that part while we were waiting for our Uber car for the ride home and that True Detective-type shootout started on Fairfax and I tripped trying to take down those Uzi-carrying thugs. The rain of gunfire from all directions almost made me spill my cocktail when I stumbled over that dead Warzistani drug lord. I’ll never get that blood out of my Chucks. Grumble.

    Liked by 1 person

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