The calculations seem simple: 10 bars in eight hours.
“Anyone can really do a bar crawl. Anyone can tell people to go from point A to point B,” said Ray Sheehan, president of Philly2Night and a 2002 Temple graduate.
“What makes it somewhat challenging are all of the different rules, all of the different things we need to do to make sure that we’re complying with the Guinness World Records.”
On May 3 from noon-8 p.m., Philadelphia will attempt to beat the preexisting Guinness World Record for “Most People on a Pub Crawl,” with posters for “The Crawl” sprouting up throughout the city.
“Philadelphia is a very passionate city. We want to be the best at everything that we do,” Sheehan said. “We have a rich nightlife. We have a rich bar scene. We have a ton of facilities that lend themselves to an event like this.”
South Bend, Ind., is also hosting a bar crawl, coined “Bend it till it Breaks,” on the same day in hopes of also breaking the Guinness World Record. Kansas City, Mo., is the reigning champ with 4,885 participants in the event organized by Crawl for Cancer in June 2013.
Young Variety, an organization comprised of young professionals devoted to raising funds for children with disabilities, and the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, which works to improve the conditions for the city’s police officers, are two charities chosen to benefit from Philadelphia’s crawl.
Although the bar crawl will support local charities, it has prompted some dread, due mainly to comparisons to the city’s “Erin Express” St. Patrick’s Day crawl.
Regardless, the event’s website cites more than 150 locations that plan to participate in the crawl – 21 bars participated in Kansas City’s – in areas throughout the city, from venues as large as XFINITY Live! to dives like South Street’s Bob and Barbara’s.
McGillin’s Old Ale House, named one of the “50 Best Irish Pubs in America” by Complex magazine, will participate, but owner Christopher Mullins said because of the frequency of bar crawls and large crowds that stop by McGillin’s on the weekends, no special planning at the bar is necessary. Still, he said expects many participants.
“I have a feeling that we will [break the record],” Mullins said. “It seems like there’s a lot of planning that’s involved.”
Although Sheehan and business partner for the event, Dennis Gaudenzi, president of UpcomingEvents.com, anticipate 15,000 participants, less than 1,000 have joined the crawl’s Facebook event so far.
And although a bar crawl itself seems alcohol-centric, Guinness World Records does not require participants to drink alcohol to beat the record.
“Consumers don’t have to drink a drop of alcohol to participate,” Sheehan said. “But Guinness does require all participants to check in to at least 10 locations in an eight-hour window, and they must drink at least five ounces of an alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage.”
However, there is some fine print.
“It’s a massive event that requires a lot of logistics and coordination and communication,” Sheehan said.
Gaudenzi said the event has been in the works for well over a year, and staff will be using a smartphone app to check participants in at the various locations. He was aware of South Bend’s attempt to break the record, but was surprised to hear the city’s attempts will occur on the same day.
“Philadelphia pride goes a long way,” Gaudenzi said. “With our passion for sports… We feel like there’s a lot of passion behind putting our stake in the ground and setting a world record.”
Kerri Ann Raimo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.