The 5th Annual SANTA Monica Pub Crawl too place on Saturday, December 14, 2013. (Facebook/The Official Santa Monica Pub Crawl)
The streets of Santa Monica were packed with inebriated Santa Clauses and matching Mrs. Clauses. Along with reindeer and elves, snowmen and snow women, it was as if characters from every Christmas story ever told had been magically transported to their vacation spot right here in Southern California.
The city of Santa Monica organized the 5th Annual SANTA Monica Pub Crawl (SMPC) and partnered up with the Westside Food Bank to raise money for those in need during the holidays – as well as taking over the city’s bar scene for the night.
The crawl had four different routes that participants were able to follow. For those of you new to the pub-crawl scene, this event offers an opportunity to enjoy classic bar spots and discover new ones with specials on both drinks and food.
I was fortunate enough to start out on the pier at The Rusty Surf Ranch, our designated starting point. The line seemed to move very slowly and the bar was too small to accommodate the patrons. However, once I tasted that first beer, I seemed to be struck by the holiday spirit, (or the alcohol of a cheap beer,) and suddenly I found myself wishing my friends were there with me. That said, my experience at the crawl was a bit of a disappointment because it is definitely a group-driven event, and while most patrons crawled in big groups, I was just there with one friend.
Nevertheless, we moved on to the next location, The Albright, located right next door. The restaurant offered both inside and outside seating, and had heaters to help with the chill. However, we could have done without because most of us already had a jolly glow on our cheeks. The restaurant set up a keg out back and offered wine in front, as well as delicious fish and chips. A member of the staff was taking pictures of the entertainment and posting it on their social media outlets. She was a great sport in dealing with all the drunkenness, and even smiled for a flick for our Instagram. Thanks Kenia!
The bars were rambunctious with chatty and eager patrons, and the streets were alive with the sound of the holidays, and all its rosy glow. There were Christmas carolers out along with the typical Santa Monica crowd. Imagine the Ferris wheel at the pier as the backdrop for a snap shot of a group of handsome Mr. Clauses and unwrapped high heeled presents. The magic was indeed in the air in Santa Monica and the residents seemed to be enjoying the festivities. The regulars at the bars enjoyed the overflow of holiday hues, although I’m sure that the longer wait for a drink was at the very least, a tad annoying.
The starting locations at each route had Santa hats and SMPC 13 t-shirts available for purchase to help raise money for the Westside Food Bank. The entrance fee to the event was $10.00 and increased to $20.00 as the date of the event approached. Each bar had a menu with specials available to those participating in the SMPC, and included shots, beer, food, and well drinks. All the bases were covered at this event, but if you ask me, some free shirts should have been tossed in randomly throughout the event.
In retrospect, my friend and I had a good time. However, this experience deserved to be shared with more than one person. We vowed to return with more reindeer next year and participate in the raffles and the group scavenger hunt. This is a great way to meet new people, enjoy excellent food and cheap drinks.
Most importantly, this event provided an opportunity to help the less fortunate – something we should not forget about during the holiday season.