Trying Out San Francisco’s Pub Crawl Event

I logged in to Couchsurfing.com to find out about local events in San Francisco and found a recurring event below:

San Francisco Pub Crawl Invite Couchsurfing

 

Of course, I decided to join the event, which really got me excited as it is a good opportunity to meet new people, locals and travelers/backpackers alike, in San Francisco, an international city and tech hub. I asked a friend to tag along as I am not really that confident when I go alone and meet lots of new people for the first time, so having a buddy with me boosts my confidence big time. ;)

We went last 8th July, 2015. It was a chilly night. We arrived at the first pub named The NorthStar at around 9PM only to be greeted by a packed street parking. The area was very close to Italian restaurants and bars and The NorthStar doesn’t have its own private parking space, hence the reason for this, so be sure to arrive early to avoid the hassle.

First Stop: The North Star Bar & Cafe at 1560 Powell St, San Francisco, CA.

First Stop: The North Star Bar & Cafe at 1560 Powell St, San Francisco, CA.

Parking issue solved (after about 30 minutes), we headed straight to The NorthStar’s entrance where we were greeted by an old hippie man letting us know of that night’s pub crawl and rock-paper-scissors tournament. We were then led to a mini front desk where we were met by the pub crawl organizer who took our email addresses and the $5 entrance fee, which includes a tournament score card and a coupon sheet which’ll save you a lot,  as you can get a beer and/or a shot for $2.50 and $1, respectively, compared to the regular prices (you can only get a coupon if you join the pub crawl event from the starting point). If you run out of coupons, you can easily buy another sheet from the organizer.

The coupon card includes 3 beer coupons and 2 shot coupons. You can buy another for $5 in case you run out of coupons.

The coupon card includes 3 beer coupons and 2 shot coupons. You can buy another for $5 in case you run out of coupons.

At first, we were kinda out of place as groups of people were having their own chit chats so my buddy and I decided to enjoy our first beer for the night – Miller Lite! Looking around, all the words in the invite made sense, people were speaking in different languages and accents, some were locals, some were budget travelers/backpackers staying at nearby hostels. Cool!

We moved deep into the pub where the billiard table is and tried to figure out how the rock-paper-scissors tournament scorecard works in low light, when two people from Australia approached us and asked to look at our score card.

Turns out, you’ll have to go around the bar and try to find someone who matches the picture on your card. You’ll then compete one-on-one (with other people as your adjudicator) – whoever wins gets to keep the opponent’s tab (a sticker from the loser’s scorecard to put on your scorecard proving you’ve won the game) for that particular game. The same cycle repeats: you look for another person as you cannot compete with the same person again, allowing one to meet as much people and participate in friendly chit-chats (it’s up to you if you want to go further in your chit-chat). ;)

This is the tournament scorecard (rules above). If you are planning on going sometime in the future, try to familiarize yourself with the card as it becomes a challenge to read & understand all of it with all the distractions and low light.

This is the tournament scorecard (rules above). If you are planning on going sometime in the future, try to familiarize yourself with the card as it becomes a challenge to read & understand all of it with all the distractions and low light.

At the end of the night, the person with the most number of tabs compete in a $50 bar tab in a single-elimination tournament. Sounds like a lot but it is actually fun and the game and your drink are the ice breakers and allow you to shake all of your inhibitions away and engage yourself on meaningful and cultural discussions with strangers from different countries and all walks of life.

After 1.5 hours at The NorthStar, the organizer will ask everyone to gather outside to proceed to the next bars in an orderly (and tipsy) fashion. You then get to continue your games and interrupted discussions in the next three bars, namely The Square Bar & Kitchen, Gino & Carlo, and finally, Tope Bar where the organizer leaves and lets the crowd party the night away. But oh, you can only party the night away ’til 2AM as per California laws. ;)

As for me, it was really a surreal experience to be able to talk to strangers from different countries while getting tipsy (and the discussion gets crazier with every drink). The initial uneasiness of going alone to an event started to fade away as my buddy spoke with other foreigners on the next table. To sum all the nationalities of people I’ve had a chat with, they were: Americans from different states, Polish, German, French, Australian, Bangladeshi, Indian, South Korean, Russian, Irish, English.

Below are some of the photos I took of this event:

Discounted price list exclusive to pub crawl guests at The North Star Cafe.

Discounted price list exclusive to pub crawl guests at The North Star Cafe.

Inside the packed North Star Cafe. I can still hear all the noise and the chit chats just by looking at this.

Inside the packed North Star Cafe. I can still hear all the noise and the chit chats just by looking at this.

Vintage cash register. Yes, they still use it. So old school!

Vintage cash register. Yes, they still use it. So old school!

San Francisco Pubcrawl North Star Bar Beer Pub Crawl

San Francisco Pubcrawl North Star Bar Beer Pub Crawl Billiards

Pub crawl attendees gather to move on to pub # 2.

Pub crawl attendees gather to move on to pub # 2.

Pub crawl goes form a line and move across the neighborhood to the next bar.

Pub crawl goes form a line and move across the neighborhood to the next bar.

Pub # 2: The Square Bar & Kitchen at 1707 Powell St, San Francisco, CA.

Pub # 2: The Square Bar & Kitchen at 1707 Powell St, San Francisco, CA.

San Francisco Pubcrawl The Square Bar & Kitchen Bar Beer Pub Crawl

 

San Francisco Pubcrawl Bar Beer Pub Crawl Shots Tecate

The Square Bar & Kitchen's discounted price list for pub crawl goers (coupon required).

The Square Bar & Kitchen’s discounted price list for pub crawl goers (coupon required).

Pub # 3: Gino & Carlo at 548 Green St, San Francisco, CA.

Pub # 3: Gino & Carlo at 548 Green St, San Francisco, CA.

Final Pub: Tope Bar at 1326 Grant Ave San Francisco, CA.

Final Pub: Tope Bar at 1326 Grant Ave San Francisco, CA.

An inspiring message shown from the wallet of my new German friend.

An inspiring message shown from the wallet of my new German friend.

What happens when it gets late and everyone gets tipsy? Image blurred to protect subjects.

What happens when it gets late and everyone gets tipsy? Image blurred to protect subjects.

Best,

FRUSTRATEDBILLIONAIRE

What are your thoughts? Feel free to Share Your Story, comment, share your tips, or ask a question. Please also like me on Facebook and Twitter! Thank you!

FrustratedBillionaire