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