On May 18, some students will be busy moving out for the summer, but others will be celebrating the end of finals with a few drinks at the 2017 Binghamton Bar Crawl.
Organized by the Off Campus College Council (OC3), Bar Crawl is an annual tradition at BU. Every spring, students go to the bars in Downtown Binghamton and celebrate the end of the semester and the beginning of summer with drinks and friends.
Bar Crawl has its origins as a humble event, when roughly 100 students would get together at the end of the spring semester on State Street, and go from bar to bar, having a drink from each. Gradually, the event started to grow larger, and in the late ’90s, the University’s senior class council began selling mugs to students, and planned the event alongside the bars so that students could get deals on drinks. After doing so, Bar Crawl grew rapidly, and eventually became the event it is today.
This year, OC3 is selling Bar Crawl mugs for $3. Bar Crawl will start at noon and run until 1 a.m. There will be all-day specials for anybody carrying a mug from the 11 establishments participating, all of which are located Downtown. For students with mugs, prices will range from $1 to $3 for unlimited refills of beer, although each bar’s prices and specials may vary.
Unlike recent years, State Street will not be closed during the crawl, as event organizers were unable to secure a permit from the City of Binghamton. The city’s open container law will be strictly enforced, and participants must not be in possession of a container that has alcohol in it outside of the establishments that are licensed to serve drinks. Students are asked to have proper identification on them at all times during the event, as they may be asked to show it at any time. Additionally, bars and other establishments can refuse to sell alcohol to any patrons who appear to be intoxicated.
For many establishments, Bar Crawl serves as the second most highly trafficked event of the year, after Parade Day. Students flock Downtown, drawn by the promise of cheap drinks. Usually, Bar Crawl falls sometime during the middle of finals season; however, this year it will take place on the day after finals, when all students living on campus will be required to vacate their dorms. Because of this, there will likely be fewer students at the bars than usual.
Despite the possibility of a smaller crowd, Bryan Whiting, the owner of Uncle Tony’s, will still have his staff come in early on the morning of Bar Crawl to prepare.
“It’s basically just another weekend day, but longer,” Whiting said. “Generally, it’s a lot of draft beer, but we are also serving other things that are part of our everyday menu, like shots, food and wine.”
Whiting stated that Uncle Tony’s has been participating in the event for as long as he can remember, and that Bar Crawl is always a good time.
“It’s always been a really good event for the students,” Whiting said. “It’s supposed to be a senior event and it’s a reward for their hard work. Everybody has fun, and it’s a really great day.”
Alex Jaffe, co-owner of The Colonial, stated that his bar will also be participating in Bar Crawl. To get ready, he will make sure he has all hands on deck, and has ordered the appropriate amount of supplies to keep the drinks coming.
“We try to have fun that day,” Jaffe said. “It’s a fun day for students, so we try to make sure we’re adequately staffed to keep wait times down, and we serve food. We want everybody to have a couple drinks, blow off some steam at the end of the semester and have a good time at Bar Crawl, since it’s their last day in town.”
Some students were happy that the Bar Crawl will be occurring after finals this year. Nicolas Valentino, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, stated that when he went to the 2015 Bar Crawl, he arrived late because he had a final prior to the event.
“I went freshman year, and it was a good time,” Valentino said. “I’m going to go with some friends and have a good time at the end of the semester.”
The full list of bars participating includes The Belmar Pub, The State House, Callahan’s Sportsman Club, The Colonial, JT’s Tavern, The Rathskeller, Sake-Tumi, Thai Time, Dillinger’s Celtic Pub & Eatery, Tom & Marty’s and Uncle Tony’s