While I’ve been of legal drinking age since 1990, as of early 2006 I had only been to 36 bars. But then one night, after one of our monthly poker nights, a new friend called my cell on my way home and asked me to meet him at a nearby bar. It was sitting there, chatting over a beer, that he suggested to me the idea of serial barhopping. I loved the idea, and a few weeks later we gave it our first run. We’ve been at it ever since, as of this update I’ve had drinks at 822 more bars since that conversation.
Being a bit of a nerd, I decided in late 2006 to start cataloging each bar I visited and collecting them together in an online journal. This running log is the result of that effort. For as long as I continue the hobby, each new bar I visit will be added to this site within hours to a couple of days of my visit.
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Don’t you get drunk doing this?
Sometimes, but not usually. I’m a very big guy, and while barhopping I’ll have only 1 beer before moving on to the next place. My size plus the spacing of the drinks means it usually takes a while before I’ll even register on a breathalyzer. These trips are designed so that by the time I’m anywhere near the legal limit, I’m on foot.
Do you do this alone?
Not usually. In most cases the friend who introduced me to this hobby goes with me. This is especially true of all of the longer or multi-day trips. In other instances I’ll be accompanied by another friend, my girlfriend, or one of my brothers.
What’s the most bars you guys have barhopped to in a single day?
On June 15, 2007, we managed to have a drink at 30 bars in a single day. (Yes, technically a few of these were after midnight, but you know what I mean.) Don’t worry, before we were intoxicated we were already on foot! I doubt we will ever break this record, it took a lot out of us.
What some other big barhopping trips have you taken?
The first really big one was on June 17, 2006, walking to 21 bars in Kansas City. (I forgot to take my camera that day, which is why most of the photos are snagged from Google Street View. )
Several additional barhops in the Kansas City region have brought in 12-20 bars each
What was your biggest barhopping trip of all time?
What’s the furthest you have gone out of your way just to visit a certain bar?
Visiting Main Street Station in Milo, IA was a 14 mile detour, and stopping by Darlene’s Place in Ellston, IA was a 15 mile detour, much of which on a road that was technically closed. Meanwhile Fugley’s Bar & Grill in East Lynne, MO was a 16 mile detour involving a dirt road in such bad shape that it briefly became a grass road.
However the clear winner is Grumpy’s Goat Shack in Victor, ID . Driving to that bar ultimately took me 30 miles out of my way and required crossing a mountain range I otherwise would not have crossed.
What is the greatest distance you have traveled from home for no other purpose than to go barhopping?
In November 2010 that record was broken with a trip to Macon, GA — about 884 miles away.
I see you have been to all sorts of bars. Are there any kinds you won’t visit?
I don’t discriminate on category, cleanliness, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. But I do discriminate based upon cover charge. I do not want to pay a cover charge just so I can then pay for a drink and leave.
We have refused to enter a bar over cover changes of as low as $2. In general, we will only pay a cover charge if it’s a bar we really want to see. And even then, only if it does not exceed $5.
Actually, there’s a little bit more. We generally try to avoid corporate chains, dance clubs, and wine bars. We also tend to avoid bars in fine dining restaurants, more as a courtesy to their guests since we have probably been at it for a while.