15 Best Cities For Bar Crawls

Bar crawls are the sort of magnificent debauchery that encourage a fun night out with a sense of purpose: Exploration! While bar crawls might feel completely American in spirit, they actually got their start across the pond. While there's some debate as to who can properly claim the bar crawl, be it England, Ireland, or Scotland, there is no doubt that Anglo-Saxon pub culture is what brought about the earliest bar crawls (via Buffalo Nashville). As legend has it, at least over at Buffalo Nashville, in 1645 a group of notorious party boys drank one tavern out of their stock. So, they decided to take their horses over to the next village, and then the next, and the next. Ultimately, the boozy boys lost their horses and had no choice but to "crawl" their way home. BeSocial Scene notes that the storied tradition has only flourished in contemporary times with tourism and travel easier than they have ever been before. It seems like the more Americans go abroad, the more they come back with affection for the bar crawl.

So, really the bar crawl is an import that's made for a wonderful addition to home. They're a great way to discover not only new neighborhoods but new cities. They offer a sort of tapas of the nightlife: The broadest platter of both drinks and venues. Just keep in mind that you probably make your morning plans the next day whatever they may be. 


What better place to enjoy a drink with a long history than in Boston? In fact, the city with a lot of history sometimes even prefers to pair history and drinking from time to time. Boston Crawling offers a guided history pub crawl along the Freedom Trail. For those unfamiliar, the Freedom Trail is a collection of meeting points – including churches, homes, and even a ship – that were pivotal to the American Revolution. So, as you tip your glass, you can also tip your hat to the birthplace of the revolution, and the history behind it.

For those looking for something more contemporary, City Brew Tours allows for a guided bar crawl of the city's craft breweries. For beer enthusiasts, this may be too good an opportunity to pass up! This is especially given that the crawl provides a shuttle service from pub to pub to ensure you get to all the best watering holes as easily and safely as possible. Whether taking a look at the past, or vibing with the trends of the present, Boston is the unique location where you can do it both ways, and do it well.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is a city that may come across as tightly wound with little to offer beyond history, museums, and cherry blossoms in the spring. But, respectfully, those unfamiliar should familiarize themselves with D.C.'s food scene, which is described by Eater as diverse, imaginative, and at the forefront. It's easy to eat well when dining in the nation's capital. It's also just as easy to find a good drink!

When you want to sample some of the city's best, make sure to put Georgetown on your map. As described by the city itself, the waterfront area is lined with picturesque cobbled streets and plenty of options in way of food and retail. If you find yourself wanting to snack between glasses of wine and beer, you can make sure to hit up the ever-popular Georgetown Cupcake. But once the sun sets, the neighborhood lights up with plenty of nightlife opportunities to bring your afternoon bar crawl into the evening. DC Clubbing promises that Georgetown is the perfect place to sample upscale restaurants, bars, and clubs all within walking distance from each other. From morning to noon to night – and perhaps to sunrise, if you're really in the party mood – D.C. offers a chic destination.

New York

Sure, it's no secret that New York has one of the most legendary bar scenes in the world, whatever you're looking for you will find here. Nonetheless, when heading to the concrete jungle it's great to be able to narrow which part of this jungle you actually want to explore. You don't want to waste too much time travelling, and you want to make sure to find an area that is exciting to explore. With these factors in mind, we would be remiss to not mention the East Village. 

The East Village of Lower Manhattan is a vibrant neighborhood with a lot of history: It began as a refuge for poor European immigrants in the 19th century, then developed an active art scene in the 20th century (via Stuytown). To this day, the East Village is Bohemian in spirit with an undeniable artistic flair that offers great bars that serve up a bevy of beverages. Those who are looking for more of an edge, rest assured, according to Time Out, the East Village has plenty going on. The neighborhood was the birthplace of New York's punk scene and today still hosts a collection of different punk and dive bars alike. If you're looking to have a drinking atmosphere that ranges from the beatnik to the Buzzcocks, the East Village is the place to go.


Pittsburgh is not on a lot of people's maps and that's a shame. Despite its reputation as being a city on the decline with little to offer, it has consistently been voted as one of the most livable cities due to many factors including infrastructure, cost of living, job security, green spaces, and even walkability (via Livability). Okay, so maybe you're not ready to pack up your suitcases and get that U-Haul on the road to the 'Burgh, but you should definitely pack your suitcase and bring a couple of friends along for the ride. If the city is great to live in, it's also great to visit.

While the city itself is pretty large, there's a major consensus that when drinking in Pittsburgh the place to go is South Side. One Pittsburgh tourism site observes that the neighborhood is a verified cornucopia of drinking experiences: It's here that you'll find cocktail-oriented speakeasies, dive bars, and classic pubs all coexisting in the same district. The source promises that in between glasses and pints, live music and good eats are easily available. South Side is a wonderful way to discover just how much the most livable city truly likes to live.


Similar to Pittsburgh, the Midwest has been experiencing a serious revitalization in the past decade. Among the rising stars of the region is Milwaukee. Vogue even claimed it as both the Midwest's "coolest and most underrated" city and cited the Old World charm, gorgeous surroundings, and unexpected liberalism as only a few selling points for Wisconsin's largest city. One man interviewed in the article also notes that Milwaukee is currently young – with a lot of transplants from other cities like Nashville, Portland, and Austin – who found a useful exuberance that they haven't experienced in a while. For a lot of people, Milwaukee is simply the place to be right now.

So those looking to see what the hype's all about are likely to be impressed, especially in terms of nightlife. Vogue notes that Milwaukee has long been a major brew spot, which has carried over into a unique and highly localized bar scene. The city's Old World Third provides a good mix of both old and new for those exploring the city. The neighborhood features, as promised by the name, a mix of classic German beer halls and pubs. Really, what makes for a better drinking experience than one that's inspired by the heartland of beer? The site promises that there are enough modern bars and even music venues to offer a night out – one that can traverse both time and geography while remaining solidly Milwaukee in atmosphere.


Pizza is what first comes to mind when you think of Chicago, but the city has plenty to offer in terms of merriment. So much so in fact, that one of its bar crawls has landed in pop culture fame, or infamy, depending on who you ask. The 12 Bars of Christmas, affectionately known as TBOX, is a Chicago tradition that has been held for 26 years, excluding one pandemic-induced hiatus (via Eater). 

The bar crawl is, simply put, massive. Anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 attendees buy tickets to don their gay apparel and make their way to the 10:30 "opening" ceremonies, for the crawl's traditional cereal shot at 10:30 in the morning (via Eater). The entire crawl takes place in Wrigleyville, a hip Chicago neighborhood, simply packed with – you guessed it – bars. The bar crawl lasts until 7 p.m. and encompasses more than 30 bars with many different mapped routes, it is almost like the music festival of bar crawls. A quick guide from Chicago Magazine notes that this is a yearly tradition that a lot of Chicagoans love to hate: You're either in the crowd or trying to avoid it as best you can. The site notes that each year has a different theme, though the baseline is to festive dress, and participants receive discounts on their drinks and "rewards" for completing the whole day. For a Christmas tradition like no other, head over to Chi-town.


Asheville is a sweet North Carolina city located in the mountains and is considered by Lonely Planet to be the "most surprising" Appalachian city. The travel site describes the relatively low-key city as existing at a crossroads. It's a relatively isolated city surrounded by the "ethereal" beauty of the Appalachian mountains: The small city is lively, and it's not unusual to hear buskers playing traditional bluegrass on the streets. At the same time, Asheville has come to develop trendy and modern restaurants that offer up some of the most innovative cuisines you'll find on the East Coast. It's no wonder that, as per Lonely Planet, the city has come to be beloved by locals, tourists, and internationals alike.

Fittingly, the bar scene is just as diverse. The city is known for its local brews, which can all be traced back to one man: Oscar Wong (via Explore Asheville). Wong, an engineer who relocated to the city in 1994, started a home-brewing business that eventually laid the groundwork for dozens of local breweries to open in just about every style imaginable according to the site. Since Wong's initial opening, Asheville has been dubbed "Beer City USA," where enthusiasts can enjoy multiple beer festivals, venues, tours, cuisines, and yes, crawls. Those who would like a harder edge to their bar crawl will not be disappointed! Eating Asheville promises that mixologists at bars and restaurants in the city are providing mouthwatering concoctions made with innovation and the best ingredients at hand.


While many may come to Memphis for Graceland, there's plenty to do in this groovy city after dark too. The official Memphis travel website recommends one particular area to hit up as soon as the sun goes down: Beale Street. Cited by the same site in a different article as one of Tennessee's biggest and most sought-after destinations, you'll know you've reached the right location as soon as you feel cobblestones at your feet and live music in your ears. Acoustically, you'll get a little bit of everything here: Blues, gospel, rock 'n roll, R & B, among countless others will play faintly as you wind your way through the gorgeous neon lights of downtown Memphis.

Similarly, the site notes that in terms of drinking venues, you'll find just as many options. The site assures that adventurous crawlers will find no shortage of treasures on their travels: Saloons, speakeasies, locations with live music and ghost stories, converted coach houses, and even surviving smoker's bars are only some of the gems. Memphis has Southern flair and an undeniable cool factor; it's certainly a vibe worth grooving to.


Atlanta is never short on good food and vibes: The Southern city is just as lively as it is yummy. When deciding where to go in the ATL, there is no shortage of options. There's something there for everyone. Live music, elegant and elevated, laid-back and comfortable, and grungy yet funky are options on the table for those who are looking to crawl through Atlanta.

Of all the neighborhoods to visit, make sure to make your way to the Old Fourth Ward. The birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this trendy neighborhood has a lot of history backing it (via Discover Atlanta). Those who are looking to walk their way through the ward will be happy to start off at the Georgia Beer Garden where they have the choice of hundreds of local beers that can be sipped on in that sweet Southern sunshine. From there on, there's the lion's share of hip and trendy bars to explore with a good group of friends. But while picking from the cream of the crop, you'd be mistaken to miss out on the incredibly named Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping-Pong Emporium, otherwise known as Church (via Atlanta Magazine). Camp in nature and good in drink, Church focuses interestingly less on the fare and more on the atmosphere. As Atlanta Magazine notes, this is the place where you order a cheap beer or wine, put the phone down, and rock up to the ping-pong table.

New Orleans

New Orleans is a city like no other, what with its laidback yet lively vibe. Of course, when thinking of partying in NOLA, Mardi Gras is probably what first comes to mind. But year-round, the city is a perennial beauty that's great to explore beyond Fat Tuesday. The French Quarter, otherwise known as the Vieux Carré, as paraphrased from the New Orleans tourism site, is old in age and young at heart. The charming district offers reimagined French markets and restaurants, Southern delights, endless bars, and curbside parties, brimming with provisions. When feasting on all the goodies that NOLA has to offer, one never runs the risk of being bored.

Unlike other cities, New Orleans leans heavily into cocktails. After all, it's believed that the American cocktail scene actually got its start in the city with the incomparable Sazerac, according to Time Out. This may feel like playing with fire on a bar crawl, especially given that the French Quarter spans some 85 square blocks according to Hotels.com. There's certainly a right way to do it, and certainly, there are worse problems in life than balancing lovely cocktail bars between old-school jazz clubs. Nonetheless, New Orleans offers bar crawlers to let their hair down with a call to action: Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Austin is no longer a Texan city that no one's heard of. Rather on the contrary, it seems that visitors can't make it to this quirky city of the Deep South quickly enough! Forbes even goes so far to claim that Austin is among one of the most exciting cities at the moment: with the city's many burgeoning industries, young and creative demographics, as well as its free-spirited energy, it's no wonder that the city has made a name for itself.

Those coming over for a drink may not exactly have these selling points in mind, but rather the city's status as the booziest city in the Lonestar State (via Texas Hill Country). While this is probably concerning for the longevity of those who live in the city permanently, for those coming with the explicit purpose to organize a bar crawl, well, there are certainly a lot of areas to choose from. The East Side of Austin is one of the city's most diverse districts, and certainly a place of refuge for foodies. Do Awesome Stuff in Austin believes that the biggest problem in dining and drinking there isn't so much as finding a place but rather narrowing it down. Just glancing at the district, you'll see that true to Austin fashion you'll have your pick from chic cat-themed bars with flavored whipped foam topping their beers to classic Texan joints and comedy clubs. True to nature, wherever you land, Austin bars will keep it fresh and funky.


Boulder is a popular city at the moment, as people gravitate to the Colorado city that boasts having all the perks of a big city while maintaining all the charm of a small town (via Labor Jack). While many choose to move to the city for its natural location and outdoor lifestyle, there is still a bit of a party atmosphere to enjoy at 1,655 meters above sea level.

Really, in no other place than the ever-rugged yet refined Boulder would techies develop a "beer trail" for urban hikers to take in stride. When hitting the town in Boulder, there's consensus that Pearl Street is undeniably the place to go. With five stops, this isn't the most intense beer crawl, but for a leisurely day, or couple of days, it's perfect. The "trail" forms a loop to conveniently bring you back to where you've started. Boozy hikers will enjoy the unusual luxuries of chicken joints laden with whiskey and western-style Pilsners, flights of beers at a craft brewery, wine bars, and a German beer hall. It's a brisk crawl that gives you enough space to enjoy the best of what Boulder has to offer while also getting to know the beauty of the Rockies.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles isn't known for being a walkable city, but, what it lacks in pedestrian-friendly zones it makes up for in legendary nightlife. Discover Los Angeles describes the LA nightlife as a mix of influencers, celebrities, and all those who are looking to enjoy the high life. While everyone has the same goal, there are plenty of different options to explore. The tourism site notes that the bars and drinking locals in the city can be just as legendary as the nightclubs: International hangouts, All-American sports bars, skyline views, and trendy natural mixologies are all on the table.

Shockingly, the car-dominated city does offer up a bar crawl that bon vivants can enjoy on foot. While the city had become largely unwalkable, Vine Pair reports that there's been a pedestrian revolution fueled partially by the city's eclectic cocktail industry. Located in the Historic Core of LA, the district offers patrons their pick from elegant hotel lounges, reimagined historical buildings, and the trendiest bars. The site does somberly note that the district was, or rather is, pretty heavily affected by the ongoing pandemic. While many institutions did not make it through the past years, there are still plenty of others that offer a good night. As Vine Pair makes point to note, this is one of the best ways to enjoy a night out in LA without dreading the Uber bill the next day.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a quiet city that contains multitudes: It was a major part of the LGBTQ movement, home to beatniks, and is now the heart of the tech movement (via U.S. News). The city seems to change and adjust with time, but what remains is that it's a beautiful city worth visiting, day or night. When looking to crawl through San Francisco, there are few districts that are as beloved for the bar fare as the Mission District. As per KQED, the current name comes from the Spanish friars who came to the area in an effort to convert local communities in 1776, long before the state of California ever existed. After the fall of Spanish Empire, Mexican ranchers then settled in the area that would become San Francisco, where wealth and independence would eventually help the city to flourish (via KQED).

The Mission District has the bragging rights of being the historical part of the city that predates the city itself. Despite its history, as described by San Francisco's Drink Guide, the Mission District remains to this day a place for the young. The guide credits this to the area's rich array of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants that speak volumes to the offbeat elegance that defines the city. Say that San Francisco's weather keeps you indoors, don't worry, the neighborhood's Mission Bowling Club will provide some other activities during the crawl.


Portland, Oregon has long been known as that hipster capital that loves all things artisanal and unique. So, it's no surprise that the city has taken a particular shine to craft beer. So much so, that Portland has been heralded as the craft beer capital of the States and a so-called "Beervana" as per Travel Portland. As the tourism site notes, the city has more than 70 breweries and beer festivals, which makes Portland a must-go to destination for beer lovers.

It can then be a bit of a challenge to figure out exactly where to find the best brews the city has on top. Travel Portland points to Mississippi Avenue as the place to turn when designing your Portland beer crawl. The bright district is lined with a specialty light bulb shop, a sprawling garden center, and queer resources, along with countless restaurants in every shape, size, and flavor. The site notes that it's just as easy to sip on craft brews, like at The Rambler which offers said brews in a homey atmosphere: literally! The bar is located in a renovated 1920s bungalow, where guests are welcome to dine in or out. For those who really would like to push their limits, or explore a wider territory, Travel Portland suggests wandering from Mississippi Avenue to Williams, which is just as diverse albeit a little more trendy. Either way, Portland is sure to offer a bar crawl unlike you've experienced before.