Under pressure, promoter cancels Pacific Beach pub crawl

April 25, 1996 No Comments

RAY HUARD. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Apr 25, 1996. pg. B.12.2.

“P.B. Pub Krawl” is what the promoter was calling a Pacific Beach bar-hopping party planned for Saturday.

“Drink & Krawl, Don’t Drive,” the organizer said while promoting the event with a flier featuring blurred letters at the top and a fallen-down stick figure grasping a foaming beer mug in the center.

Get falling-down drunk is the real message of the party with its discount beer, shots and drink specials, said City Councilman Byron Wear, whose 2nd District covers Pacific Beach.

“This kind of event is not in the best interests of the community and it encourages the irresponsible consumption of alcohol,” Wear said. On Monday, he called on the promoter, City Event Staff Services, to cancel the crawl.

On Tuesday, the company did just that after the five participating pubs pulled out under pressure from Wear and others, said Allyson Ott. She organized the crawl for City Event, a security firm that expanded into party promotions.

The pressure included an April 16 letter sent by Gene Barnes, the district administrator of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to bar owners. He warned that participating pubs risked being cited for serving alcohol to “obviously intoxicated patrons/ participants.”

Barnes said that complaints from the community prompted the warning letter. And the advertising flier is contrary to state policy of promoting responsible drinking, he said.

“The entire ad promotes the intemperate use of alcoholic beverages,” Barnes said.

Moose McGillycuddy’s Pub and Cafe general manager Scott Young said he pulled out because of bad publicity.

“We made a mistake,” Young said. “We’ll never have a pub crawl again. We try to be proactive with the community, and then something like this gets all the bad press.”

But Ott, the organizer of the crawl, said that Wear and others don’t understand that the event, which was to start at 2 p.m., was meant to discourage drinking and driving.

Along with discount drinks, people who bought the $12 tickets were entitled to bargain rates at four beach hotels, shuttle service to and from San Diego State University, 20 percent discount taxi fare from Yellow Cab, $2 buffet meals and $1 appetizers at participating pubs, she said.

Most of that was listed on the fliers, which were distributed in Pacific Beach and at SDSU, Ott said.

“I’m saying, `Hey, look guys, you can drink and have a good time but don’t drive’,” Ott said. As part of the crawl, 20 security guards would have been provided to prevent rowdiness, she said.

Using the blurred letters and fallen-down stick figure on the ad flier was a mistake for which she apologizes, Ott said. But at first she said she thought ” `this is kind of cute,’ ” In retrospect, “I guess it does encourage people to drink.”

While Ott said a similar pub crawl City Event sponsored in December went off without problems or complaints, Barnes said owners of some nonparticipating pubs complained to his office about rowdiness.

San Diego police spokesman Bill Robinson said he could not recall if police got any complaints then.

Wear said he can’t speak for past events, but “we need a new policy direction and it’s not going to be business as usual in regards to consumption of alcohol on Garnett Avenue.”

Some of the proceeds from the P.B. Pub Krawl would have gone to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Ott said.

But MAAD executive director Bonnie Helander said she was “aghast and horrified” by the advertising flier. She said MAAD, which campaigns against drinking and driving, did not want its name associated with the event.

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