News & Politics

Is Arlington Without Bar Crawls Even Arlington at All?

Photograph via iStock.

Arlington has not hosted a proper bar crawl since March 2018, ARLnow reports.  “I think the demand was still there,” Arlington nightlife impresario Scott Parker told the publication, “but the regulations made it too hard for them to turn a profit.”

Those regulations, which required bar owners to pay for the costs of police and cleaning up, followed a spectacular series of arrests and public nuisance initiatives on the part of bar crawlers, nicely summed up by a Washington Post account of a 2014 “Shamrock Crawl,” which attracted 5,000 people to Clarendon:

Police said there were 25 arrests, 10 reports of public urination — including one on a police squad car with officers inside — and an incident involving an inebriated, naked woman who showed up at the county jail to bail out her equally drunk husband. She ended up in jail for the night, too.

Just in case you got distracted by the image of a drunk naked person walking into a jail with a plan to spring a prisoner, please note that someone else actually peed on a cop car that had cops inside it. And they say America doesn’t make anything anymore—goddammit, we still make heroes.

So maybe they couldn’t have lasted forever, the drinking Santas, the golf-themed crawls in Rosslyn, the St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Halloween events that turned the DMV into a DMZ. Sure, the revelers filled bar owners’ pockets as reliably as they filled shrubs with vomit, but let’s face it: people who chanted “USA” after a naked man led police on a high-speed chase on Wilson Boulevard have little place in the new home of Amazon.

Where do they go now, the bros in tank tops and brown flip-flops? The woo-people with their names scrawled on their souvenir cups? The guy who got Tasered while wearing a Pikachu onesie? Arlington may have fewer people booting into its solar-powered trash cans these days, but the cost to its soul is profound.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.