Born a mere four months ago, Stockholm Pub Crawl is already a top-rated activity on TripAdvisor. Take a tour of the city’s nightlife, make some friends and enjoy free drinks all for under 200 SEK. YLC’s Solveig Rundquist has the details.
The term “pub crawl” has been in use since at least the late 1800s, but it took another century, two best buds, and some girl power to make the concept official in Stockholm. Friends Mazdak and James met while studying in England and have traveled a fair amount of Europe since then, discovering the pub crawl concept along the way and taking it to heart.
“We always had a blast meeting new people before quickly proceeding to get rather inebriated with them!” the duo told YLC.
Getting liquored up in Stockholm isn’t exactly a challenge, but meeting people and knowing exactly where to go is. That’s where James and Mazdak come in.
“When Maz called me up from Sweden one cold December evening last year and pointed out that there were no pub crawls in Stockholm, it was a no-brainer,” said James. “It was a chance to start up a cool and exciting business we were really passionate about!”
Just one more thing was needed to turn their passion into a reality: A feminine touch. Mazdak’s girlfriend Dalia brought the idea to life, handling all the of the practical details and creating an enviable lineup and a thriving business model. The Stockholm Pub Crawl consists of five locations, includes a free round of shots at most of them and discounts at all, plus a free welcoming drink at the final stop. When I attended there were about 50 pub crawlers, including visitors from every corner of the world as well as several Stockholm natives.
Participants get their first taste of Stockholm – and their first shot – at Sjätte Tunnan, a medieval-themed pub in Old Town where the staff are clad a la 1500’s Viking Vogue. The Pub Crawl has its own room, a large basement cellar where participants gather on wooden benches draped with fur. In addition to the welcome round of shots, participants in the pub crawl get a discount on all other drinks at the bar, whether mead or a fruity cocktail.
After an hour, the group meanders down the street to O’Connels, an Irish pub with live music and a basement complete with bar, a private room for the crawl, and dartboards. Even when sober I personally have the coordination of a seasick sheep, and decided not to embarrass myself any further after the darts flailed to the ground a few dozen times. But the activity is an excellent excuse – if you needed one – to get friendly. More than one chap took the opportunity to “show” a lass how to properly throw a dart – something that simply cannot be done without standing close behind her and guiding her hand with his own. Right in line with the pub’s motto and, indeed, the theme of the evening:
“There are no strangers here, only friends who have not yet met!”
The Pub Crawl then parades to Patricia, a club with true personality where “ship happens”. Did I mention it’s a boat? The ship was launched back in 1938, even housing Winston Churchill for a while, and since 1986 it’s been a happenin’ hotspot anchored at Slussen, with gay Sundays and up to seven bars and four dancefloors open during the summer. Pub crawlers receive a free round of shots here as well, and the party begins!
Next stop is Fenix, a bar and restaurant on Söder with unexpected decor, free entrance and massive lines on weekends. The place is surprisingly crowded and loud, even at 11 p.m., which is relatively early by Swedish weekend standards, but the atmosphere is upbeat and fun and no one minds bumping elbows. Fenix doesn’t do anything by half measures serving the pub crawlers some rather festive shots (see right).
The final stop in the Stockholm Pub Crawl is Snaps, a popular bar at Medborgarplatsen that’s always full during the summertime. The age limit is 23, but little 21-year-old me was delighted to discover another perk of the Pub Crawl: The age limit drops down to 18! At Snaps, the pub crawlers are essentially treated like VIP guests, led inside and down to the basement club where each person received a delicious mixed drink, complete with sliced lime.
Snaps is the official end of the crawl, but using the Stockholm Pub Crawl’s armband you can go back to Patricia, where you can sneak past the lines for free and continue partying until 5:00 a.m. Or if you’re a bit dizzy from all the shots, drinks and dancing, Snaps is a two-minute walk to McDonald’s, the traditional Swedish end to a night out. Either way you’ll have a legion of new friends from around the world at your side. It’s not uncommon for pub crawlers to repeat the experience, bringing along friends and making new ones.
“A pub crawl takes care of a lot of the worries about going out in new cities,” the founders of the Stockholm Pub Crawl told YLC. “Like ‘where should I go? Will I meet people? Will I get in? The pub crawl solves all that and lets you focus on just having a great night.”
When: Every Wednesday and Saturday, starting at 19:00 and going as long as you want – the last bar closes around 5:00 a.m.
Where: Sjätte Tunnan at 19:00, or if you’d like to join a little bit later, O’Connel’s at 20:00
Contact: You can book and ask questions at the Stockholm Pub Crawl website, as well as via their Facebook page, where you can find photos from each crawl.
Price: 199 SEK for shots at each location, club entrance, and one mixed drink – plus being a part of an amazing international group!