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March 18, 2010

Should they regulate bar crawls?

this fellow was drinking inside no idea tavern at 7 a.m. st.  patrick's day. DON'T JUDGE!A couple weeks after 25-year-old Michael Kooser was stabbed in the back by a stranger during a South Baltimore bar crawl, the community is astir, and rightfully so.

Dude got stabbed in his back, and lost half his blood. Thank God he lived.

The incident sparked a heated debate about who should be held responsible, and what could be done to prevent it from happening again.

Something needs to be done. Everyone -- from business owners to neighborhood association leaders -- seems to agree on that. But what should they do? ...

Should they require permits for large-scale bar crawls? Should pubs hosting bar crawls notify the proper authorities weeks ahead of time? Should they be banned outright?

Crime reporter and blogger Peter Hermann examined the issue with this piece in today's paper. He spoke with folks on all sides of the issue, and cited a Rhode Island case where a student was killed by a bus in 2004 during a pub crawl. What did lawmakers do up there? They banned pub crawls.

this is a poster advertising a st. pattys day pub crawl that  happened in south baltimore.The measure that finally passed - and took effect in July 2009, without the governor's signature - prohibits licensed liquor establishments from knowingly participating in a pub crawl, according to a spokesman for the state Senate.

Before the bill's passage, The Providence Journal reported, debate focused on how bartenders could distinguish between an organized event and a group roaming from bar to bar. 

Yeah. Good luck with that, Rhode Island.

I haven't been out drinking with a large group of people in New England since this ban was passed, but I'm willing to bet pub crawls still happen up there. Just a guess.

Outlawing something is almost always a bad idea, unless you're banning some kind of medicine that was supposed to help people but actually ends up killing them.

Requiring permits for pub crawls is also a little silly, unless they're blowouts like the one Lindy Promo threw last weekend.

But Lindy hired off-duty police officers, porta-johns and paid to have the mess cleaned up afterward. Sounds like Lindy's got it covered.

It's the medium-sized pub crawls, like the one where Kooser was stabbed, that have the potential to be powder kegs.

If there is a large group of rowdy, drunken pub crawlers stumbling across Fort Avenue, there are three responsible parties:

1) The pub crawlers, who shouldn't drink so much they act immature and dangerously and put others (and themselves) at risk.

2) The bars, who shouldn't sell the pub crawlers drinks after they were already too drunk.

3) The neighborhood residents, who should call the police and tell them about the rowdy pub crawlers who, often, are carrying open containers. If four or five people call the police at once complaining about this, the police are going to break up the party.

I know the way our government works, and trust me, we're not going to legislate our way out of this problem.

All of the above mentioned parties need to take responsibility. The only way this is going to get better is if change comes from the ground up -- not the top down.

(Baltimore Sun photos by Kim Hairston. Top, Paul Rodriguez, 25, Baltimore, gives thumbs up as he enjoys an early start to his St. Patrick's Day celebrations at No  Idea  Tavern in Federal Hill. Bottom, a poster advertising a South Baltimore pub crawl)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:39 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

The bars, who shouldn't sell the pub crawlers drinks after they were already too drunk.

Isn't supposed to be a given in this day of concerns about drunk drivers and litigation?

"The incident sparked a heated debate about who should be held responsible..."

Usually the guy with the knife is the one responsible. Just sayin.

Unless I'm wrong, don't we already have laws in place to deal with this?

1) The pub crawlers, who shouldn't drink so much they act immature and dangerously and put others (and themselves) at risk.

Public intoxication laws and laws against the random ridiculous acts that the overly intoxicated perform already exist.


2) The bars, who shouldn't sell the pub crawlers drinks after they were already too drunk.

Overserving laws are in place, and the bar is on the hook for overserving its patrons.


3) The neighborhood residents, who should call the police and tell them about the rowdy pub crawlers who, often, are carrying open containers. If four or five people call the police at once complaining about this, the police are going to break up the party.

All citizens have the right and responsibility to take this action when they, their property, or the public (and the intoxicated, for that matter) are endangered.


There's no need to add addtional legislation. Try enforcing the existing, or (even better) try exercising common sense, everyone.

"2 Days, 1 Cup" is my favorite internet video.

I'm currently organizing a bar crawl to support the cause of bar crawls. I will be enforcing a strict anti-stabbing policy. You can't stab your bar crawl problems away, Baltimore. You just can't.

We will be the ones in the obnoxious t-shirts, antagonizing random bridal showers, and drinking Miller Lites.

This kind of thing would be unenforceable. Over serving people at bars is already unenforceable. More toothless laws will help nothing.

I can't believe we've had six comments without spiraling downward into Townies v. Yuppies class warfare.

@ JTK

You should call up this company and have shirts printed. Just in case anyone cannot follow the rules, or you run into opposing anti-bar crawl forces.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9904038-1.html

I can't believe we've had 8 comments without spiraling down into a Fed Hill vs South Baltimore name debate

Yeah, screw those yuppies! And the Bar Crawl to Support Bar Crawls (sponsored by the Bar Crawl Support Association - it's a non-prof) will cross any border, be it Federal Hill or South Baltimore.

@ Andrew - I followed that link and thought, for a brief moment, it was an anti-Guns and Roses shirt.

Needless to say, if we run into any opposing bar crawlers, we will settle our differences with a sack of door knobs, not knives. For prospective crawlers, we will provide the sack, but you've got to provide the door knobs.

@ Don't shake the baby, Exactly, I'm tire of anytime theres a little trouble or someone gets out of sorts, there's a great rush to make a law outlawing said behavior. how about looking at the laws we already have and )drum roll please) actually ENFORCING them. ok, i'm better now, we can continue to make laws regulating morality to further confine the millions for the couple of hundred Idiots who won't assume responsibility for their actions..

If the city can padlock clubs and venues at will based on a few complaints and slim evidence in most cases of a club being a problem, then they sure as hell should be regulating the pub crawls.

all i know is that I can't stand them and when there is one in Fells I either stay indoors and go to another part of town

Drunk Richard, I agree. I avoid them, but i did have one of my favorite 'tenders notice a crawl that was about to walk in and said " It's people like you who don't tip and drive away my regs, who do. Move it." Refused to serve any of them. Man's my hero.

The solution to the knife incident and the bar crawl problems is very simple. Keep all curtis bay and pigtown residents out of south baltimore. Im calling for city council to approve of 2 toll booths. I currently have over 2,000 signatures on a petition. One would be at the south side of the hanover street bridge and the second and the west side of the ostend street bridge. Everyone would carry an EZ pass with proof of residency and those with a curtis bay or pigtown residence would not be allowed to enter. When are we going to realize we cannot mix curtis bay and pigtown with civilization. Once again, while old bay is great on everything, curtis is good on nothing.

Chop is right. Increase the police presence on those days--or even better, stop police from just standing in the middle of the street talking--and then enforce existing law. There are plenty of ways to enforce law and order, even during pub crawls--and yes, enforcement is absolutely possible. That wouldn't even be a question in a city like Bethesda where violent crime is not commonplace. No need to reinvent the wheel.

I think this is a case of bars and bar crawl organizers saying "who should we hold accountable," when what they actually mean is "Don't hold US accountable."

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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