I felt things slipping away with my first sip in the first bar.
I had a 32-ounce schooner of beer at Tower 12 – hey, I arrived in time for Happy Hour! – and immediately felt a buzz working its way up from my toes to my head.
“Oh no,” I said to others around me. “I’m about to get that ‘first bar buzz!’ ”
After a few cautious sips, I then threw caution to the wind. So what if I had an early buzz – I was on the 12 Bars of Christmas pub crawl (the 2021 date is Friday, Dec. 10) and people were pouring into the bar like beer out of the Tower 12 taps. This annual event was a huge success, a tribute to the soul of the South Bay and also to its organizer, Nick Macko, who spends hours upon hours working with the bars, the beer and liquor companies to get drink specials and even arranging for angels to hand out the lanyards this year.
By the way, the event is free. Many of these holiday pub crawls across the country charge money (ranging from $10-25 and up) but here all you have to do is bring a toy for a children’s charity.
Anyway, onto the pub crawl!
Let me just say as a South Bay dude that the number of pretty girls was off the charts. Girls in the Beach Cities like to dress up in the first place and give them something like the 12 Bars and they go all out with sexy Santa outfits, Christmas lights attached to outfits, angels with big wings and even a group of super-hotties as reindeer, complete with red noses.
When everyone gathered at the back of Tower 12, the meeting place for the pub crawl, my caution of an early buzz disappeared like the sun into the nearby Pacific Ocean, and let me say the drinks went down quite smoothly from that point for the rest of the night.
We then moved across Pier Plaza to Sharkeez and for the second year in a row, I thought this was the most fun of the 12 bars.
This was for several reasons. First, we arrived in time for Happy Hour, which meant we got 2-4-1 drinks. I chose the Great White Margarita, which put me in a great mood. Secondly, Sharkeez was the only bar playing Christmas music. Hey, we’re on a Christmas-themed pub crawl – why don’t the other bars play this as opposed to their usual Friday night club music!?
Third, it was one of the early bars, meaning the entire pub crawlers were together. Some people were just arriving on the crawl and they had to be there to get their lanyard, which not only has the bar schedule but qualified participants for the drink specials Nick had arranged, and everyone was in the lets-get-this-party-started mood.
Once the massive group photo took place (9:30, Hermosa Beach pier at the tree) then people dispersed to the other bars and while still fun, the small bars could not accommodate the crowd; there were well more than 400 people in the group tree photo and most of the bars have a capacity of half that much, plus the had their regular Friday night crowd to deal with and crawlers became fragmented, losing the togetherness aspect of this awesome event.
I wound up tossing out the anchor at Patrick Molly’s and finally pulling the ripcord at about midnight. I did get reports that the Lighthouse Cafe – featured in the almost Academy Award-winning movie La La Land – was shoulder-to-shoulder crowded and with a band was really fun.
Nick deserves a lot of credit for his volunteer efforts for putting together this event. And so do the originators of the 12 Bars.
“It was extremely well organized,” said one 12 Bars regular participant. “There were plenty of lanyards, the angles handing them out was a fantastic addition this year and the bars were great. Once again, I had a blast.”
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