March 2, 2017

Epic Bar Crawl

We sat down with the makers of the most Epic Bar Crawl in Tallinn. Enjoy!

Every weekend in Tallinn there are people touring and bar crawling, having the time of their lives. We had a chance to talk to the epic founders behind the weekly lollapalooza that is the Epic Bar Crawl and they explain what it's all about. Enjoy!

Getting started with a bar crawl..

Jaanika: I ended up moving to Prague as an 18 year old. The beer was cheap and life seemed fun. I did need to find a job though and without any previous job experience and no knowledge of the Czech language, getting work at a hostel seemed like a perfect choice. I stayed in Prague for a few years and with time, I started getting more and more involved with tours and pub crawls.

Fast forward and I moved back to Estonia and found a local hostel to work at, where I met Kristi. We shared the same opinion, that Tallinn is lacking great bar crawls, that are a big part of the backpacker scene and decided to start our own.

Kristi: I had worked for various hostels in Tallinn and knew that although, we’d sometimes take our visitors out, there really wasn’t anything like the Epic Bar Crawl in Tallinn at that point. I had also lived in Australia, where I got some experience in organising bachelor parties.

And so we met with Jaanika. One night, when we were out for a few drinks, we started talking about a bar crawl and both of us had many ideas. The next day we met for a coffee and talked some more and understood, that we share so many of the same ideas and soon after we quit our job at a party hostel to start a great bar crawl in Tallinn.

To the people who have no idea, then what is a bar crawl?

Jaanika: The main point of the bar crawl is to meet with new people and discover great places for nightlife. Places you’d probably not find as a regular traveller and see the nightlife through the eyes of the locals. Instead of spending the night, thinking of where to go next, you have the whole program set out. You can just enjoy the night and meet with new people.

Kristi: Our goal is not to get people wasted drunk. It happens, but not so often. We often start with icebreaker or meeting games. We make sure the whole group becomes acquainted with each other and normally, when we move on to the second bar, then everyone is already in a good, chatty mood.

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How did you pick the places in Tallinn?

Jaanika: Maybe a combination of our own taste and picking places that are traveller friendly. Also places that are open to these types of events. Places like Kelm, Shot Bar, Labor, Club Hollywood, Shooters, Patcave, Red Emperor, Club Studio.

We are trying to alternate the places enough to show a large variety of the Tallinn nightlife scene. We have more alternative places like the Red Emperor and on the other hand, we sometimes end up our nights at mainstream clubs like Hollywood. It really depends on the night, the group, group size and how the night goes.

Kristi: When the group gets too big, then of course we can’t go to every place we’d like to. Our highest number is 102 people. Luckily it was summer time so people could also have fun, just outside bars. It definitely a night to remember.

Jaanika: Our average during the summer months is maybe 30-50 people and winter time more like 10-15 people. Even though just recently we had 76 people.

How do most people end up at the Epic Bar Crawl?

Jaanika: Right now we collaborate with 4 hostels, where people can easily sign up. We are also the most well known bar crawl in Tallinn and a lot of people just book on our website. For example, the AirBnb people.

And most people are travellers?

Jaanika: It happens every now and then, where Estonian people come with their friends to meet up with travellers and enjoy the night. More common is, when people have foreign friends visiting and want to show them a good night. We also invite our own friends to have a great night.

Kristi: We invite our friends, because as a traveller it’s always cool to meet with local people also.

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Can you share any stories?

Kristi: So much stuff has happened, but maybe it’s not the best to talk about next-level hostel stories like this. (laughs) Especially the stuff that happens during bachelor nights tours, that I also organize.

A sweet story, I can share is about a time, when we started at Kohvik Noorus (now Patcave). There was a guest apartment next to it and one guy happened to see our sign, called us up and joined the tour the last minute. He was an Australian, with an Estonian passport, who had come looking for his roots. There was also an Estonian girl on our tour and I don’t know what happened in between, but a few months went by and I just saw a picture on Facebook, where they’re on a holiday in Bali together.

Another time, I arrived to the first bar, where we started the bar crawl and I saw that our table is occupied with a couple, both aged above 60. I approached them and said sorry, but this table is reserved for our bar tour and they answered with ‘great, that’s exactly what we’re here for’. The husband was 67 and his wife was maybe 64-65. I even let my friends know that I’ll have a short night.

Jaanika: I was at home and got a call from Kristi, asking “I have an old American couple, what should I do?”. I couldn’t really help much and suggested to have a regular bar crawl. And the next day I heard, that they ended up having the best night.

Kristi: We started talking about life here in Estonia, about the U.S, politics and so on, until we started playing a classic three man drinking game. After that we went to Shooters and we all did ‘cocaine’ shots. We moved on to Labor and continued with the game ‘never have I ever’. We ended up at Hollywood, where they literally tired me out of dancing and tequila shots. We often have 18-21 year olds, but that was an example that even if you’re closing in on 70, you can have a great time at a bar crawl.

Jaanika: Sometimes the people you wouldn’t expect can be the craziest partiers. Like foreign ambassadors or soldiers. And that’s another great thing about these tours, it brings together people with lots of different backgrounds. All kinds of people just looking to have fun.

Of course it can happen that there are people, who don’t handle the alcohol, but at the end of the day, it’s every person’s own responsibility. We do our best to avoid it and don’t give away too much free booze, or organise power hours like some pub crawls around Europe. We include staff as much as needed and help people find the way back to the home or hostel.

Kristi: Some people come to crawl already pretty drunk and warn them early. Also the bouncers at every place do their job and help to deal with people, who’ve had too much.

Jaanika: We try to keep it so people would leave the night with a great memory.

I’ve often told to people, younger than myself, around 18-19, who are struggling to figure out, what to do with their life to go travelling and go work at a hostel or pub crawl. If you have spent some time working in this field and been part of the backpacker culture, less and less stuff surprise you and you are much more open to different views.

Kristi: When I organise those bachelor nights, they often ask, whether we are the craziest group, to which I normally reply, that whatever goes down tonight, I will not be surprised.

What would you like to say to new people joining the bar crawl?

Jaanika: Just come and have fun with us. Be open and come check it out, you’ll have fun. We have put everything together in a way that if you are with us, we 100 per cent take care of you. We won’t leave anyone in the corner and when we’re out, the city is ours.(laughs)

Kristi: Yeah, no matter how big the group, we always have fun. We take part of all the drinking games and normally stay to party on, once the main bar crawl part is finished or meet up with the people the next day.

How can I join the next pub crawl?

Jaanika: Check pubcrawltallinn.com or our Facebook page and all the info is there. Just book a time or write or call to us :)

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