Some residents and businesses in Adams Morgan are putting aside their differences to stop an upcoming “pub crawl” after D.C. police arrested 50 revelers, some underage, during a similar downtown event two weeks ago.
Most of the Adams Morgan bars and restaurants that traditionally participate in the event, organized by Lindy Promotions Inc. in Bethesda, Md., have pulled out under pressure, according to opponents of the pub crawl.
The seventh annual Adams Morgan Pub Crawl, which was expected to bring about 1,000 partygoers to the community, is galvanizing resident and business groups that have often clashed on everything from parking to liquor-license renewals.
Lindy Promotions President David Lindenauer, who runs bar tours along the Eastern Seaboard, said he is trying to address community concerns and has not yet decided whether to cancel the event.
About 25 Adams Morgan bars are prohibited by their liquor licenses from participating in pub crawls. Of the six to eight that participated last year, only three plan to do so again, according to opponents and D.C. police.
About 6,500 people took part in Mr. Lindenauer’s Cap-City Bar Crawl on March 31, when police arrested 50 persons on charges ranging from underage drinking and using fake IDs to public intoxication and cocaine possession.
After the arrests, Mr. Lindenauer issued a statement lauding police for “removing those who posed potential problems.”
Mr. Lindenauer said he has met with a representative of Adams Morgan residents, Andy Miscuk the only person from Adams Morgan to contact him about the event.
Other residents say a pub crawl, in which revelers walk from bar to bar to sample the wares of each establishment, has no place in one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city.
“They generate noise, drunken behavior, [urinating] in the streets and a general public disturbance,” said Mike Gould, president of the Kalorama Citizens Association, one of two residential groups in the area.
“They cause a lot of harm to people who are not involved and have no reason to be disturbed by a bunch of kids who want to get drunk,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, these guys are a plague on the land. They promote filth, dirty trash, loud noise and disturbance to people who don’t happen to be drunk.”
Pat Patrick, a real estate broker who helped set up 250 stores in the area, said the pub crawl is going the way of the dinosaur in the District, and this next one probably will not happen.
“I think the pub crawl will not happen up here. It will not happen,” said Mr. Patrick, an associate broker with Solomon Real Estate and a former president of the Adams Morgan Business and Professional Association.
Mr. Miscuk, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and president of the Adams Morgan Community Association, also opposes the pub crawl but takes a more conciliatory approach.
“This is an event that’s gone on for years. If it takes a year, or year and a half to go way, it’s OK,” he said. “Nobody’s getting nasty about it. This has been such a cordial, unique dialogue.”
The Adams Morgan Business and Professional Association waded into the matter last year after some of its members were upset about trash, open alcohol containers and public urination that followed some bar crawls.
But other businesses wanted to participate, so association President Constantine Stavropoulos said the best course of action was to deal with the particular concerns through an agreement with the promoter.
“It went off without a hitch,” said Mr. Stavropoulos, owner of the Diner and Tryst, a coffee house.
Speaking only for himself, Mr. Stavropoulos said pub crawls are “ridiculous” and he would never participate.
Because some businesses’ liquor licenses prohibit them from participating, they are at a competitive disadvantage to their neighbors, he said.
“I’d love to see a citywide ban,” he said.
Not everyone is happy with the pressure to stop the pub crawl. Al Jirikowic, co-owner of Chief Ike’s Mambo Grill, called it a “concerted war on youth.”
“It’s the so-called decency factor. These are the new prohibitionists,” he said.
Mr. Jirikowic still plans to participate but said “it might be shut down to this hysteria.” Critics are overlooking the positive side the charitable aspect of the event, he said.
He said that he has been involved in 19 bar crawls, and that he has collected 5 tons of food for charity.
Mr. Jirikowic said his and other restaurants are responsible.
“We follow the letter of the law,” he said. “There’s no underage drinkers. Nobody gets out of hand. There’s more than adequate security. For the most part, they’re very, very well-behaved. Occasionally, a kid will throw up, but that’s how they learn.”
Participants get a discount for bringing canned food, which goes to Martha’s Table, a local food bank.
The most recent downtown bar crawl collected 10,000 pounds of food, and Lindy Promotions is the single largest donor to Martha’s Table, Mr. Lindenauer said.
Mr. Lindenauer said he has renamed his event a “pub tour” to correct the misconceptions he said critics hold.
“We agree the name has negative connotations, and that’s not what we’re trying to present,” he said. “We don’t encourage people to overconsume.”
“I think it’s going to work out so everyone’s happy,” he said. “The event has already been promoted. People are still going to come to the area even if we attempt to cancel it. I think it’s in the best interest of public safety to have the event.”