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ABC Board to Hold Hearing on Pub Crawl Regulations March 2, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A host of new rules are in effect for pub crawls in the District that impact both alcohol-licensed establishments as well as pub crawl organizers and promoters. 

While the new rules were adopted by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) on an emergency basis through May 13, 2016, the Board will hold a hearing to obtain public comment from businesses and the community on adopting the emergency regulations permanently. The Board's hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Visit ABRA's website for complete details

Effective Jan. 13, 2016, establishments and pub crawl organizers/promoters are required to comply with the following regulations.

Establishment Requirements

An alcohol-licensed establishment is:

  • Not permitted to participate in more than one pub crawl event at one time.
  • Not permitted to participate in an unlicensed pub crawl event and responsible for verifying whether a pub crawl is licensed by the Board.
  • Not permitted to participate in a pub crawl event if it has more than two primary-tier violations within two years of the scheduled date of the event.
  • Prohibited from participating in a pub crawl event if the terms of its settlement agreement or a Board order restrict participation.
  • Required to have food available for purchase during the hours of the pub crawl if the alcoholic beverage license requires the establishment to sell food.
  • Required to post—in a conspicuous place for the duration of the pub crawl event—a copy of the pub crawl organizer’s license for each pub crawl event participated. 

Pub Crawl Organizer/Promoter Requirements

A pub crawl organizer or promoter is required to obtain approval from the Board to hold a pub crawl in the District if it includes more than 200 people. New regulations require the following of organizers and promoters.

1. At least 45 days prior to a pub crawl event, complete and submit a pub crawl application to the Board and Metropolitan Police Department and include the:

  • Names and addresses of all licensed establishments which are expected to participate;
  • Geographic area where the event will take place;
  • Anticipated number and maximum number of participants;
  • Actual hours of the event;
  • Operational plan and security plan that include at minimum:
    • Name(s) and number(s) of security personnel contracted for the event;
    • Plans for controlling underage drinking; and
    • Method to be used for checking participants’ IDs.
  • Plan for litter prevention, control and removal that includes:
    • Proof of signed contracts between the organizer/promoter and litter removal vendors; and
    • A set timeframe, no later than 12 hours from the conclusion of the event, for litter removal.

2. File a litter removal plan—at least 45 days prior to the event—with the District Department of Public Works (DPW). The plan is subject to DPW approval.

  • 2000 14th Street, NW, 6th floor, Washington, DC 20009

3. Post the approved operational security plan at all designated registration areas.
4. Post the approved pub crawl license at each participating establishment.
5. Provide literature explaining responsible drinking practices at any designated registration area.
6. Be present at the pub crawl event to oversee and manage all activities of the event.
7. Refrain from purchasing or consuming any alcoholic beverages.
8. Include the following in any advertisement or promotional materials:

  • State that, “You must be 21 or older to participate”;
  • Promote the use of public transportation; and
  • Include the plan for a designated driver program for the event.

9. Provide proof of payment for litter removal services at least 72 hours from the conclusion of the pub crawl event.

Promoters and organizers are also prohibited from promoting excessive drinking and cannot include unlimited amounts of drinks for one price (a.k.a. all you can drink). A complete list of rules can be found in the Board’s Notice of Emergency and Proposed Rulemaking.