With a flashy sign around the neck, a smudged stamp on the forehead and an overly-spirited entourage following close behind, a 21st birthday is hard to hide in downtown San Luis Obispo. The 21st bar crawl is a long-standing tradition among Cal Poly students that introduces newly legal drinkers to the bars and booze.
It is customary for friends to make the bar crawl sign, which has a list of tasks and drinks the birthday person must complete. While some add and remove some drinks from the list, there are about eight staple drinks that make a classic bar crawl.
Through some crowd-sourcing, the bare-bone list consists of: Bull Sweat, Angry Balls or Glass Slipper, Ski Shot, Guinness race, Blow Job shot, Adios Motherfucker, Statue of Liberty and Sexy Alligator or Six Shooter.
Some may be having unsettling flashbacks right about now and others may not remember anything past the AMF. Yeah, it is a lot of alcohol, but how much exactly?
For this, the unit of measurement will be a shot. A typical shot in the U.S. is about 1.5 ounces, which is also the size of a standard drink. Not every bar serves exactly 1.5 ounces in a shot, so keep in mind measurements are a rough estimate. The small serving of beer to chase a Bull Sweat will not be included and neither will the cider in the Angry Balls.
Bull Sweat at Bull’s Tavern – $7
It is the first drink of the night and it is known to be the least enticing.
“My least favorite was definitely the Bull Sweat,” animal science senior Julia Brozek said about all the drinks she had on her bar crawl. “It was just gross, and it burned.”
While the ingredients in the drink are kept secret, there is some speculation that it is not entirely alcoholic. But one thing is for sure, there is an ounce of liquor in the shot, Bull’s management wrote in an email to Mustang News.
Silver Slipper or Angry Balls at Black Sheep Bar and Grill – Free if friends buy another drink
Silver Slipper consists of one shot of gin, hot sauce and an egg, but there is a special touch.
“We crack an egg on their foreheads and drop it in the glass,” Black Sheep bartender and server Jodi Domareki wrote in an email to Mustang News. “It’s easiest if you chug it as fast as possible.”
For women, Angry Balls is “much more forgiving,” Domarecki wrote.
It is a shot of Fireball Whisky that is dropped into half a pint of Angry Orchard cider, which creates an apple cinnamon flavor.
“All the bars have their signature birthday drinks, and they all try to outdo the next,” Domareki wrote. “I think some of our inspiration came from Bull’s [Tavern].”
Before the Angry Balls and the Silver Slipper, the bar had a drink called The Flaming Lamborghini, but it became a fire hazard, so they switched to the Silver Slipper in 2010, which was for men and women and a few years ago added Angry Balls for women, according to Domareki.
Ski Shot at Creeky Tiki – $35
At Creeky Tiki, the ski shot is the bar crawl staple. It is one shot of the alcohol of choice and the birthday person is not the only one who gets to enjoy the fun. Multiple shots are lined up on a ski, one for each person, and in unison the group lifts the ski and knocks back the shot.
“I learned the hard way to do it with people of the same height as you,” animal science alumna Haley Harraka said. “I went on a bar crawl with three of my best guy friends, so they were all six-foot, and we didn’t think about it. It was one, two, three and it just got lifted and dumped on my face. None of it got in my mouth, it was so funny.”
Guinness Race at Frog and Peach Pub – $3 each
It is an 8-ounce pour of Guinness for each participant, and the goal is to finish the beer first.
“We use Guinness because it’s intimidating because it’s dark, but it has the same alcohol content as a Bud Light,” Frog and Peach Pub Manager Alison Cook said.
Guinness has an alcohol by volume level (ABV) of 4.2 percent, which is little less than a typical beer. A 5 percent ABV beer will be 12 ounces to fulfill a standard drink, so the Guinness race would be a rough estimate of half a standard drink, which is also equivalent to half a shot.
Blowjob Shot at Mother’s Tavern – $7
Moving onto the infamous blowjob shot, which can be taken at either SLO Brew or Mother’s Tavern. According to Mother’s Tavern Bar Manager Anthony Poncey, the drink is a combination of Baileys Irish Cream and butterscotch schnapps, topped with whipped cream.
The shot is placed in-between a friend, a significant other or a random stranger’s legs, and the birthday person must grab the shot with only their mouth and take the shot — hence the provocative name. This drink is approximately half a shot due to the low ABV of Bailey’s and butterscotch schnapps.
Adios Motherf*cker (AMF) at Mother’s Tavern – $9 or $6 on Tuesday and Thursday
The Adios Motherf*cker can be done at either SLO Brew or Mother’s Tavern as well or another bar of choice. This is a popular drink and can be enjoyed on any day. So how many shots is in an AMF? About 2 and a quarter at Mother’s Tavern, Poncey said. The drink consists of three quarter-shots of rum, vodka and gin with blue Curaçao which adds to the ABV as well.
Statue of Liberty at The Library – $6 or $4 on Thursday
This colorful setup consists of about two shots of vodka spread out in three glasses, one mixed with cranberry juice and another with sweet and sour drink mix, according to The Library Bartender Mike Grady.
One red glass, one clear and one blue for the colors of the American flag, the birthday person must hold up their arm like Lady Liberty and take all three shots.
“It tasted so sweet, and it was really easy to do,” geography and anthropology junior Iain Dunn, said.
He said his favorite drink was the Statue of Liberty compared to the rest of the ones on his list. Dunn said the Bull Sweat was also least favorite.
Sexy Alligator or Six Shooter at The Mark – $7 and $10 (but free if friends buy other drinks)
The Mark is usually one of the last stops of the night, but it packs a punch.
For women, the Sexy Alligator is the signature drink. The ingredients were kept secret, but there are about two shots in the drink. It is super sweet, and while it comes in a martini glass, it is meant to be chugged, according to The Mark Bartender Patrick Hughes.
The guys do not get off too easy at The Mark. The Six Shooter is three shots of vodka and three shots of water, but the twist is mixing them up so the birthday person does not know the order when they down all six shots. The Mark adds a special touch by placing the birthday person’s I.D. at the bottom of a bucket before they take the shots.
“If they throw up on the bar, it’s a charge,” Hughes said. “If they throw up in the bucket, they just have to clean off their I.D. and the bucket, so an incentive to not throw up.”
It is a lose-lose situation if vomit is involved, but when is not it? Hughes said about one in six to one in five people throw up during the Six Shooter. Turning down people who are too intoxicated is nothing new and Hughes said it is really easy to spot them.
The total alcohol content in a bare-bone bar crawl is roughly 10.25 shots for women and 13.25 shots for men. Feeling sick yet?
Some can finish every drink and even make it to Taco Bell, others opt out of some drinks and that is OK too.
Not every bar crawl has to push the limits. Harraka said she communicated with her friends that she didn’t want to get too crazy so they did not put a lot of drinks on her list and instead filled it with more tasks like taking a picture with a cop or twerking on the wall at Bubblegum Alley.
“I don’t want to end up in a hospital, I don’t want to throw up in the street,” Harraka said she told the friend that made her bar crawl sign. “She made sure to put a lot of fillers.”
Brozek said she did the same thing for her roommate’s bar crawl.
“I went less drink-heavy on her,” Brozek said. “My roommate is a lightweight, did all her drinks, did everything, came home and was fine.”
Everyone handles their alcohol differently, so the amount of drinks on the sign vary from person to person. It is also important to have a friend looking out and making sure everything is OK during all the chaos of the bars.
Dunn said he had a designated friend for that.
“I had one friend that was watching me that was sober the whole night, but she didn’t really need to do anything because I was fine,” Dunn said. “Just having that set out so that you have someone to take care of you if you do get too drunk and your other friends want to drink to.”
Not every drink on the list has to be alcoholic, either. Dunn said he had two water breaks on his and that he ended up feeling fine at the end of the night.
The bar crawl can be intimidating, but it is a birthday celebration, so there should be no pressure to push past a safe limit. Bring along the friends who will stick around the entire night and make sure nothing bad happens along the way. Bar crawls may or may not be remembered, which is why it is important to have someone in charge of documenting the night.