Bars and others profit from ‘spring Hobo Day’

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

The “spring Hobo Day,” as Karl Steege, manager of Skinner’s Pub, would call it – otherwise known as the St. Patty’s Day Pub Parade – means big business for downtown bars.

Steege said he figures that all together, the bars downtown make $100,000 in sales and draw 3,000 people during the parade, more affectionately known as Pub Crawl.

This makes Pub Crawl, which has become increasingly popular in the last two years, the single largest business day for Skinner’s Pub. Skinner’s and other downtown bars are packed throughout the whole day, Steege said.

“It’s not against the law to drink beer, and it’s not against the law to make money,” said Steege.

He described the business of Pub Crawl as four Friday nights in a row, starting at noon, with wave after wave of sober people coming in and buying their first drinks.

Steege said that SDSU alumni, Brookings townspeople and even out-of-town visitors come to Pub Crawl. Last year he took a poll of Pub Crawl customers at Skinner’s, and two-thirds of the people were from out of town, not students.

Luke Olson, a bartender at Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill, said the “amplified” business of Pub Crawl is comparable to Hobo Day or graduation weekend, but these weekends still surpass Pub Crawl as the busiest.

“It has an effect on everyone, even if you’re not in it,” said Jeremy Deutsch, manager of Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill. Cubby’s did not participate in Pub Crawl last year, but Deutsch said the bar was still really busy.

Even local restaurants benefit. George’s Pizza, which sells pizza by the slice, has one of its bigger weeks of the year during Pub Crawl, said co-owner Gus Theodosopoulos.

Not all downtown businesses profit from the event, though.

Tammy Minor, owner of the Gift Gallery, said Pub Crawl stalls sales for the day. Still, she said that the bars are in the same position during Crazy Days, when the city blocks off the streets for downtown shopping. “We have good events, they have good events,” she said.

Leslie Salonen, a junior apparel merchandising major and Cover to Cover employee, said Pub Crawl affects the type of business for the day. People know the event is happening, so they do not want to bring their children down. This especially affects Cover to Cover since they have a large children’s section.

A letter sent by the Downtown Brookings, Inc., to Steege on June 21, 2007 said: “We are hearing business owner concerns about crowd control and a drop in customers and business due to the St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl which your business sponsors. ? We are asking you to consider a new direction for the St. Patty’s Day event or to reschedule the event so it doesn’t start before 7 p.m.”

Doris Roden of Downtown Brookings, Inc., said that the issue has not been addressed since the letter was sent, and no further action has been taken.

Steege admits that Pub Crawl used to get wild, but now, fewer problems occur. He said that the law enforcement is really good, and the presence of the police makes people realize that if they do stupid things, they will get arrested.

He pointed out that no one at Pub Crawl has ever burned or rolled a car or thrown glass bottles at police cars like students have done at past Hobo Days.

Theodosopoulos, who also owns Cubby’s, said that one year when Cubby’s did not have a single problem during Pub Crawl, on Monday someone broke the partition in the bathroom.

“People just assume bad things happen at Pub Crawl, but that’s not the case,” he said.

Steege said people think Pub Crawl is all about binge drinking, which can cause problems, but really, Pub Crawl is about having fun and hanging out.

Not every bar in Brookings is involved with Pub Crawl. Here’s a list of watering holes that take part in the St. Patty’s Day Pub Parade.

? Ray’s Corner

? Safari Lounge

? Main Street Pub

? Skinner’s Pub

? Lantern Lounge

? Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill

? 9 Bar and Nightclub

Pub Crawl starts at noon on March 29. Safe Ride Home will operate during special hours for Pub Crawl in order to ensure all participants a safe way home.