Arlington County to Regulate Pub Crawls Through Special Events Policy

  • Board cites public safety
  • Organizers to pay crawl-related County personnel, services costs
  • Permits to be issued administratively

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today adopted changes to its Special Events Policy to require permits for the increasingly popular pub crawls that have attracted thousands of people to Arlington's urban villages.

The Board voted unanimously to amend the County's Policy for Managing Special Events and Demonstrations in Public, first adopted in 2012.

“It is just common sense to manage pub crawls,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “For the most part, these events are both fun for the participants and profitable for local businesses, and that's great. But they must be conducted safely, and in a way that respects the rights and privileges of affected residents and businesses.”

County staff gathered information through an online survey and meetings with stakeholders to develop its recommendations for amending the Special Events Policy. Some 1,130 people submitted comments to the online survey.

Number, Size of Pub Crawls Growing

The County has seen a significant increase in pub crawls – and in the number of participants — since adopting its Special Events policy. Business-sponsored pub crawls often are held on holiday weekends such as Halloween, St. Patrick's Day or Independence Day. During a specified time period, participants can purchase alcoholic drinks at a discount from a group of businesses within walking distance.

County Manager to Develop Administrative Regulation

The Board left it to the County Manager to develop the administrative and procedural details for managing the pub crawls. County Manager Barbara Donnellan will consult with the community and business owners before incorporating the guidelines into an Administrative Regulation. The updated policy will allow the County to assess all fees and charges to pub crawl event organizers for County staff, services or resources, based upon the County's actual incurred costs and set on a 100 percent cost recovery model.

The County Manager will recommend to the County Board, as part of the annual budget process, the fees related to provision of law-enforcement, fire and emergency services.

Next Steps

The County Manager will reach out to the business community, Business Improvement Districts and key stakeholders as she develops changes to the special Events Administration Regulation.

To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #44 on the Agenda for the July Regular County Board Meeting.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.