Meet the men behind the Charlotte bar crawl scene

Meet the men behind the Charlotte bar crawl scene
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What’s your dream job? For some people it would be to play in the NFL. For others it would be to own a bar in some tropical location. For me, my dream job would be to spend my days organizing and participating in day drinking events.

It just so happens that this dream job exists. And two Charlotteans, Rich Saner and Jeff Bennett, have been doing it for 15 years.

Rich and Bennett are the guys behind the annual St. Patrick’s Day Crawl in Uptown Charlotte. If you haven’t participated, then you’ve definitely been confused by the swarm of green shirts on their way to Ri Ra’s to take Irish Car Bombs at 1 p.m.

Charlotte St Patricks Day RiRa

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With their 15th annual Halloween Pub Crawl coming up, I figured I should meet with these masterminds and find out how they managed to make planning bar crawls their full-time job. Here’s our conversation:

Mary: How did the Rich & Bennett Pub Crawls start?

st patricks day costumes

Bennett: In 2001 we did a St. Patrick’s Day Crawl. It was well received so we wanted to do another one on the other end of the calendar. Halloween seemed like a good opportunity to get people together.

Rich: Both crawls started off with pretty much just friends and family and then it grew.

Mary: How did you guys meet?

Bennett: We both went to Elon together.

Mary: On your site it says you have the World’s Largest Pub Crawl. How did you get that designation?

Rich: It’s self-proclaimed. BUT if you look at the Guinness Book of World Records, the record is way below our St. Patrick’s Day event. There’s just no way to tabulate every single person like the Guinness Book requires with our large numbers. Last year our St. Patrick’s Day event brought in over 21,000 people.

Mary: What is it about your crawls that make them so popular? I went to your St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl and there was barely anyone in Uptown without a Rich & Bennett green shirt on.

Rich: I think it’s the people. People use St. Patrick’s Day to get all their college friends together. It’s turned into a tradition. It’s the kind of event where people come to town and 20 people end up crashing on your apartment floor. Did you have people crashing at your place?

Mary: Well, no. I didn’t have any crashers but I did crash my face into the sidewalk. It was a botched piggyback ride.

Rich: I’d say the success rate for piggyback rides during our bar crawls is not high.

Bennett: Rich and I have shown a commitment to this long-term. Even after getting married and having kids we’ve still been committed to having the crawl.

Mary: You guys plan bar crawls for a living. This is like a dream job, don’t you think?

Rich: It’s awesome. I’m not complaining about that.

crayon group costume

Mary: Have you ever thought about doing different neighborhoods around Charlotte?

Bennett: No. We have a lot of bars that have invested time and energy into us and we like to pay them back. We like to celebrate Uptown.

Rich: The walkability of Uptown is huge. We have five hotel partners all within walking distance.

halloween bar crawl

Mary: What do you have planned for the Halloween Crawl this year?

Bennett: We have a costume contest with three categories: individual, duo and group.

Rich: When the crawl was small enough we used to do the contest in person. Now crawlers can just submit photos on Instagram with #RBcostume and the winners will get a Panther’s prize pack with tickets and a tailgate pass.

Mary: Can I have that prize?

Bennett: No.

Mary: Fine. One last question. What is it about drinking during the day that draws such big crowds?

Bennett: Anybody can go out on a Saturday night but this is a special day. You’re committing to a different type of Saturday. There’s something better when the sun’s out. You can see the costumes and we like it because daytime is a lot safer.

Rich: Safer… if you don’t try a piggyback ride.

Charlotte Halloween Pub Crawl

I’ll see you all at the Rich & Bennett Halloween Pub Crawl on Saturday, October 31 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20 and you get a free koozie. Choose the “Breast Cancer Awareness Donation” ticket option and Rich & Bennett will match your donation.

Mary Gross with Rich and Bennett

You’ll find me near Rich and Bennett, attempting to make them my new best friends.

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