New company will manage bar crawls in Norfolk, owner says ‘out-of-market promoters giving crawls a bad name’

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than a dozen downtown Norfolk bars and restaurants have banded together to put on professional bar crawls, following concerns about crawls organized by companies outside of the area.

This week, the Norfolk Downtown Council announced the creation of Local 757 Events, a company that will organize and promote all bar crawls that have stops listed in any one of 13 downtown bars as well as the Waterside District.

The company owned and managed by Baxter Simmons, owner of Baxter’s Sports Bar on Granby Street, was formed as a response to a series of reports about bar crawl companies not necessarily living up to what they promise customers.

“There was a bar crawl last year, the Margarita Crawl, which [WAVY-TV] 10 broke the story on and it really brought to light for a lot of the restaurants downtown the disorganization of an outside promoter,” Simmons said. “We don’t want our patrons to get any bad taste in their mouth from an outside company that may not come through with what they are supposed to be doing.”

Baxter said it was also important to the Norfolk Restaurant Coalition that revenue from crawls stay local.

“Moving forward, the downtown Norfolk Bar Crawls are going to go through Local 757 events and that way people know that it’s us as the restaurant coalition doing them,” Baxter said. “If they don’t have ‘Local 757 Events’ attached somewhere … be skeptical.”

Having a full “crawl experience” was also a motivating factor behind the new company, according to Baxter.

He said his company will ensure that all participating venues will share in registration, swag and after-party locations. Ticket revenue will help foot the bill.

Eight crawls for 2020 have already been announced.

Ticketed participants will get swag, a commemorative mug to enjoy the $5 cocktail and $3 beer specials, lanyard with their passport to visit each location and there will also be DJs and live music at some venues, a release from the downtown council said.

The first crawl will have an 80s flashback theme. Swag will includes light-up microphones and retro sunglasses. Participants are encouraged to dress for the theme. An after party will include prize drawings, and more than 26 gift certificates will be given away.

“We’re thrilled that these events will be professionally managed,” said Jessica Kliner, director of marketing for Downtown Norfolk Council. “The Downtown Restaurant Coalition is behind this endeavor, and we know with the current leadership of 757 Local Events, these bar crawls will be really fun and well run.”

The event dates and themes are as follows:

  • Feb 22 – 80’s Flashback
  • March 28 – Comicon
  • May 9 – Tacos & Tequila
  • June 27 – 90’s Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Aug 15 – Back to School
  • Sept 19 – Harry Potter
  • Nov 14 – Onesies
  • Dec 5 – Santa & Mrs. Claus

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 starting three days prior to the events. Visit eventbrite.com to purchase and for details.

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