Group Looks To Set New Barhopping Record

OCEAN CITY – In a town
with a reputation for having a watering hole on practically every corner,
setting a Guinness Book world record for the most pubs visited in a 24 hour
period, on the surface, certainly seems like a logistical possibility, and a
group of close friends from all over the country embarked on the attempt early
yesterday morning.

The nine-member team,
from as far away as Seattle, Wash. and Portland, Ore., had their first beer
around 9:30 a.m. over breakfast at the Ocean View Grill and BBQ in the Quality
Inn on the Boardwalk at 16th Street before setting off on a journey
to attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for the most pubs
visited by a team in a 24-hour period. The existing record of 101 was set last
October by a nine-member team in Seattle, and a similar nine-member team
started its own attempt in Ocean City yesterday morning.

At first glance, the
record appears to be one of stamina and alcohol tolerance, and that may prove
to be the case, but breaking the record could come down to logistics. While
there is certainly ample opportunity to break the record – at last count there
were 200-plus bars, taverns, pubs and restaurants on the 10-mile stretch of sand
– getting to and from the various venues could prove troublesome at certain
points during the day.

According to the
specific Guinness Book rules, the team had to rely on public transportation or
travel to the various venues on foot. Record attempt organizer John Egan, who
is essentially the common link between the nine-member team, which includes old
schoolmates, fishing buddies, an ex-girlfriend and her sisters and others from
all over the country, had a plan in place that included knocking out much of
the downtown area in the first part of the day yesterday.

After breakfast at the
Quality Inn at 16th Street, the team was expected to head south to
M.R. Ducks on the bayfront at Talbot Street and work their way around the south
end of town and back up the Boardwalk. Egan, who grew up in the area before
moving to Seattle, said he was pretty confident the team could knock out about
half of the task by the early afternoon yesterday.

“There are clusters of
bars and restaurants where we can cross off a bunch in a short amount of time,”
he said. “The problem might be when we get into areas where there are greater
distances between potential stops. We have to walk or rely on the bus system,
and I’m a little worried about too much down time.”

The team didn’t seem overly
concerned with the amount of alcohol that needed to be consumed during the
attempt. According to the Guinness Book rules for the record, one member of the
team must have at least one drink at each venue. The definition of a drink,
according to the rules, is at least a half-a-pint or 125 milliliters (roughly
4.4 ounces), according to the rules.

At that rate, in order
to set the mark for pubs visited in a 24-hour period, each member will have to
consume an average of 11 drinks and a few will have to have 12. The rules do
not specify how many drinks each member of the team must have, so a couple of
the burly team members could help carry the load if the crew starts wavering at
any point in the attempt.

“Knowing this crew, I
think we should be fine on the consumption end,” said Egan. “We’re going to be
doing a lot of walking and it’s very hot, so we think a lot of this is going to
go right through them. Plus, just one team member has to have a drink at each
stop, so there will be times when it might be an hour or so before any one of
them has another.”

The rules are specific
about the 24-hour period. Because the attempt started at 9:30 a.m. yesterday
morning, it had to be completed by 9:30 a.m. today. The bars close at 2 a.m. in
Ocean City, but if the team came up a few short at closing time last night,
members could ostensibly have gotten a few stops in under the wire this morning
before the clock expired. However, Egan said he was confident the team would
have the record knocked out well before the bars closed at 2 a.m. last night.

“We’re pretty sure we’ll
get it done without worrying about the clock or closing time,” said Egan.
“There are enough spots to hit and, according to my plan, we should be able to
do about half of it by this afternoon.”

There is certainly a
road map of sorts to follow. The team that set the record in Seattle last
October started at 8 a.m. and had finished by 11:15 p.m. the same night. Before
that, the previous record of 82 bars in 24 hours was set by a team of 19
Australians in 2005, which somewhat pales in comparison considering the number
of team members and the relatively lower number of bars, but it is uncertain
what logistical problems that team had to deal with.

Egan said keeping the
team focused on the task at hand would be difficult, especially as the day wore
on. Already, when leaving the first venue, the team had to corral a member who
had wandered off on the Boardwalk briefly.

“We have to stick to a
pretty tight schedule and have to stay focused,” he said. “I expect as the day
goes on I’ll be saying ‘where’s so and so?’ and ‘where did this one go? My job
is to keep us moving all the time. There will be the temptation to sit and
relax at some of the stops, especially on such a hot day, but we’re going to
have to keep moving along.”

The team included
sisters Haley Lucas of Reston Va. and Polly Lucas of Annapolis and Toni Lucas
of Gaithersburg, along with another female competitor, Michelle Blundell. The
five men on the team included Rob Gochnour of Annapolis, Brad Van Pelt of Portland,
Ore., Jim Radomicki of Tabernacle, N.J., Jimmy Duncan of Annapolis and Greg
Hills. The girls made certain to mention Paul Lucas, who provided inspiration
for the task. In addition, the team’s T-shirts, which included GBWR 2010 on the
front, also included a picture of an individual close to the team who had
disappeared in recent months and had fallen out of contact with the members on
the back of the shirts with the letters “MIA” in bold print.

Egan was the organizer
and official log keeper for the team, no small task considering the stringent
rules laid down by the Guinness Book of World Records. The effort had to be
carefully researched in advance and meticulously documented during the attempt.
Egan had a big binder of information including a map of the potential stops, a
log book in which each stop had to entered including the pub’s name, the name
of the manager or proprietor including a signature, the type and amount of
drink consumed, the time the team entered the establishment and the time it left.

In addition, photographs
had to be taken at each stop and video footage had to be taken at the start and
for at least two minutes every hour along the journey. Video footage and
photographs had to document the point at which the record was broken and the
official end of the attempt.