Thirsty Thursdays: Happy J Pub Crawl – Kiwi Style!!

Jonny Blair partying at the Happy J Pub Crawl

Happy J Pub Crawl – a fantastic night out in Christchurch in New Zealand!

Today my Thirsty Thursdays feature comes from New Zealand. They know how to party there as I found out!! After settling into my new “home for 2 days”, I had noticed a flier advertising a Pub Crawl of Christchurch that very night – there’s one every Friday. The flier was in the visitors guide brochure I had picked up at the airport, and gave you $5 off the crawl, making it just $15. That included pizza, five free drinks, five free entry to bars and a host of people to meet. I didn’t know anyone and was on holiday again, so I had to go for it!

It was the Happy J Pub Crawl. Before I went on the pub crawl however there was one random coincidence that made me laugh. I was ordering a beer and a curry from the bar at Base Backpackers and I hoped to try and lure a few others to come on the pub crawl, so I asked the two guys stood next to me at the bar if they were up for it. They started laughing at me, and I couldn’t work out why! After about 30 seconds one of the guy says to me “We run that pub crawl – its excellent fun!” So I was already in good company.

The two girls from Derby, Helen and Lisa didn’t fancy coming along, but I went along on my own to the start of the crawl – a bar called Iconic. An excellent trendy wee bar. The kiwis know how to party, and I had planned to abstain from alcohol for a while, but somehow the lure of cheap drinks and the best chance to meet new people is often involved round drinking.

In Iconic I had a Golden Monteith’s Ale, and sat down, met the hosts, got my green wristband. It was mayhem already. I met two locals – Laura and Hedley. I was wearing my green Northern Ireland fleece with lots of badges on it – it was now the only coat I had that wasn’t my raincoat, as I packed light and had to leave my two other coats/fleeces behind sadly.

Just before we left the first bar, Iconic I met Pol, from Cork in the Republic of Ireland. It was nice to have a fellow islander on the crawl with me. As soon as we had left the first bar, the organisers crammed everyone round and started singing and doing speeches. It was madness. Where I come from you’d get lifted by the peelers for this type of thing. It was incredible how much you can get away with in a place as distant as New Zealand. 

There was a guy on the pub crawl on his stag night dressed as a woman and he got all the dares for the night and made for great craic.

Next up we were back in Saints and Sinners Bar at the hostel I’m staying in, me and Pol collected our free drinks, a Tui pint (not to be confused with Toohey’s which is Australian). We sat at the back and the dance floor was rammed full. I met a Scottish guy who was sat with a Swedish girl, neither were on the pub crawl and we asked the organisers if they could join in, but unfortunately it had already started and they had numbers and tags etc.

This is the pub where it got lively. Everyone started dancing, a bit of flirting was going on, poledancing on the stage and then the organisers invited 5 girls up. They are so funny the Kiwis, once up on stage they shouted to the girls. “First to pop a titty gets a free drink!” and of course one of the girls, much quicker than the rest bared her breast for the male audience. 

I later spoke with her, a local lady Sammy-Jo, and I managed to get a photo of her baring her breast. Look closely… 

After that we got free pizza before another drinking game involving bursting a ballon by pretending to shag someone up the bum. They actually asked for 5 guys to come up and normally I’d be straight up, but sadly five guys were much quicker, so no free drink this time for me.

We then met an American couple from Montana – Will and Gina. They were so cool, and the accents amazing, they were not part of the pub crawl but everyone was mingling and it was good craic. Soon though time was called and it was off on a leisurely dander till pub number three.

The thrill of which belonged to Malbas, a trendy pub on a corner of a busy junction. There are bars a plenty in Christchurch, on the way to this one we passed at least 10 including a hat-trick of Irish Pubs – how there are more Irish pubs in Christchurch than in Bangor will never fail to amuse me. There was another “queue jump” option to any lady who “popped a titty”, so a few girls bunked in front due to breast baring. A guy who runs the pub crawl shouts all this with a megaphone and we somehow manage to get into every bar no bother despite all this carry on. Where I’m from these antics just wouldn’t be tolerated. That’s the beauty of New Zealand.

I chatted away to Pol and a Kiwi girl Ashleigh in Malbas. The free drink this time was a shot. 

I chose a rattlesnake which was lime and tequila. Certainly didn’t want any mucky shots after the previous night in Parramatta. In fact I still couldn’t believe I was coping OK as the previous night had been carnage in the purest sense. 

Malbas bar brew their own beer so I then had a Malbas Lager, which was $5.50 and was average. Now that’s how they make their money on the pub crawl, as in each bar they expect you to buy more than one drink, which most people (even me) end up doing.

Turns out Pol was at the same Oasis gig back in 1996, he was a couple of years older than me, but a republican from Cork. Only in New Zealand could you have an orange bastard and a fenian bastard enjoying the best of times together. A lesson to the bigots of yesteryear to ponder on. It would be nice to go back to Cork someday, and meet up with Pol and relive my 16 year old Oasis gig night.

After a touch of dancefloor action it was time for the next bar – number four. On route I picked up a few email addresses from Pol and Ashleigh to add to the contacts list. On route we also had the singing session which is basically everyone repeating what the megaphone dude says!! Including the looney “ppppppppuubbbb crawl” song…

We made it to “The Bog” – a toilet or a marsh meant another free drink and an Irish Rock band. 

I had a DB in there and the rock band were called Black Velvet Band and were playing Molly Malone. The dancefloor was rammed and everybody was up jumping. We were having a laugh. Trust an irish pub to bring out that spirit. The previous bar had been dancefloor mayhem, this was pure carnage. 

I’m standing at the bar and up and over bounces young Gina – the girl from the states in Saints and Sinners. Her and Will were from Montana, and it was Gina’s birthday. 

She had never had Guinness before so I bought her one for her birthday, and one for myself. Turns out her name is Gina G – a throwback to that Old Eurovision Song Contest entry for the UK back in 1996.

I had a real laugh with everyone that night and it seemed to resemble the same night just a year before with the new crew in Sydney. Life had moved on. 

Ashleigh got her boobs out.

Gina G rubbed her body against me and we shared a kiss. She kind of came in strutted her stuff, bounced about and then she was gone…

We jived in The Bog to “Ring of Fire” (by Johnny Cash) and notably at the end Twist and Shout (which gave us all a reminder of Matthew Broderick once upon a time in the city of Chicago, the film in question was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Clips of “The Bog” dancefloor are included before and for old time’s sake the Ferris Bueller clip. The destiny of the sumptous Gina G was clearly not to stay in my company hence her quick in and outs, this sort of thing happens a lot when travelling.

There was one pub left on the crawl and that was MyBar round the corner. I left separately to most of them and couldn’t get in because I was wearing my tracksuit bottoms, I’d been wearing them al night obviously and nobody had said anything before. If I’d gone in with the crowd they wouldn’t have been noticed but they were. Probably a good thing as I was still recovering from a year’s worth of change in Australia, a night on the tiles in Parramatta and a two hour time difference, not to mention some more drinks and a flight. I popped quickly into one of the Irish Pubs, Mick E Finns had a free glass of water and went to rest my head.

It was pure carnage. It was the Happy J PPPPpppppppub Crawl. Kiwi Style. It was fun. Thanks one and all!! Especially the organisers and the crazy Kiwis. Here’s to an immense night out for my Thirsty Thursdays series!

More photos here:

Some other New Zealand stuff from me here:

Franz Josef Glacier

Sky Dive Taupo


What was it – Happy J Pub Crawl – Kiwi Style – Christchurch

Price – $15 (with the coupon, otherwise $20)

What do you get – 

– free entry to five bars
– free drink in five bars
– free pizza in one bar
– free drinking games
– chance to win more free drinks
– meet a lot of new people

Nationalities Met – New Zealand, American, Irish, Scottish, Swedish, English (in the bar beforehand but not on the pub crawl)













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