City Denies TBOX Request for a Bar Crawl Amid the Pandemic

“My event is literally the exact opposite of social distancing"

Infamous Wrigleyville bar crawl, the Twelve Bars of Christmas, was denied by the city after requesting to host an event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said they will not issue special event permits for any in-person outdoor festivals, athletic events or non-essential markets through the end of the year, including the TBOX event.

Owner of TBOX Christopher Festa said the December bar crawl has been an annual event since 1996, but he always applies for permits three to nine months in advance. Festa explained he received official notice of the permit's denial last week.

In an interview with Eater Chicago, Festa said he can understand the city's decision.

“My event is literally the exact opposite of social distancing,” Festa told Eater. “It’s known for people making out all over the place, and sometimes we pour cereal into people’s mouths. Obviously those things would be the biggest crime in the world right now.”

A Facebook post from TBOX read that because the city denied the request, "all 2020 events are cancelled." Festa said that would only change if the city updated plans.

According to DCASE, a bar crawl must receive a special event permit if the gathering expects to exceed over 500 people, includes five or more stops or includes three or more stops on the same street block.

Festa said that he will not attempt to hold an unofficial event without a permit from DCASE, but felt it was worth applying.

"I have been keeping my options open in case of an unexpected change for the better, but I would only want to hold the event when it can be done in a safe, happy, fun, light-hearted atmosphere, and not under a cloud of controversy and fear," Festa said.

Based on the website, TBOX hopes to host their annual Twelve Bars of Christmas bar crawl in Wrigleyville on Dec. 12, 2021 with the purchase of a $5 ticket.

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