Pub Crawl gives residents chance to carry ‘go-cups’

By NIKKI SMITH,

Hattiesburg residents of all walks of life gathered downtown on Saturday at the Southern Prohibition Taproom to celebrate the “Go Cup” ordinance going into effect.

Southern Prohibition hosted Hattiesburg’s first pub crawl since the creation of the downtown leisure and recreation district, which now allows open containers within a restricted area.

Tickets for the pub crawl sold out early as residents anticipated the ordinance change.

Beginning at the taproom, the pub crawl featured stops at Blue Jazz Café, Black Sheep’s Café, Front Street Bar and The Porter.

Chris and Kateri Lockwood, who have lived in Hattiesburg for about two years, said their love of craft beer brings them downtown to visit Southern Prohibition quite often.

However, since moving to Hattiesburg, which is home to two universities, the two said they never really felt like they were living in a college town. That is, until now.

“We like craft beer a lot, so we think it’s a neat idea to be able to take it along and stop somewhere else,” Chris said.

The couple said they are fans of spending time downtown, but they think a night out will be more fun now that they can move easily from one place to another, all while bringing their drinks along.

“It’s especially beneficial for community events like this,” Chris said.

“It feels more like a college town, because you get the experience of big events like this and it just brings everyone together,” Kateri added. “We haven’t seen anything like this since moving here.”

The couple also commented that the crowd was much more diverse and larger than they have experienced at Southern Prohibition on their many trips.

“It’s a different crowd, broad variety,” Chris said. “We like that.”

“I think this is going to create that walkable, aggressive city that we all want, keeping young professionals here in town,” Mayor Toby Barker said when the ordinance was signed. “I hope this is only the beginning of moving our city forward.”

Food was available for purchase at each stop along the way to allow for a responsible and safe experience. Participants were encouraged to eat before drinking, stay hydrated and drink responsibly throughout the evening.

The new ordinance was signed by Barker at the Thirsty Hippo two weeks ago. The ordinance may only be the first for the City of Hattiesburg, however.

“We hope to be adding more districts as we go forward,” Barker has said. “This is a great way to start for us to flush out our situations.”

The ordinance also outlines a few regulations, such as the fact that go-cups will be issued at the discretion of each establishment. The owner, manager or bartender reserves the right to refuse go-cups to someone who is in danger of being overserved.

Barker said only one container will be issued to anyone over 21 years old, and drinks must be finished before patrons enter another establishment.