Up for a crazy night? Try the Blacksburg Crawl. This is a VT tradition. Usually reserved for those on their 21st birthday or on graduation day, the crawl can be done by anyone looking to see all that downtown B’burg has to offer.
The traditional crawl starts at PK’s on Main Street, and then it works its way down the street. In more recent years, it has come to include College Avenue and Draper Road and often ends at the Rivermill.
To make the experience the real deal, stop at The T-shirt Factory beforehand (209 College Ave.) and pick up an official Blacksburg Crawl T-shirt. Then, when you go out, bring along some Sharpie markers. You get the shirt signed by your new drunk friends as you go. You’ll be able to save this shirt forever as a souvenir of your wild night. It is also very funny to read in the morning.
The morning of the big crawl, sleep in, and save up your energy - you’ll need it. This suggested route for the crawl will allow you to see the main highlights of downtown Blacksburg. You may notice somewhere else that looks interesting along the way. Use this as a guide, then tailor the trip as you like. Pace yourself - don’t go overboard in the beginning or you won’t make it very far. You should start early, too, and spread the crawl out over a long night to better your chances.
Start the crawl at PK’s (432 N. Main St.). This bar is most famous for its pizza and pool tables in the back. If you are a football fan, the VT Hokies players frequent this location. The patio outback is very nice in the summer. Do your first shot here and then move on. There is a lot to see.
Make a left out the door of PK’s towards the downtown area. Your next stop is Hokie House (322 N. Main St.). This is the place to be for pool lovers. Do another shot here and stay awhile to talk to some Hokies. This is a great place for meeting new people, and you will likely get the most signatures on your T-shirt here.
Now, head out (very likely with a new gang of friends) to the next location - Sharkey’s (216 N. Main St.). At this point, you may be starting to feel the effect of the crawl and find the aqua walls and cartoon sharks amusing. Head upstairs for the action and do a shot or two. You’ll find a lot of people eager to sign your crawl T-shirt here as well. Now, move on to Bordeaux’s (205 N. Main St.). This Cajun-style joint serves up some seriously spicy food. At this point in the evening, you may feel uninhibited enough to try the alligator bites. If it is nice outside, head out to the patio. This place is more laid-back and will give you a chance to catch your breath before you move on. It’s also a good idea to stop for a bathroom break here if necessary- you’ll have to wait awhile at your next stop.
Now gather up your energy and head a little farther down Main Street to Big Al’s (201 N. Main St.). This extremely popular location will most likely be the most crowded spot on your crawl. It is also the only location that charges a cover. If you are broke at this point, skip it and move on. Otherwise, Big Al’s shouldn’t be skipped. Brave the crowds and head upstairs for a shot. Some would say that a crawl without a stop at this most famous B’burg bar location isn’t really a true crawl.
After getting caught up Big Al’s for awhile, head on to Champ’s (111 N. Main St.). This is the sports bar of Blacksburg. TVs with ESPN are everywhere. Usually, it is not as crowded here. The customers are mostly men. Do a shot here if you are still standing and get ready to stray off Main Street.
Things may get tricky here if you have kept up with the crawl. Have a less intoxicated Hokie point you in the right direction. Don’t force yourself if you’ve had enough. Many Hokies never even make it this far. Make a right out of Champs and head back down Main Street in the direction you came from. Then make a left onto College Avenue. Follow College Avenue down (maybe about 50 feet) until you are almost at the VT campus. Look on your left-hand side - you will see a bar with a tall set of stairs. This is Top of the Stairs (217 College Ave.). This bar is taken over by the Greek crowd. The outdoors patio is very nice, especially in the summer. Head outside here for a quieter atmosphere. If you can handle it, do another shot - you only have one more bar to go. Carefully (very, very carefully) make your way down the long stair case back to College Avenue. Many people fall down these stairs every year, so get some spotters if you need to at this point.
Head back down College Avenue in the direction you came from and make a right onto Draper Avenue - the end of your crawl is in sight. The Rivermill (212 Draper Rd.) is your last stop. This bar has a more laid-back feel and is perfect for crashing at a table and enjoying some free carbs (chip baskets are available if you ask). Have your final drink and then head back towards College Avenue to the VT campus to catch the BT bus home. Roll into bed.
In the morning, pull out your T-shirt and read the signatures to remember the wild fun you had on your Blacksburg Crawl.