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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

TBOX Is Back: Famous Bar Crawl Returning To Wrigleyville Next Month

TBOX, the infamous bar crawl that brings thousands of inebriated partygoers to Wrigleyville every year, returns next month after being on hiatus due to the pandemic.

The Twelve Bars of Christmas crawl will return Dec. 11 after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.
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WRIGLEYVILLE — TBOX, the Christmas-themed bar crawl that brings thousands of partygoers to Wrigleyville every winter, is returning next month after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

This year’s Twelve Bars of Christmas crawl is happening Dec. 11 and tickets are on sale now.

The “Back to the ’90s” theme bar crawl will kick off at 10:30 a.m. at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison St., with a performance from ’90s cover band Grunge Candy.

The group will stop in 30 other Wrigleyville bars before returning to the Cubby Bear around 7 p.m. for the closing ceremonies and an encore performance. A full list of participating bars can be found on the ticket website.

Christopher Festa, who started TBOX in 1996, did not immediately return a request for comment, but he told Eater he expects between 12,000 and 15,000 people to attend this year.

“My attitude this year is to be grateful to be back in business,” Festa told Eater. “We missed going out and having a big, full day of crazy partying with everyone in crazy costumes. I just want everyone to help us celebrate the 25th anniversary.”

Festa started the bar crawl to “have a party without my friends trashing my one-bedroom apartment,” according to TBOX’s website. But supporting bars through the winter months has always been part of its mission.

The bar crawl has an infamous reputation of its partygoers causing drunken mayhem and violence in the neighborhood, including in 2014 when one man stabbed another with a broken beer bottle at the now-closed Red Ivy.

However, TBOX has raised about $300,000 for various charities over the years, according to the website. Festa told Eater the organization will work with nine or 10 local nonprofits this year and feature stations at various bars so partygoers can donate.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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