Bar Belle: D.C. Hashing

Chances are if you looked at the title of this article and read on, you enjoy the pursuit of fun just like your new Bar Belle. Mine just so happens to be mostly alcohol induced. But don’t judge, you would think I was a lot more comical with four beers in you, too.

I have spent the past three months hypothesizing, researching and testing the greater D.C. area in order to deliver a shocking report about the best spots to get your drink on. With my game face on and thinking cap off, I dragged friends, family and strangers alike all around our nation’s capital in search of the perfect drinking venues.

The task started out promising as we adventure-cized (I’m waiting for Britannica to get back to me regarding the coining of that term) all over U Street, Adams Morgan, Dupont and Virginia finding great dive bars and restaurants. August arrived, however, and suddenly my troops and I retreated back to the black hole in Georgetown I call Garretts – frustrating, I know. I needed new ideas and advice, so I turned to a good friend who has always provided me with wisdom – Craig and his list. After reading several posts on Craigslist about lonely men seeking a “friend” to lunch with and frat graduates looking for co-ed soccer teams, I stumbled across a link for D.C. Hashing (cue angel hymn). (

Now fellow Colonials, I have to get something off my chest. I thought long and hard about whether or not to write about hashing because I’m a jealous, self-centered person. I’m that girl who gets mad when her secret favorite band makes the MTV play list and I can’t stand when that little boutique I thought no one knew about shows up in a magazine. But if I am to be your Bar Belle, I need to let these things go and give up my favorite spots and activities. So here goes.

Hashing is perhaps the best sport in the history of.well.sports. It’s a combination of running and drinking, with greater emphasis on the drinking part. The concept for hashing was born in Malaysia in 1938 when a group of British Colonials got together for a sweaty jog on Monday nights to be followed with a tub of iced beer. These days, hashing has become an international social network allowing people of all drinking ages to exercise and then put the weight right back on with massive amounts of alcohol. Nice.

The hash itself can range from a 2 to 5-mile run/walk with various beer and shot booths setup throughout the trail. The leaders of the pack – otherwise known as “eagles” – act as scavengers, reading clues and signs to find the alcohol. Meanwhile, the slower members, or “turkeys,” follow the leaders who have found the true trail. At the end of the trail the runners are rewarded with, you guessed it, more alcohol! When the sweat is dry and the haze sets in deeper, the hashers create a circle and induct the new member “virgins” into the group. Mumbled singing and embarrassing storytelling will ensue during this process.

If the Harriers or Harriettes (their terms for guys and girls) still haven’t morphed into your personal prince charming/princess Leah, you can join the serious drinkers for a bar crawl after the run. Warning: This may not be the best idea if you have classes, or lets say a summer internship, before the hour of ten the next morning.

Don’t be intimidated my little beer-bellied readers- hashing is not some competitive 7-minute mile running club. Yes it does promote exercise, but the point of a hash is to keep the pack together and enjoy getting sloshed and being inappropriate to innocent passers-by. Local D.C. chapters welcome anyone who has a good attitude and willingness to have fun. You don’t need to be a marathon runner- although you will probably drink with a few.

If you think you’re up for the challenge, check out http://dchashing,com to find a local chapter that personally appeals. It’s a great way to meet people, build stamina, and improve burping skills (and you know the ladies love skills.)

Bar Belle rating: 4 of 5 bells.

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