The Ultimate 12 Pubs Of Christmas Guide: Rules & Tips

Everything you need to know to prepare you for the 12 pubs of Christmas!

Over the past decade or so, this activity aligned with debauchery and frivolous behaviour has become synonymous with the festive season.

The “12 Pubs of Christmas” or sometimes, simply, “12 Pubs” is the name of this annual drinking game where groups of friends gather together, don silly Christmas garb and venture on routes around cities or towns in Ireland, stopping at (and drinking at) 12 pubs along the way.

Almost a tradition at this stage, there are a series of rules (some standard and some just plain ridiculous) as to how to conduct one’s self when taking part in “12 Pubs”.

Here we’ll outline them, and even throw in some tips for good measure!

Basic Rules

1. Christmas jumpers are essential. The more outrageous and/or embarrassing, the better.
2. Other Christmas related paraphernalia encouraged. Think Santa hats, sleigh bells, twinkle lights, tinsel.
3. One drink (usually a pint) must be consumed in each pub or bar.
4. One “rule” will be imposed per bar. Groups need to decide these “rules” in advance. Tip: write them down on your phone for ease of reference (it’s pretty safe to say that once you are five pubs down, your memory won’t be the sharpest!)

Although there are more “rules” than we could possibly list here, we’re going to outline the most common.

All you have to do is choose the 12 you feel will make your night the most amusing!

Common Rules

1. “The Accent Pub”. Simply put: every member of your group has to speak in a different foreign accent.
2. “The Partner Pub”. In this pub, you must pick at mate (sometimes you even have to link arms for the entirety of that pub visit) and can only drink your beverage, by being fed it by your chosen mate. This is simpler than it sounds, in a crowded bar with too many jars on you!
3. “The No Swearing Pub”. Sounds easy, think again.
4. “The No Pointing Pub”. This is really hard. Just take our word for it.
5. “The No Talking Pub”. This is difficult for sure, but mainly just looks weird as hell, which then makes the whole situation awkwardly funny, and in turn harder to not talk.


6. “The No First Names Pub”. Strangely so, it’s very hard not to call your mates by their first names, seeing as it’s there name and all.
7. “The Speak in Song Pub”. Add some lyrics to your night. Once drunk, this will be highly amusing.
8. “The No Talking to the Bartender Pub”. This will really piss off the bartender, but it’s kind of funny, nonetheless.
9. “The No Toilet Break Pub”. This is just cruel.
10. “The Opposite Hand Pub”. Drink with your opposite (i.e. lefties drink with your right hand, and vice versa).


11. “Call the barman, Guinness”. This gets rather confusing. For example: “Can I get a Coors, Guinness”. This may also piss the bartender off.
12. “The No phones pub”. This shouldn’t be too hard if you’re having the craic with your mates.
13. “The Hold Your Drink Pub”. Easier than it sounds, you cannot let your drink touch any surface for the entirety of the pub, or until you have finished your drink.
14. “The Swap Shoes Pub”. It’s not entirely sure why this rule is a rule, but it’s a popular one, no doubt.
15. “The Hug a Stranger Pub”. This is pretty straightforward, hug a stranger before time is up in that pub!


Rule Breakers

If someone breaks one of the rules, either intentionally or unintentionally, there are a known list of penalties ranging from harsh to fair. Here’s some common picks:

1. Do a shot
2. Buy the person who spotted you breaking the rule, their next drink
3. Buy a drink and complete the pub as per rule

Our (you can thank us later) Top Tips

1. Although it can be seen as “weak” to include a water rule, it’s really the only way to go. 12 pints back-to-back will leave you legless and not remembering this epic night, so we suggest you throw in one of these two rules:
a. Drink a glass of water in every pub
b. Drink a pint of water (alongside your alcoholic beverage) in every third pub

2. Eat a large, stodgy, carbohydrate-based meal before your start. This will not only give you longevity on the pints but also slow down your descent into absolute drunkenness.

Alternatively, add in:

a. A food run after X amount of pubs
b. “The Dinner Pub”. This is where you have to have dinner and a pint/drink in the said pub.

3. “12 Pubs” can be known to get a little rowdy and bars and pubs can often turn away large groups of participants. Our tip: break into smaller groups opposed to entering all at once. You’ve a better chance of being served!

Final point, Enjoy your night and Merry Christmas!

Check out our suggested 12 pubs of Christmas routes:

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