British Man Attempts Guinness World Record By Visiting 51 Pubs in One Day

·3 min read

The Regal, a pub in Cambridge, England, and The Weeping Ash, another pub in nearby St. Neots, are less than 20 miles apart, but it still took Matt Ellis almost nine hours to make it from one to the other. His trip was complicated by the fact that he stopped for a drink at 49 pubs on his way in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most pubs visited by one person in a 24 hour period.

A bartender serving beers at bar
A bartender serving beers at bar

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Ellis, who runs the Smiling Grape wine merchant in St. Neots, was in and out of 51 pubs in 8 hours, 52 minutes, and 37 seconds on Sunday. According to the BBC, Guinness requires any "pub visit" to include drinking at least 125 mL (4.1 ounces) of any liquid while you're on the premises, so you can't just run in, slap both hands on the bar, and run right back out. He was also accompanied by two official witnesses, and a member of each bar's staff signed off on all of his visits.

In order to ensure that he was still (mostly) functional at the end of the day, Ellis stuck to juices and diet sodas. "I then had to run to the next pub," he added. "It was probably the most difficult thing I've done in my life." (And, since he downed at least 215 ounces of juice and soda — well over a gallon's worth — he admitted that he had to fit in "several toilet trips.")

Ellis said that his extreme all-day activity was mostly to remind everyone of the value of supporting their local watering holes. "When pubs were shut during various stages of lockdown last year, we became much more aware of their importance within our communities, and this world record attempt was driven by my own appreciation of the different styles of pubs that I enjoy visiting," he told The Morning Advertiser. "Every one of the 51 pubs on our tour had its own character, and typified the different styles of pub that we can choose from, creating some fantastic memories."

When he added up his totals, he visited 46 pubs in Cambridge and five in St. Neots. He told The Hunts Post that his favorite of the lot was the Pig and Falcon in St. Neots. (Honestly, we're just impressed that he could keep track of what was what.)

Representatives from Guinness World Records told the BBC that they had received all of Ellis' documentation. There isn't currently a Guinness record for the most pubs visited by a single person in 24 hours, but there is a team record: a decade ago, a group of 13 people somehow drank in 250 New York City bars during one 24-hour period. (That comes out to around 19 bars per person, which frankly pales in comparison to Ellis' one-man achievement.)

As for Ellis, he's somehow not put off by the idea of visiting even more pubs. He told the Morning Advertiser that he'd like to lead a tour group on an Around the World Pub Crawl that would stretch across 12 countries on four continents. Surely his Guinness Record will be worth a free drink in at least one of them.

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