Witches and wizards trek Valencia for bar crawl

Brianna Rankin, left, tries on the sorting hat as Jacob Gerstel, center, and Robert Aguila look on dressed as Harry Potter characters as they sign in for the Wizards Assemble Pub Crawl event held at Alchemy in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Santa Clarita residents represented their preferred Hogwarts houses as they attended the Wizards Assemble Pub Crawl beginning at Alchemy Valencia on Saturday.

Set up by bar crawl company We Love Pub Crawls, organizers notify residents of different cities across the country about themed bar crawls in their area, according to senior event coordinator Jairo Juarez. While the theme for Wizards Assemble could be for any generic wizards, people like to attend dressed as characters from the “Harry Potter” series.

“We were hitting up every major city in the United States, but we noticed that within every major city and major county there’s a lot of pockets of different cities,” Juarez said. “So we didn’t want people from Santa Clarita having to drive over to pub crawl in downtown L.A. to drink and then have to drive back.”

The crawl started at Alchemy and was followed by Lee’s Wine Bistro, The Bunker Hill Bar and Grill Valencia, the lobby of The Canyon Club and concluded at Saddle Ranch Chop House Valencia. Upon entering Alchemy, guests were given wands and waited until the crawl began. Guests also competed on wizarding trivia questions and participated in a best costume contest.

A fan of pub crawls, Robert Aguilar was notified about Wizards Assemble by his girlfriend. They looked at particular “Harry Potter” characters to dress up as in the days before the bar crawl. His girlfriend, Brianna Rankin, dressed as Hermione Granger, while Aguilar dressed as a young Albus Dumbledore.

“For me, I just started growing my beard,” he said. “So we were looking at different pictures of people in the movies. Dumbledore looked like the closest one.”

Their friend, Jacob Gerstel, was invited to join them. He dressed as Percival Graves from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

“(A) couple days ago, I wanted to hang out on Saturday and he said, ‘We’re doing a pub crawl for Harry Potter,’” Gerstel said. “He said, ‘Come here.’ I bought a ticket and scrambled to find a costume. And here we are. My first pub crawl, it’s very fun.”

Juarez said he’s working on more themes for other cities, including a bar crawl themed to “The Office.”

“That one thing in common brings a lot of people together,” Juarez said. “What you notice with Wizards Assemble is at the beginning of the night, you get a bunch of little groups and everybody sticks with their friends. By the end of the night, after three drinks, it’s just one big group party and everybody’s friends. It’s amazing to see.”

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