The First Bar of the First TBOX

The First TBOX… Mr. Festa Drinks Alone (1996)

The History of TBOX – The First 12 Bars of Xmas in 1996

Christopher Festa holds the first “12 Bars of Christmas” pub crawl in Lincoln Park, Chicago, mainly for his co-workers from Accenture (then known as Andersen Consulting). The very first bar is Goose Island on Clybourn, where no one shows up for the first 45 Minutes, and Chris has to drink alone.

The Following is told in the first person voice of TBOX Founder Christopher Festa…

The History of TBOX - How it Began 1996 thru 2001

To View Photos from TBOX 1996-2001, Click Here

“The entire reason I started TBOX was to have a party without my friends trashing my one bedroom apartment… and to meet girls, and that’s pretty much it… There was no master plan.”

IT ALL STARTED BACK IN December 1996, a time when almost nobody had a cell phone and very few had e-mail…there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no texting. It wasn’t nearly as easy as it is today to spread the word about parties and events, and if you wanted to meet somebody somewhere, you had to BE ON TIME at a certain place.

How did we ever survive?

For those who knew me as a youngster, I used to have a little party from 1994-97 in my Lincoln Park apartment called “Festapalooza” – but, within a few years, with my apartment being trashed, and threats from the landlord and neighbors, it was time to look at doing something OUTSIDE of the house. I’d heard of this “12 Bars Of Christmas” idea… so I put the word out to my Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) co-workers, and the date was set… Saturday, December 14, 1996.  I arrived at Goose Island Clybourn promptly at 4pm for Bar Number One, and…

No one showed up. The bar was empty save for 10 or 12 people I didn’t know. I sat ALONE until 4:45. Then, two of my friends showed up… Don and Ty. Fortuitously, I asked a bystander to snap what would become a historic photo — the Zapruder Film of TBOX — of the 3 of us holding up one finger symbolizing “Bar Number One” – and TBOX had begun…

The First Bar of the First TBOX
Bar #1, TBOX #1, December 14, 1996 – Don Fiala, Mister Festa, and Ty Sherman at Goose Island Clybourn.

At the second bar, about 15 other people were waiting, and I felt like this thing might be a success after all. That 2nd bar, by the way, was called “US Beer Company” and is now a Sleep Number Mattress Store.

By the end, we had OVER 60 PEOPLE, and the bars included McGee’s, Kelly’s, Glascott’s, Kelsey’s, Charlie’s Ale House, a few others, and ended at a bar on Lincoln called “Tailgators” which is now called “Kendall’s”. There were no badges, or t-shirts, no stickers, no frames, no costumes, no sponsors, no posters, no banners. But there was cereal… two boxes of Cap’n Crunch that I brought with me for snacking. And that was the first TBOX.

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