Brian Cutaia and Robert Walter were having drinks at Five Points Cafe in Sayville on July 5, 2013, when Walter posed a challenge: to visit and have a drink at 1,000 bars in one year.
"Idiot," was Cutaia's response.
One year, an estimated $20,000 and one hospital visit later, the Islip Terrace friends and fellow East Islip High School graduates have reached their goal and now hope to have the feat recognized by the Guinness World Records.
Cutaia, 26, and Walter, 24, spent the $20,000 on beers, drinks, shots, tips and transportation while traveling to bars in Suffolk, Nassau and Queens. From being patted down at La Paz in Port Jefferson to sipping dirty Spaniards at Ichiz Sushi in Huntington, Walter and Cutaia have shared quite an experience. They’ve frequented Irish, German and Thai bars, as well as gentlemen’s clubs, restaurants and bowling alleys.
The idea started as a personal goal to have at least one drink, beer or shot at any establishment that included a bar, bar stools and a bartender. The two began their year-long journey the same day as Walter’s brainstorm, and it ended at Great South Brewery in Bay Shore on June 27.
“We didn’t, like, think about a record until like maybe 40 or 50,” Cutaia said.
Walter and Cutaia are now in the process of submitting paperwork to Guinness that lists the names and addresses of the bars they visited along with the dates and signatures of the bartenders or bar owners. They also set up Facebook and Instagram pages with photos and status updates from throughout the year.
Bruce Masters of Great Britain holds the Guinness World Record for having a drink in the most pubs ever: 46,495 as of January 2014. A team of 13 people hold the record for most pubs visited in a 24-hour period: 250 in New York City in 2011. But a Guinness spokesperson says there is no yearly category currently recognized.
Walter and Cutaia visited an average of five places every time they went out, but ended up in as many as 21. The pace took its toll after bar No. 900, with Walter having to take a trip to Stony Brook University Hospital after experiencing chest pains.
Doctors advised Walter to slow down. His response: “I had 100 more to go.”
The Guinness spokesperson said it would take 8 to 12 weeks after the organization receives the documentation to consider certifying the record. But even if Guinness doesn’t recognize it, the two say they have no regrets.
“If we don’t get in, it doesn’t really matter,” Walter said. “We did 1,000 bars … we know that we hold the record.”
Cutaia adds: “I’ve opened up my taste in food and everything from this bar challenge. I went to places I never would have went to before.”