Shanghai Squared caught up with Brandon Woods, Director of Operations for one of Shanghai’s more boozy tours: The Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl. We sat down at his favourite Thai restaurant in town.
Where are we and why have you brought us here?
We’re in Chiang Mai and I’ve brought you here because it’s by my place and still relatively unknown. The people who do know it claim it as the best Thai place in Shanghai.
What is the Drunken Dragon pub crawl?
It is whatever you want it to be. It’s something that hasn’t been done in Shanghai – we are the only regular weekly pub crawl. We saw it as an amazing opportunity to tie in with the vibrant nightlife of Shanghai and really give people something different around here.
Running this business is like running Microsoft or any other business
What inspired you to start up a pub crawl business?
Last year for my birthday party, we Johanna and Liz (co-founders of Drunken Dragon) did a pub crawl around Columbia, South Carolina. Johanna and I were sitting in marketing class G-chatting and we devised this plan. We got ten and a half credits of our twelve credits at Fudan University to start this business. So it was technically part of our studies. We thought it was a great idea that wasn’t being done and we just rolled with it.
Tell me about the steps of setting up a business in China.
People ask me “you started up a booze business – how hard can that be?” Well, I tell people, running this business is like running Microsoft or any other business. You still have the ops, the finance, the marketing and all that jazz. We had to go through all those steps. It’s an arduous process, it’s long but it’s necessary for any long-term sustainability.
You really have no choice but to meet people and party with them all night long
What has been being Director of Operations for the Drunken Dragon pub crawl done for your love life?
It’s been a good thing, let’s put it like that – it hasn’t been a dry season.
Would you let your boyfriend or girlfriend go on the crawl alone?
Definitely, there are people who come on our crawl all the time that are just looking to meet new people. We’ve had groups of 90% girls and everyone’s just has a great time. 90% guys and everyone has a good time. It’s not all about hooking up, it’s just meeting new people and going out and seeing Shanghai’s nightlife. You really have no choice but to meet people and party with them all night long.
Our bus driver always asks us if we can find him a girl. I think he’s really into Western girls.
What’s the Chinese reaction when they come across you on a night out?
Funny, our bus driver always asks us if we can find him a girl. I think he’s really into Western girls. It’s an interesting concept for Chinese people, a lot of them don’t understand what we’re doing. But the Chinese who’ve come on our pub crawl and the ones we’ve met along the way have had a great time. So if we can connect to the Chinese market…I really think it would take off.
Who would win in a bar fight: a drunken dragon or a tipsy panda?
You know what, I think we’d just end up hugging and getting a beer. Actually, we’d win.
What’s next for the Drunken Dragon?
We have big plans. We’re looking for investment and we’re going to take that investment and do something in this city that hasn’t been seen. We’re trying to find the right person to back our idea but now that we have a legal company and a proven network…we want to take the bus idea a little further – coming soon.