All Sections

Home | Scene in Manchester

Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: You'd better watch out ... SantaCon is coming to town

December 08. 2017 8:21PM
Getting ready for today's fifth annual SantaCon Pub Crawl are, from left, Dan Horgan, from Manchester, dressed in a twin sweater with Neal Brown, co-owner of Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant, and Manchester's Kevin Buckley. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

If I've learned anything from the national headlines lately, it’s that I should keep my distance from powerful men. Well, there’s one guy out there with more power than anyone these days, at least in my house. He’s unshaven and prefers red. He might ask you to sit on his lap, or sneak into your house while you’re sleeping.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust Santa. Just know that if you run into him in Downtown Manchester this evening, he’ll likely be on a pub crawl.

The fifth annual SantaConMHT begins today, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. at Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant. Organizers are hoping to top last year’s attendance, which included at least 130 Santa wannabes, and make it the “biggest and friendliest” pub crawl in the city. According to, it’s one of nearly 400 SantaCons (Santa conventions) taking place across 52 countries around the world this month.

After registering for the Manchester crawl at Shaskeen, and enjoying a free buffet meal while it lasts, the SantaConMHT crew will make its way to The Wild Rover at 5:30 p.m., Pint Publik House at 6:30 p.m., Bonfire at 7:30 p.m., Strange Brew Tavern at 8:30 p.m., Murphy’s Taproom at 9:30 p.m. and Club Manchvegas at 10:30 p.m.

Each location will offer drink specials to those in costume.

With Santa’s reputation on the line, I am counting on local SantaCon participants to drink responsibly and refrain from behaving “insensitively,” “inappropriately,” “disrespectfully,” “remorsefully,” “regrettably,” or any other adverbs we’ve heard in recent public apologies. Santa’s naughty list is already long enough.

Fun is on its way

“More entertainment options” was at the top of the wish list for local workers at a recent Millyard Forum, and I believe they’re on the way. At least if you’re a board game nerd like I am.

The new Boards & Brews Game Café plans to open its doors early next year. It’s a place for people to come together, enjoy food and beverages, play favorite tabletop games and try new ones.

Manchester is desperate for an option like this — a place where friends and families can get out of the house and have fun without mobile phones and tablets.

And there’s obviously a lot of excitement around the concept, as company owners met their recent $15,000 Kickstarter campaign goal in just two days. More than 90 people helped fund the Boards & Brews dream in exchange for perks like memberships, T-shirts, and having their name inscribed in one of the board game boxes.

It’s not too late to contribute. You can learn more about this unique concept at

(P.S. I also heard a rumor that a “barcade,” featuring 1980s-era video games is being considered for Downtown Manchester. I hope they have Ms. Pac-Man.)

Free Saturday

New Hampshire residents receive free general admission to the Currier Museum of Art on the second Saturday of each month, and that’s today, Dec. 9.

From 10 a.m. to noon, you can browse the galleries and visit the Creative Studio to explore simple printmaking techniques inspired by the current exhibit The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec.

As a special treat this month, visitors can also enjoy Caroling in the Galleries by the Manchester Choral Society, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

For more information, visit

What do you see happening in Manchester that readers of The Scene need to read about? Share your column ideas with Katie at

Business Arts Music Scene in Manchester Food Holiday or vacation Local and County Government Manchester Photo Feature

Newsletter Signup