Green’s Dictionary of Slang

growler n.2

[either a pun on SE sulky (although this was a one-horse, two-wheeled vehicle), or the creaks and rattles of the cab, or the stereotypically poor temper of the driver]

[mid-19C–1910s] a four-wheeled cab; thus its driver; also attrib.

In compounds

growler-shover (n.)

[late 19C–1910s] a cab driver.

In phrases

work the growler (v.)

[late 19C–1910s] to hire a cab to accompany one on a ‘pub-crawl’.