There are few things more satisfying than that first sip of crisp beer out of a specialty stein, but the Barn Mug Club makes that experience even sweeter.
As part of a promotional program at the Barn Bowl & Bistro, the Mug Club offers a 22-ounce specialty stein that will make you feel like royalty as you pass by the average clear pint glasses.
But the value of a Barn Mug is much more than just a fancy booze receptacle — there are many deals that come with membership in the Mug Club that will benefit your wallet and your belly.
Bar manager Jonathan Killoran said the Mug Club started four years ago when the Barn Bowl & Bistro was just getting started, and wanted to attract Island regulars who could benefit from various food and drink deals.
“We wanted to make a good reason for people to keep coming back, and thought a club program with rewards would be a great idea,” Killoran said. “We wanted to make something that people want to be a part of.”
Aside from getting your very own Mug Club stein handcrafted and painted by Greyfox Pottery in Minnesota, members will enjoy daily food deals, specials during live sporting events, and club events that are currently in the works.
Killoran said he is working on planning beer tastings, customer appreciation celebrations, and Mug Club member parties for this upcoming year.
“We are working to expand the program and have special events just for Mug Club members,” Killoran said.
Looking to eat out and watch some Sunday night football? The Barn Bowl & Bistro offers half off pizza and wings on Sundays for club members,
Before coming to the Barn Bowl & Bistro to run the bar, Killoran said he worked in other establishments that had Mug Club programs, and wanted to bring the idea to the Island.
“The mugs are numbered, and you can pretty much engrave whatever you want on the bottom, as long as it’s PG-13,” Killoran said. “It’s just a fun idea — people can put their names on the bottom, or whatever else they want.”
The steins are then hung around the bar area and displayed for all to see.
Although this year’s Mug Club program is currently full, Killoran suggested signing up for the waitlist for next year.
“It was pretty incredible how fast this program became popular,” Killoran said. “We started out not knowing how successful it would be, and before we knew it, we had over 100 people on the waitlist.”
Killoran said Mug Club members can spread the word on social media and tell their friends about the program.
“We want people to spread the word and get others to get on the waitlist for next year; that way we can expand the program even more,” Killoran said.
Managing partner Mike Sawyer said the Barn Bowl & Bistro Mug Club is the only one of its kind on Martha’s Vineyard, and rewards the restaurant’s most loyal customers.
“We wanted to reward people for spending so much time and money here, and we made that happen in a really creative way,” Sawyer said. “All of our most regular customers jumped on the program immediately.”
Customers frequently ask if they can purchase the specialty steins without being a member, but Sawyer said the mugs are for club participants only.
“Not only do we make our loyal customers feel appreciated, but it represents a large target group of customers that would be responsive to a promotion,” Sawyer said.
According to Sawyer, opportunities like private events, sports parties, and other exclusive membership benefits are being looked at for next year.
“It’s a very novel experience, and it is really meant to save people money and offer them great deals and a special experience,” Sawyer said.
Membership in the Mug Club is $100 for a first-time payment, then $60 for yearly renewal. Killoran said folks can take their time in renewing their membership, but need to renew to be included in the program.
This year’s program is currently full, but folks can go to the Mug Club program website to sign up for the waitlist for next year, or call 508-696-9800.
Updated to correct title of Mike Sawyer. — Ed.