Grace Guck, who has been an avid horse person for all of her life, had a great idea. As the clubhouse manager at the Edgartown Yacht Club, she is always on the lookout for novel ways to stage events, and given that she and her fiancé, Josh Cotterill, had just gotten engaged in 2018, things got personal. What could she do to put a unique twist on her own wedding to make it more memorable?
As it turns out, the answer was staring her right in the face — her old horse trailer could be just the ticket.
“Food trucks are gaining popularity in high-profile events,” Guck said. “They used to be kind of yucky, but now it’s like you can’t have a wedding without a food truck.”
Food trucks are obviously good for food, but what about the beer, wine, and liquor side of things?
“As someone who has worked about a million weddings and events,” Guck said, “I saw the need for an organized, self-contained way to handle the drinks, especially on the Vineyard, where weddings are often out in the fields in places like the Allen Farm or Flat Point Farm.”
Ordinarily the bar for an outside wedding consists of a couple of tables put together with the bartenders standing behind them. There are a bunch of unsightly glass racks behind the tables, no place to dump unfinished drinks, and the dirty glasses have to sit out on the grass or under the table. Grace and Josh’s Rolling Bar provides a great alternative.
There was a lot of work to do to turn an old Kingston horse trailer into a silk purse, so to speak — into something that would have the charm and elegance to grace an upscale Vineyard wedding.
Josh began by cutting the sheet metal out of the side of the trailer so it would function as a service window. An electrician by trade, he worked on the wiring to create a low-voltage lighting system run off a battery that could work out in the middle of a field where there’s no electricity. The Rolling Bar also has low-voltage bistro lights to give it a festive look.
Meanwhile, Cotterill’s cousin Eric Toole had a big hand in the carpentry. The wood for the back bar is live-edge oak that Toole got from a mill in Vermont and finished beautifully. It has backlit shelving for bottle displays, and a countertop for mixing cocktails.
The inside of the trailer can best be described as charming. The walls are coated in crackle paint that was part of the original trailer, and freshened up with a coat of sealant. Another touch from the original trailer was the floors. When they pulled the mats up, it revealed beautiful wide plank wood floors with horse’s names scrawled in children’s handwriting. Josh and Eric refinished the floors but left the writing.
The converted trailer with its burnished wood and indirect lighting could almost qualify for an episode of (Extremely) “Tiny House Nation.” I figured that for what real estate is going for these days on the Vineyard, the trailer would probably fetch something in the high six figures.
Construction on the Rolling Bar was completed in February 2020, and a launch was planned for last April. Grace wrote in an email, “As you can imagine, last year wasn’t the best year for events (haha), and we’re planning a relaunch in 2021.”
In spite of the lockdown last year, they were able to rent out the Rolling Bar for two very small weddings. And the Barn Bowl and Bistro used it as a service station in their outdoor dining space. “That was great because it allowed us to work out a couple of kinks,” Guck said. “So now we’re totally ready for 2021.”
I asked Grace if she’d ever had any other entrepreneurial adventures, and she said that in fact she had had one other project that proved to be a lot of fun, called MV Ponies.
She and her pony named Popcorn go to kids’ birthday parties, Popcorn dressed like a unicorn and Grace like a princess. “I’ve been doing it for two or three years,” Guck said. “I love the kids and I love doing something different. I have so much fun.”
Grace remains optimistic about the Rolling Bar for the coming year. “Obviously we didn’t have the kickoff last year that we were hoping for,” she said, “but we already have a few bookings scheduled for late summer and fall.”
Not the least of which is Josh and Grace’s own wedding; it will be held in the fall. And you can be sure there will definitely be a Rolling Bar at that wedding.
The Rolling Bar is available for rental. The rental is just for the bar, the liquor and bartenders are to be supplied by the renters, and Grace would be glad to advise on the best sources on the Island.
And let the good times roll!