Hickory + Oak at Land-Grant.

Reinventing the Meal: Members Only

You won’t need your Members Only jacket to get into these places, but you will have to pay a little bit to get in on the goods. Trust us, it’s worth it. (And, seriously, maybe it’s time to get rid of that damn jacket from the 80’s. Just a thought).

Here’s a couple member-based institutions in the city that are changing the way people go about getting their grub and drink on.

Third Way Cafe • 3058 W Broad St.

Offering a cozy space to hang in and coffee by the mug full, the Third Way Cafe is changing the way you go about your morning cup of joe.

This isn’t to say they are revolutionizing some complex plan to brew up your coffee differently, they are just offering it in a different manner. Rather than ordering your drink and shelling out up to $5 like you would at Starbucks or Tim Hortons, you will be paying a small $2 cover fee for each time you visit. You might be thinking, “Wait, I thought this was a coffee shop, not a nightclub. Why should I have to pay to get in?”

Well, it’s more than just paying $2 to get your foot in the door. With your cover fee, you’ll be able to drink as many cups of coffee your caffeine infested heart can handle, and you won’t feel pressured to finish up and leave as Third Way Cafe encourages you to hang out to help generate a feeling of community when you step through the doors.

This sense of community is important to Third Way Cafe, and that’s why they offer memberships to anyone who finds themselves frequenting the cafe. For an upfront $20 fee, members can ditch the cover charge and enjoy everything the cafe has to offer. That means unlimited cups of coffee, a place to read a good book or finish up any work projects (let’s be real, your plans of finishing work projects at a coffee shop usually end in scrolling through Facebook for a few hours and saying, “I’ll just finish this on Monday”), and it’s a chance to meet other people in the community who also avoid work projects and mindlessly scroll through BuzzFeed cooking videos.

But, the cafe is more than just a spot to finish up projects and sip on some coffee, it also serves as an open space for professional events, musicians, and even game nights. You will have to pay to come to these events, or you can pay $200 for access to anything and everything going down at the cafe while also enjoying all the perks of the $20 membership.

Hickory and Oak Supper Club • 424 W Town St.

The last Sunday of the month stands as a holy day for Land Grant Brewing Company and Ray Ray’s Hog Pit. Land Grant shuts down it’s doors for the evening and invites all members of the Hickory and Oak Supper Club to come down and absolutely feast on some good old barbeque whilst throwing back a few cold Land Grant brews.

Wine pairings are cool if you are into that sort of thing, but the real drinkers out there know beer pairings are where it’s at. What’s not to love about it? It’s a damn good excuse to try out new beers; you get the chance to try speciality cuts and cures of meats such as the 24-month aged Mangalitsa prosciutto that was featured in the January installment; and you get to enjoy the presence of other beer and BBQ lovers who aren’t into all the pretentiousness of pairing a Sauvignon Blanc with some smelly goat cheese.

Here’s the catch (you knew there had to be one with something this good, right?): space is limited, so if you are looking to chow down and drink like a king (or queen), you had better get hot on that membership. For a single night of feasting, tickets cost $62 while six months of feasting costs $342. With a deal this great and options to secure a seat at the table for the foreseeable future, we trust you’ll make the right choice.

The Pink Flamingo • ourflamingo.com

The Pink Flamingo is the supper club you never knew you needed. More inclusive than exclusive, the roaming restaurant boldly bills itself as, “FUN in the world of seriousness, COMMUNAL in the world of capitalism, PLANTY in the world of meat.”

“The idea started with a conversation about not having a ‘third space’ outside of the bar,” explained Cam Williams, one of the initiative’s organizers. “It turns out, there are a lot of people looking for a space to gather with friends outside of work and their homes.”

The rules are as deceptively simple as the menu. Still in the start-up, pop-up phase, a $60 membership, or $15 a meal, affords access to the remainder of eight all-you-can-eat winter feasts focused on local, organic ingredients and a shift in how we think about what we put into our bodies, as well as into the environment. Traditional vegan favorites, artfully prepared to avoid common allergens, may look like a picnic or potluck, but go much deeper. It’s a table where everyone has a seat and a place.

“We are absolutely entering a more social era of dining,” Williams said. “We’re creating a membership-based restaurant, causing an intentional barrier to entry into our dining space. People must commit time and resources to become a member. It indicates they really want to be there.”

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