George Mason University

News at Mason

Cheers - the Mason Club adds a full bar

August 23, 2017   /   by Damian Cristodero

The Mason Club showed off its new bar on Aug. 22 during a social hour for new faculty and staff. Photo by Ron Aira.

When will the bar open?

That is the question Rutledge Dennis, Steven Pearlstein and Joe Scimecca, co-directors of George Mason University’s Mason Club, have been asked most about the 150-seat space for faculty and staff in the Pilot House of the Hampton Roads housing complex.

With a new liquor license and construction of an 8-foot-long wooden bar that is, for now, mobile (more on that later), they finally have an answer: Monday, Aug. 28, the first day the club is open in the new academic year.

“I think a lot of people want to have a little sip at the end of the day,” Dennis said.

The full bar will be open from 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5-7 p.m. on Friday, said Marc Fournier, George Mason’s assistant vice president of business services, though closing time could change, depending on patterns of use.

“Our expectation is that the word will get out and people will come have the experience of being together,” Fournier said. “It’s like that collision space where people will run into people they wouldn’t typically run into. It’s about the experience more than anything else.”

The club, which opened in January, was the idea of fellow sociology professors Dennis and Scimecca, as well as Pearlstein, a Robinson Professor of Public and International Affairs and a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post.

It has about 550 members (the access fee is $25 a semester; sign up here), and offers lunch for a fee, along with all-day coffee and tea.

The hope is that the bar will increase membership.

“We had a great first semester, especially considering we didn’t open in the fall (of 2016),” Fournier said. “All the feedback we got was fantastic. It was slightly disappointing that we didn’t get the frequency we expected by members visiting the club twice a week. We expect to make up for that by having more members and some creative programming with OLLI (the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), Fall for the Book and the Office of the Provost.”

Now, why is the bar mobile?

Basically, because the university wants to make sure its usage will be consistent. If so, it will be permanently installed in December. If not, it could be used in another location.

“A bar is a place for people to come together and socialize in a less formal way,” Pearlstein said. “That’s the rationale of the whole project.”

“We’re on the way to creating a community,” Dennis said. “We’re taking baby steps to create it. Maybe this semester we’ll do giant steps.”

Mason Club information            

— Though the official opening day is Aug. 28, the club hosted an Aug. 22 social hour for new faculty and staff.

— New faculty and staff receive a free one-year membership.

Hours of operation: Continental breakfast, 7:30-10 a.m.; Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Coffee and tea, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Meal prices (not including tax): Club lunch, $10; Premium lunch, $14; Coffee and tea, $1.50.

Payment options: Mason Money through a Mason ID card or by credit card. Or send a $25 check, including a note with your name and G number, payable to Sodexo-Mason Club and mail to Mason Dining, Attention: Mason Club, 4400 University Drive, MS 2F8, Fairfax, VA 22030.