Q: What is The Yard Social Club?
A: Officially, The Yard Social Club is the organizer or co-organizer of several events throughout the year that promotes a message of Supporting Sustainable Suburbia, usually by organizing excursions to explore walkable suburban neighborhoods while patronizing local businesses. We also advocate for changes within Metra to make the service a stronger, more reliable asset for suburban Chicago.
The unofficial stance of The Yard Social Club is to assemble groups of friends, acquaintances, friends-of-friends, etc. as we find new and exciting ways to day-drink through the suburbs without anyone needing to get behind the wheel. We fully acknowledge that the unofficial stance tends to win over more patrons.
Q: Who runs The Yard Social Club?
A: The Yard Social Club’s events, including matches of The Yard Beer Pong League (YBPL) are primarily organized by Scott Presslak, who has hosted a wide variety of social events since 2002. Scott also happens to be a certified Professional Transportation Planner (PTP) with two degrees in urban planning and work experience at the Illinois Department of Transportation, Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority, and in the private sector. For more information about his professional bona fides, click here. To most people around these parts, however, he’s simply known as “The Mayor”.
Q: Is “The Yard” an actual place?
A: Yes! The Yard is a suburban backyard at Scott’s parents’ house used for literally hundreds of bonfire nights since 2002. However, since The Yard did begin as a friends-only venue (and since it’s still the private residence of Scott’s parents, who are totally unaffiliated with The Yard Social Club), events at The Yard – including The Yard Olympics – are invitation-only. But if you tag along to our train crawls and get along well with the rest of The Yard Social Club, an invitation could be forthcoming.
Q: How do train crawls work?
A: It’s like a more traditional pub crawl, but over a much larger geographic area utilizing a transit line to move between the various bars, spending usually 45 to 90 minutes per location. We have way, way more information about how train crawls work here.
Q: How much do train crawls cost?
A: Metra offers a weekend pass that is good for unlimited rides on all their trains all weekend long for $10. If you drive to a station, you may be required to pay for parking. (We do not recommend driving: take transit, call a cab, use Uber/Lyft, etc.) Otherwise, how much it costs is entirely up to you regarding how much you care to eat and drink over the course of the day.
Q: How often does The Yard Social Club host a train crawl?
A: There’s no set schedule, but generally we try to organize at least four events a year, every two to three months or so. Check the home page for what events are coming soon.
Q: Are you affiliated with local transit providers?
A: No. Scott is currently employed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), but The Yard Social Club is a labor of love and totally unrelated to his professional duties. (In fact, due to Illinois ethics laws, Scott is prohibited from earning any profit from The Yard Social Club.) He previously worked in Metra’s Strategic Capital Planning division and in the Chicago Transit Authority’s Performance Management division, but The Yard Social Club is not sponsored, affiliated, or otherwise associated with Metra, the CTA, IDOT, or any other transportation agency or provider. The Yard Social Club is a 100%-personal side project of Scott’s and receives no support or compensation, financial or otherwise, from any of the transportation agencies (or basically anyone else). Likewise, all information and opinions contained herein are exclusively that of Scott and The Yard Social Club.
Q: How do I join The Yard Social Club?
A: There’s no official membership rules for The Yard Social Club, although we reserve the right to change that in the future. If you’re interested in taking a more active part in The Yard Social Club, but the best way is to simply show up to our public events. And the easiest way to do that is to become one of our fans on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to see what events are coming soon.