Mug Club Mondays at the Wharf Rat

Mug Club Mondays at the Wharf Rat (801 S. Ann St., [410] 276-8304, normally draw beer-drinking club members, who pay reduced prices to fill personalized 24-ounce blue, ceramic mugs that are kept waiting for them behind the bar (winner of "Best Drinking Plan" in 2011). Recently, though, on the second Monday of each month, Mug Clubbers have started to have some interesting company: crafters.

Dubbed "Crafternoons" by Nicholas Cain (pictured), who organizes the events via a Facebook group that so far has 30 members, they actually take place starting at 8 p.m., and end whenever everyone is done doing the month's designated craft. The first was in February, when old-fashioned Valentines were the craft of choice, followed by crochet basics in March and duct-tape flowers in April. "It's a good time with food, drink, friends, and craft," says Cain, an affable 30-year-old who calls himself "quite the granny."

On May 13, the Crafternoons task at hand was decoupage cigar boxes, involving the decoration of said boxes by gluing on magazine clippings and the like. Cain had mostly finished his before the gathering, as a kind of show-and-tell, having festooned it with strips of paper containing the Wharf Rat's motto: "Better to be a wharf rat's darling than a preppy's slave." About 15 people got busy with boxes, glue, and clippings, while quaffing, chatting happily between smoke breaks, and admiring one another's handiworks-in-progress.

"All are welcome," says Cain, a transplant from Houston, where he used to craft with others in a regular rotation of people's homes. Here in Baltimore, he picked the Wharf Rat as a central location for like-minded souls. "We grow in number each time. It's a networking group for crafters as much as anything else. I always tell people, 'Bring your mom.' We meet, and we craft. We drink, and we have fun. We meet, and we make friends. We do, and we learn."

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