Good pubs, Good Beer, Good People

Monday, August 19, 2013

If You Bike It, They Will Come

Charles Hunter, Ashley and Sam
Manager Charles Hunter joined the Tilted Kilt family in East Brunswick in December of 2012, and when he was sent for training at the corporate headquarters in Arizona, he was mightily impressed by the number of motorcycles that packed TK parking lots. Of course, the riding season in AZ is somewhat longer than here in Jersey, but the sight made a lasting impression on Hunter.
So, back in NJ, he proposed that his own Tilted Kilt sponsor its first Bike Night. Most bikers enjoy going where the food  and company is good, the beer is cold and plentiful and the view is often, well,  breathtaking. But Hunter decided to think bigger by reaching out to the community. He linked up with Liberty Harley Davidson of Rahway, which provided a Heritage Softail Classic to the event and the South Brunswick Lions Club to hold a raffle for the bike. After intensive negotiations with the management of the Brunswick Square Mall to do something  so avant-garde,  Hunter, who emphasizes the partnership of business and community, jumped into Bike Night with both feet.

He roped off a chunk of the parking lot in front of the TK so bikes could have preferred parking. He initiated a 50-50 raffle with all of the house’s proceeds going to the Lions Club effort to assist the blind. And he waited to see what would happen, hoping a few bikers would show up. As we watched some rain clouds pass ominously overhead, he was visibly anxious, but he said he would use this event to learn what to do for next time.

What he learned was that he needs to rope of a larger chunk of the parking lot. As the sun returned, more than one hundred area bikers descended on the Kilt, participating in the raffle, enjoying the food, beer and views, and even became cheering spectators at a pick-up game of Giant Jenga on the patio.
The crowd kept the lovely and friendly Tilted Kilt girls hopping—which hopefully translated into financial gain for them. There were Tilted Kilt guys there, too, working hard, but I somehow doubt they got the same attention.

What did get a lot of attention was Michael Kulbacki’s Harley Hearse parked in the first spot off the patio. Everyone—and I mean everyone—looked at it, stopped to inspect it and took pictures. It has had so many modifications, HD no longer honors the warranty. Kulbacki, whose day job is as an airline pilot for United Airlines, moonlights as the director of the Brunswick Memorial Funeral Home. His tagline is “There for your ups… and downs.” Kulbacki, who says most of his “passengers” are elderly, transported his own 88-year-old grandmother to her final resting  place in the Harley Hearse—a $100,000 converted trike with a glass-walled, immaculate hearse trailer. “She never liked bikes, but she would have loved knowing that her elderly comrades talked about her last ride for weeks after she was laid to rest.”

But  Manager Hunter had even more goodies in store, as every hour, his “Entertainment Ladies” would pass through the parked bikes and select an hourly winner of “Best Bike.” The winner would then benefit from a house giveaway, and the losers would benefit from reduced prices on selected libations.
Hunter has planned more regular Bike Nights—and even car shows. If his future “Event Nights” are as successful as this, the Tilted Kilt in East Brunswick will definitely be a biker hotspot—provided the clientele adheres to Hunter’s “Friendly Place Policy.” Essentially, fun, good behavior and no “colors.”
“We want to be known as a fun, friendly place to come to, as well as one that gives back to the community,” said the manager, whose anxiety had lifted considerably.

100-plus laughing, friendly, fun-loving bikers can do that to a guy.

Check out more pictures here.

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