The PA Club Fish Fry: A Local Tradition In Oak Bluffs On Martha’s Vineyard

For years I have driven home down Vineyard Avenue in Oak Bluffs, passing by the monthly fish fry sign at the Portuguese American Club. My interest also piqued, but I never stopped in.

However, on a gorgeous Thursday evening in July, it was time to go make it happen. I had no idea what to expect of this very popular night at the PA Club. The parking lot is always full on this night, and I am not a PA Club member. I wasn’t even sure if I could go, but I was up to the adventure.

My kids are big fish fry fans and wanted to go with me. So, the three of us walked in to the club. People were very friendly. It was clear that this was a tradition for a lot of people. I could also tell that it was a night where Summer friends reconnected with Island friends. There was a lot of hellos and hugs happening. It was really sweet. It is also a very local experience, very casual.

The fish fry set up is buffet. It’s all you can eat, which definitely has its appeal for some, because you really get your money’s worth. It’s $15 for adults and $8 for kids under 12. A serious value because not only do you get the fish, but you can also get fries, mac & cheese, and dessert. Oh and don’t forget the corn bread – yum! The kids had the regular, I had the one with jalapeños (better than most found in Island restaurants). All that for $15.

We piled our plates high and went through to the back bar so I could grab a beer. My friend Gillian was at the bar, and though busy, she had a moment for a smile and a quick chat. Turns out there’s a good selection of beers and cocktail options, and the drinks happen to be the most affordable on the Island.

We then went out to the relatively new outdoor porch space. Here we ran into other friends enjoying the night too. It was great running into friends and relaxing outside. The kids ran around a bit, and we were not nervous about them making a mess or bothering any other diners.

The fish fry was really good. A little salt, and it was yummy. It was lightly fried and tasted fresh and homemade. My kids had seconds. They loved it, and frequently ask about going again. With all that fish eaten, they were able to enjoy the chocolate cake that was offered for dessert. They were in heaven. A definite parenting win for me, and a great new discovery for a dinner option in Oak Bluffs.

The PA Club usually offers Fish Fry Thursday twice a month in the Summer. The next one is Thursday, August 16th, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. And the good news is that you DO NOT need to be a member of the club to enjoy the fish fry.

However, after going, you might decide you would like to become a member. The PA Club is a lot more than a good fish, cocktails and socializing. It’s the home of the Holy Ghost Association of Martha’s Vineyard, and with this blog, I learned a lot more about just how special this club is.

Since 1930, the Holy Ghost Association has been known to all as a place of endless goodwill to the Island community. Whether it be by inviting island children to our annual Easter egg hunt, visits with Santa Claus, playing games at the Feast, feeding needy souls at  Thanksgiving and Christmas, helping kids stricken by Aids, the countless funeral receptions hosted at no cost to the bereaved, the hundreds of thousands in scholarship money, the fundraisers for families in need, all of which amount to over a quarter of a  million dollars in the last five years alone. Our members and our famous Benevolent Committee play a vital role in weaving the Vineyard fabric.

A definite “Frugal Foodie” find for the Summer months, and and it was fun to play pool with my son. You can always find a little extra adventure. You can learn more about the PA Club on its website, click here. Thanks for reading On Point MV, bringing you great Island happenings twice a week. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest, Youtubeand Instagram.

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