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thomas2Thomas Stanford, aka DJ R, spins at the Sandbar behind Ledo's Pizza to a packed house.
Bass beats push bodies closer and closer; the girl next to me, in a strapless orange top and silver thigh-length skirt, alternatively grinds and circles around the guy she is dancing with. Beer splashes on the floor; the DJ takes the mic. This is The Sandbar, behind Ledo’s Pizza in the Marlboro Shopping Center, one of the local options to get your party on.
There are those who complain that Easton is lacking a true party scene. Others recommend forgoing small-town venues and heading to Annapolis, Washington DC, or Ocean City to partake in nightlife. A lively spot where you can kick back, move around, and forget the week’s stress does exist, it just takes some uncovering.
Offering live music in its dining space Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Martini’s keeps Washington Street humming after hours. Recently, The Blitzed Band, a rock band that plays 70s, 80s, and 90s music, provided a pulsing background for the restaurant’s signature specialty drinks. Although Martini’s doesn’t have a true dance floor, people were on their feet in between tables.
Continuing down the street, Washington Street Pub’s long bar and flat screen TVs make it a popular hang-out with an eclectic crowd—hipsters, 20-somethings in hooded sweatshirts, and fresh-faced couples who’ve left the little ones with a sitter sit next to each other on the tightly packed bar stools. A block away, Brasserie Brightwell’s bar area is smaller, but modern and with a more sophisticated crowd.
Theresa Metelski, a bartender at Brasserie Brightwell, comments on the venue’s new status as a local hotspot. “We have a pretty large and amazing crowd of regulars—ranging in age from mid-20s to 50s and beyond—all of whom intermingle and love each other.” Brasserie also has live music about once a month, featuring acts like Kentavious Jones, Bling and Ryful. According to Metelski, “They bring in huge amounts of people that just want to dance, sometimes on the tables!”
Though Brasserie has an impressive beer list and offers drink specials, it is the ambiance, with the area’s only outdoor bar—kept toasty with a winterized tent and heating lamps—that draws Easton’s beautiful people out in droves.
For those searching for a true dance spot, The Sandbar is the most club-like venue, with weekly Karaoke, DJ parties and theme nights. It has a come-as-you-are feel and tends to attract both the baseball-cap-wearing deer hunters and the baseball-cap-wearing rapper-types.
Amy Baynard frequents The Sandbar, making it her regular hang-out because of the people and comfortable atmosphere. “It's nice to be part of a scene that includes regulars, DJs we like, and awesome bartenders like Andy and Tom.”
Thomas Stanford, known locally as DJ R, has a large following around town and frequently plays at The Sandbar. Standford is not only a video DJ, but he brings a passion to his show-style performance. “Music is a powerful tool,” Standford explains. “For the four to five hours people are there [at the venue], they don’t have to worry about bills and can just have fun.”
Shannon Keener, another local DJ who spins at The Sandbar and Washington Street Pub, likes to play to the crowd. “I get my inspiration and build my music sets from people's requests and their reactions to the music,” he states. Keener, who also plays at weddings, comments on the late-night scene: “It is a very diverse scene for every taste.”
For a more low-key vibe, Hunter’s Tavern at the Tidewater Inn sports lots of solid dark woods, ceiling beams, and fowl-inspired Eastern Shore decor. Not a sports bar by any means, but two generously sized flat screens adorn the walls just in case.
Beer lovers can head to Bannings Tavern for a beer sampler - five 2 oz. samples for $10 let’s you try anything on tap. Bartlett Pear Inn is another hidden gem, with top shelf drinks and a solid appetizer menu. “They make you feel special in there,” comments local Dave Ferraris.
While some are looking to mix and mingle in a bar scene, others venture to Night Cat and the Avalon, where they can sip a drink while taking in a show. With all of these different offerings, the next time someone says that Easton doesn’t have a night life, tell them it is hidden just below the surface, in the restaurants and inns and patios that they may have overlooked.
*Thanks to Chante Lasco, David Ferraris, Jennifer Stuart, and Holly Evans for their input.