So you’ve come to the Vineyard to relax, do a little shopping, and catch a sunny day at the beach. Now you’re wondering how to begin your night out. Though only Edgartown and Oak Bluffs have late night hotspots, there is enough variety on the island to accommodate an evening out for anyone. This Week’s Nightlife Guide shows you where to find the best views, cocktails, and live music on Martha’s Vineyard. Best of all, each town’s destinations are within walking distance of one another allowing you to save your money for that cab fare at the End of the night. There are many convenient taxi companies on the island and as always we suggest that if you have been drinking: Don’t Drive.
Sometimes you step off the late boat and simply don’t want to waste any more time before starting your evening. Fortunately, you can leave the ferry and grab a seat at Fishbones without ever taking your eyes off the water. Fishbones offers some of the freshest seafood on the island, no surprise since its backdoor is essentially touching the Oak Bluffs Harbor. You can sit at the waterside Bar and watch the local fishing boats come in with a fresh catch that could make it to your plate before the night is over. Fishbones serves specialty cocktails that are perfect companions for the busy waterfront and on some afternoons you will find live music played just beyond the bar on the bricks. What a way to spend a summer afternoon.
Just up from Fish bones is Coop de Ville which is a local’s favorite place to go especially during sporting events and at sunset. They have a raw bar new this year called the Shuck Shack and some great specials.
A little further down the harbor is The Sand Bar and Grille, literally only a stumble away. The Sand Bar has an outdoor beach patio and one of the best atmospheres on the island. Where else can you dance to the music with sand between your toes and the stars above your head? Their huge outdoor dining area is packed all season with people swaying to the DJs that spin all summer long at the Sand Bar.
While you’re grooving on the dance floor you can peek up to the second floor deck at Nancy’s, your next stop on the harbor! Over 50 years ago Nancy’s started as a small snack bar on the Oak Bluffs waterfront. The snack bar still operates every summer but Nancy’s has expanded around it to become one of the biggest restaurants in Oak Bluffs. With multi-level seating both inside and outside, Nancy’s is a staple of island nightlife. Join the crowds on the deck to toss back frozen drinks with cool ocean breeze across your face.
Or you can go down stairs to Donovan’s Reef and grab a world famous frozen drink and strike up a conversation with Donovan himself.
Up the street from Nancy’s on the famous Circuit Ave. is The Ritz – Martha’s Vineyard, as colorful in history as the island itself. The Ritz has always been known as a hot spot for great live music and it is not unusual to find well known musicians jumping in with the night’s band to play a few tunes. New ownership has has done an amazing job of re establishing the Ritz as a truly legendary place to watch live music. They have a live music list not to be beat. Guaranteed great time at the Ritz.
Next up on Circuit ave on the same side of the street is The Lampost, a three-tiered club with a huge stage and the islands largest dedicated dance floor in the upstairs. On the street level is a bar with pool tables and darts. There is live music playing the afternoons here and on the main stage upstairs later at night. The Lampost might be the best spot on the island to show off your dance moves and its huge floor space makes it a great place to meet the many locals and tourists that crowd through the doors each night of the summer. Another great spot for live music, the Lampost will be pulling DJs and cover bands in from the mainland all season long. The Lampost serves food too so it’s a great place for apre s beach. You can sit on the outdoor deck and watch the busy goings on of Circuit ave below, the food is pub food and we recommend the MeatBall Sandwich. This year the Post plans to sell prepared food at the end of the night to go. Looks like people will be talking on circuit with their mouths full after the bars close this year.
Over on Kennenbeck which is the street parallel to Circuit is a new addition to the area we call “Restaurant Trendy”. 20 by Nine is a Whiskey Bar with an amazing list of the smooth stuff by the glass. There is also a plethora of Craft Beer and “Small Plates” of food to keep the palette fresh. 20 by Nine is a great place for speak easy conversation with an intimate setting and warm décor.
The Look Out Tavern is a mandatory stop while you’re on the island. It is the only bar/restaurant facing the ocean making it a popular spot for locals who come for the great food and to catch a Red Sox game on one of the many TV screens around the bar. Or you can just relax and take in the stunning sweeping views of the ocean and watch the boats as they enter the Harbor. The Look Out has a large menu and also serves Sushi. Recently expanded and renovated there is plenty of space inside and out with a huge deck and even several picnic tables. Stop by The Look Out Tavern and see why the locals love it.
One of the oldest restaurant bars in Oak Bluffs is the Ocean View. Located on the far side of the Oak Bluffs Harbor on the hill. The Ocean View is the latest addition to the Santoro Hospitality Group. The bar has a casual atmosphere with pop corn and a fireplace. Sports legends and memorabilia adorn the walls. The restaurant extends out to include a large dining room. Keep an eye on this place as the new owners are known for throwing great parties and events and even better live music!
If you’re looking for a great place to start your evening we suggest catching the sunset on the upstairs deck at the Seafood Shanty, located on the bottom of Dock Street right on the Harbor. You can take in the beautiful views and a cocktail while enjoying the Shanty’s great selection of fresh seafood and on weekend nights, live entertainment. Downstairs you’ll find a totally renovated dining room and new stunning bar custom made by an island artist. It simply must be seen to take in its beauty. There is plenty of seating, all with amazing water views from new tables and cool large comfortable booths. The Shanty also offer’s an amazing sushi/raw bar. Both floors sport enough plasma screens to catch a game from every corner making the Shanty a difficult nightspot to move on from as it has it all.
But, try the Wharf Pub and Restaurant just down the street on Main. The dark wooden walls elicit the feel of a harbor town pub and restaurant that has been rooted on this spot for almost 80 years! Open year round, the Wharf is a popular nightspot for locals and visitors alike. It features 3 bars in the summer and easily the most popular dance floor in Edgartown. The Wharf features nightly entertainment, live bands and DJs all summer long so make sure you don’t skip this Edgartown favorite. Also, now in its second year is the Wharf Wine & Spirits where you can buy your favorite libations to bring home with you.
Around the corner from the Wharf on North Water St. in the Kelly House Hotel you will find The Newes from America. Stepping in the door you might get the feeling that you have arrived in the pub in a time warp from the olde days when Edgartown was a Whaling community as you are met with ancient beams lining the ceiling and old exposed brick lending itself fully to the experience. The pub is a favorite place to dine but also a good spot for a speakeasy experience with locals and seasoned visitors alike. There is live music on weekends so stay tuned to this paper. New last year they have opened a Pool bar called appropriately Wave Bar just adjacent to the pub at the Kelly House Pool.
Continue up Main Street to the Old Post Office Square behind the Court House and you will find an absolute GEM called Isola which consists of three parts. First is Isola Pizza where some of the best pizza is made. There are killer topping selections and they also serve beer and wine. Second is a quick grab slice or sandwich place . The entrance is on the opposite side conveniently right next to the VTA bus station/Edgartown Visitors center. Lastly is the Italian restaurant which offers amazing upscale Italian fare that might make you speak the language after eating there. The Bar can get quite lively at night with speak easy atmosphere and live music by island solo and duo musicians.
Across the parking lot from Isola is the Edgartown Diner which may not be a bar but they are planning on serving a late night menu starting in July and our guess is that it will feel like a bar once everyone figures out where the only place to mow down late night is. We will see you there on nights we are taking photos.
A short walk up Main Street will take you to The Grill on Main, a great location for a quiet dinner or a few late night cocktails. Formerly of Feast in Chilmark, Chef Antonio Saccoccia has taken his talents into downtown Edgartown and now features fantastic New England cuisine just a short walk from the harbor. The Grille also boasts a wonderful prix fixe menu offering three courses for under $40. The bar is now open late so even if you skip dinner you can still enjoy the Grille’s great atmosphere long into the evening. There is an outdoor patio for dining under the stars and a fire pit that completes this awesome venue.