By MELISSA PROULX, Staff Writer
It was a cold night this past Tuesday, and my cellphone informed me that it was barely below the double digits. Regardless of the frigid weather, I made my way to the Stone Church Meeting House, a bar in Newmarket only a few streets away from my apartment.
Opened in 1969, the bar and restaurant offers a variety of food products (famous for their tacos and burgers) and a large list of craft beers. It’s become a well known destination for the small New Hampshire town, with many famous acts such as Aerosmith and Phish performing on the stage as well, according to their website.
When I entered the place, I took a second to admire the architecture. Much like the Holy Grail restaurant in Epping, the bar was built inside of the old church that stands at the top of Zion Hill on Granite Street. The space was no bigger than one of the MUB theaters, but it was effectively filled with the proper fixings.
Four person square tables decorated the room, with taller tables in the back and along the wall. Hung on the walls were old tap handles and chalkboards listing off the drinks and specials. The walls were brick and the bar was made of copper, and the stage was placed in front where the alter might have been.
The space felt open and the dim lighting kept you from getting too distracted from everything else that might have been going on while still allowing the pleasure of seeing what was going on.
To sit there with a craft beer and watch others interact with their friends while mine recapped the Superbowl, it was one of those moments that just felt right. You felt connected with the rest of the room and everyone else there, but you were able to have an experience that was all your own.
My drink of choice that night was called the Great Rhythm Resonation, a drink that seemed fitting for the night. Brewed in Portsmouth, the pale ale was bitter and refreshing due to the unexpected mix of citrus, pine, and floral flavors. Each sip seemed to offer something different in terms of flavor and by the end of the glass, I didn’t feel empty or heavy.
I managed to grab a taste of my friend’s stout beer brewed by the Mayflower Brewing Company in Plymouth, Massachusetts, as well. Dark as a Guinness, the beer itself was smooth and tasted almost like dessert since it was brewed with chocolate and coffee. Though I did enjoy mine, I couldn’t help but look on slightly enviously as my friend finished his (after all, coffee and chocolate are two of my favorite things).
To top of the entire night, I was able to learn something new: It’s hard to know if you really like bluegrass music until you hear it in a bar.
Tuesday is bluegrass night at the bar, one of the only themed nights that it has (along with an Irish music night on Thursdays) though there seems to be live music there most nights of the week. Along with these regulars, The Stone Church also hold a variety of individual live shows. One of UNH’s local bands, Gretchen and the Pickpockets, will be there this Friday starting at 9:00 p.m.
A sub-genre of country music, bluegrass has more folk-like feel to it. With a banjo, cello, guitar, and violin, the music was played at a medium tempo and the bar’s patrons often sang along with the lyrics of whatever song was being played.
It was perfect easy listening music for the night. I was able to talk with my friends without feeling like I was missing out and enjoy the entire scene rather than just focusing on the music.
All and all, the entire experience proved to be relaxing and quintessentially New England. Regardless of whether or not it fits your taste, I highly suggest that it’s something you check out at least once.
The Stone Church is open seven days a week starting at 5:00 p.m. and featrue live enetertainment regularly. More information about their menu and upcoming shows can be found on their website, www.stonechurchrocks.com.