Word is that if you’re looking for an evening of great comedy, you don’t have to cross the bridge or even leave Talbot County. Snifter’s Craft Beer and Wine Bistro in Easton wants to be the place you think of when deciding on an evening of laughter and entertainment. That certainly was the case last month, when headliner Mickey Cucchiella, former co-host of 98Rock out of Baltimore, Davine Ker from Northern VA, and Easton Shore’s own Macy Morris played to an appreciative standing room only crowd.
“There’s nothing happening like that here in Easton,” says Snifter’s (and adjoining Hair o’ the Dog Wine & Spirits) owner, Joe Petro. “We’ve got the Avalon, thank God, and the club above it, but there’s really no other entertainment. So, the idea of bringing in a comedy club, or comedy night, I thought was really a cool idea.” The idea appears to have caught on with most shows selling out days before the performance.
To assist in booking talent, Petro chose Big Timing Comedy, a production and promotion group from Baltimore after Big Timing co-owner, Eric Jolicoeur, approached Petro about doing shows at Snifter’s. “Wine and craft beer places are perfect for live entertainment,” said Jolicoeur. “They usually have a great customer base and together, make a strong partnership.”
But comedy is just one of the ways Petro is trying to keep Snifter’s relevant, not unlike what he has done with Hair O’ the Dog, which recently celebrated its 15th year. “We pride ourselves on being different than everybody else, says Petro. “Little odd-ballish little geeky. We have more of a broader range of products and we shy away so much from the big brand name commodity brands and try to find a more niche-y kind of products. So, we’ve always had that in our veins–being a little bit different and unique and offering customers different choices than the standard liquor store.”
That’s because Petro thinks he sees the writing on the wall. “The business model of liquor stores is changing,” he says. The future, as he envisions, are people belonging to wine clubs, getting their wines through the mail, or buying beer, wine, and alcohol at grocery stores or big box stores, such as Walmart.
“You have to be good in more than one thing,” he says, and that one thing became Snifter’s, which opened in June of 2018.“We wanted a venue that not only offered products that would appeal to adults, but we wanted the atmosphere to be conducive to just chill out, have a nice bottle of wine, hear some nice music, have something to eat, and have a conversation.”
Petro prides himself on trying to find fun things that people want to do. So far, what people have wanted have included wine dinners, cider tastings, gin making classes, even Prosecco Yoga in the morning. There are also the standards, which are live music from local talent and OpinioNation, a trivia type, survey-based game, similar to the show Family Feud. Stop by any Wednesday, and you will see groups of people sitting around the table, eating dinner, sipping their drinks, and comparing answers in hopes of winning prizes. “And they can’t even Google it because there are no right answers,” says Petro.
Connecting to the community that supports them, is vital to Snifter’s, who believe in giving back. “We’re big on nonprofits coming in and taking over the restaurant for the night, says Petro. “We’ve done events with ARC, St. Peter and Paul School, Talbot Humane, Talbot Interfaith, and Neighborhood Service Center. One of the OpinioNation game nights each month, will be hosted by one of the nonprofits and 10% of everything we take in that night is donated to them.”
When asked about future plans, Petro is clear on his objectives. “The future is going to be two-fold. One is to improve what we’re already doing. So, there’s always areas that we can improve, whether it’s service, or food, or selections of wine or products. We’re looking at expanding our craft cocktails on the menu right now from 4 to either six or eight. The other is our food. Right now, it’s primarily small plates, flatbreads and cheese boards, along with two entrees a night. We’re looking to expand that because we’re hearing from our customers that they want a broader selection of options and more dinner entrees.”
Immediate plans, however, are preparing for the upcoming Comedy Night this Saturday, January 25th, when Snifter’s will host Headliner Tommy Highland and will feature Rose Vineshank, and Mila Simon. Doors open at 6:00 and show starts at 7:00. Tickets are $25.00 and they sell out fast. “We encourage folks to get here early, if they want to have dinner beforehand. Of course, we do food and drinks throughout the show, as well.” But the bottom line to Petro is this: “It’s just a great inexpensive night out of fun.” If past performance is any indication, he’s right and you just might be on the cusp of being part of the inaugural comedy club of Easton.
Upcoming shows (check Snifter’s FaceBook page for more complete details):
March 7th – Headliner Josh Kuderna
May 2nd – Headliner Tommy Sinbazo
June 13th – Headliner Mickey Cucchiella
Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.
Don’t miss the latest! You can subscribe to The Talbot Spy‘s free Daily Intelligence Report here.