Around Town: Live music, great food and a stop for spring cocktails


If you’re in downtown Wilkes-Barre on any given night, there is a bevy of places to go.

There are Italian and Mexican eateries. There’s nightlife consisting of some fun bars with outdoor seating. There’s the F.M. Kirby Center, booking magnificent acts every week.

But, there’s also a smaller spot just a block away from Public Square called Oyster (inside Best Western Plus Genetti Hotel & Conference Center), popular with many because of its fine dining, picturesque atmosphere and well-attended turkey lunches on Tuesdays.

On Thursday nights, the bar — a city-style lounge setting — turns into a live music venue beginning at 8 p.m. with all sorts of fabulous artists. The most recent Thursday consisted of Mike MiZ playing solo on guitar and vocals.

Beloved locally for his original and cover music, the Pittston native who recently returned to the area from a performance trip to Nashville, put on a night of effortless entertainment. Most stopped their conversations with friends to pay attention.

He’s playing this Thursday inside Oyster too, so if you haven’t heard this talented fellow, I can only suggest you stop by.

Vine Street, a rock group made up of four friends who make their own music and cover bands like Fleetwood Mac, Kings of Leon and Johnny Cash, played the venue the week before.

While I couldn’t attend that performance, I’m told it was a packed house, thanks in part to Special Guest App, the entertainment booking app that’s becoming increasingly popular in the area.

The app is easing the pain for artists looking to book gigs — something revolutionary since it’s blending mobile technology and traditional entertainment booking.

An added plus was catching up with Kris and Robyn Jones. The duo is running the app business, along with co-founder Damon Wayans Jr., the LA-raised actor who starred in “Happy Endings” and “New Girl.”

I could ramble on about a new venue having some live music on a weeknight and the latest and greatest in mobile technology; it’s surely a welcome addition to the downtown scene and the area overall.

I also stopped by The Café — An American Bistro on Route 315 in Plains Township last week, where all sorts of spring cocktails are on display featuring none other than familiar friend Jim Beam.

There’s the “Honey Lemonade,” made of honey whiskey, lemonade, syrup and lemon juice. Or, you can try the “Whiskey Vanilla Latte” with vanilla whiskey, whipped vodka and RumChata. Other specialties include concoctions with apple or cherry whiskey.

It’s an appetizing cocktail menu for an after-work happy hour or simply to sample during dinnertime.

I’ve always been a fan and love stopping by during lunch, where the daily specials, homemade desserts and eclectic crowd make it the perfect break from a busy day.

We all need those reprieves and breaks, don’t we?

Whether it’s listening to live music at Oyster, a scrumptious lunch or something else, we all should make sure to take those breaks in our lives.

That’s what I hope happens every time you read this column.

I hope you think of new places to go, new bands to hear, new things to do and more.

Even though we’re all so busy, there’s nothing wrong with “breaking” when you can.

Enjoy whatever you do to take your break today.

Mike McGinley is the Times Leader Media Group’s major accounts executive. Reach him at [email protected] or 570-704-3945.

Mike McGinley is the Times Leader Media Group’s major accounts executive. Reach him at [email protected] or 570-704-3945.