Nightlife with a Different Beat

Where to Find Great Music, Make New Friends and Maybe Even a Romantic Connection

By Miriam Longobardi • Photo by Amy Kerwin

Let’s face it– if you’re single and over 35 in Westchester, your nightlife options fall into a narrow band of choices. Sure, we have upscale bars and clubs for grown-ups and a plethora of fine dining options, but if you’re looking for something different, consider a mid- week music jam offered at many area bars Sunday through Thursday. No, you don’t have to be a musician to go– you simply have to appreciate good music. Bands and musicians that play locally across the region play at these jams and there’s no cover, so you can conceivably be at the same bar on a Tuesday enjoying a free show by a band playing nearby on a weekend. With music being the common bond drawing people together, the vibe can be quite relaxed.

Despite the fact that the jam crowd is very male-dominated, as a single woman, I feel perfectly “safe.” When I began stopping in regularly at a neighborhood jam, I quickly became a familiar face and was greeted warmly even though I didn’t know anyone that well and clearly had no musical aspirations to get up and sing or play. As I began to learn names, casual acquaintances formed that have now evolved into genuine friendships across many ages and occupations. The crowd is refreshingly diverse – from professional musicians, people with day jobs with a passion for playing music part-time, and people of all ages that enjoy great live music.

Friends First

So, by now, if you’re a woman, the phrase “male-dominated crowd” has no-doubt caught your eye and you may be wondering, “So what’s the dating potential?” It is certainly possible to make a romantic connection, but more likely after developing a friendship over time rather than the way people come together in a different nightlife environment. And, yes, I have dated nice guys I met at jams, both musicians and non-musicians, so there is dating potential. However, by and large, the friendships and other connections have been much more meaningful than the dates.

You will encounter a completely different community of men than you typically meet at an after work bar or on a Saturday night, and a greater range of ages from older to younger. The jams do not tend to draw one particular type as do many clubs and bars, and I find that variety appealing. You’ll meet full and part-time musicians, businessmen, lawyers, teachers, policemen, tradesmen, and everything in between.

A main reason I am so comfortable going alone is feeling secure knowing unwelcome attention will not be an issue as it often is on the weekends. At a jam I feel as protected as though I was in a roomful of brothers, but no protection is needed as people are easygoing and there for the music. When men have respectfully expressed an interest, if the feeling wasn’t mutual, we remained perfectly friendly.

Continue to frequent your favorite weekend hot spots, but make time during the week to check out a jam. I did, and found myself with an entirely new group of fun friends that I never would have met since our weekend hangouts are different. It’s worth the exploration! For a complete listing of live music throughout the area, please visit ryzemusic.com.

Miriam Longobardi is a freelance writer, first grade teacher and single mother of two daughters living in Westchester.
A breast cancer survivor, she also volunteers for the American Cancer Society and has completed four marathons. Also, check out her weekly New York Modern Love column at Examiner.com

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