By Andrea Kaiser

Maybe I’m getting older or maybe Niagara-on-the-Lake is getting hipper but it occurred to me last summer – I live in a cool part of the world! As a teenager I certainly don’t recall having similar sentiments and having worked in hospitality my entire life I can recall on many occasions being asked by visitors where they could find some local ‘action’ after nine which was met by me, for the most part, with a bit of a chuckle at the assumption that anyone was even up after the sun set.

Okay yes, the Angel Inn did have live music, even in ‘those days’ and still does every weekend but ask me on a weekday and I was hard pressed to come up with any suggestions. That is not to say I still don’t live in a quiet community by big city standards, but the pulse of the town has quickened and when the sun sets on wine country the lights do not all go out.

My all time favourite night on the town – bar none – has to be Jackson Triggs Winery Amphitheater.  I mean really, what can compete with Canadian artists performing live in such an intimate venue amongst the vines?  Not to mention the amazing wines and fabulous food trucks. And this year’s line-up will not disappoint. To name a few, The Sam Roberts Band is back for two nights along with the Arkells who were named Group of the Year and Rock Album of the Year at the Junos this year. Several great Canadian icons are also slated for the stage including Spirit of the West, Jann Arden, Jim Cuddy and Steven Page.

Peller Estate Winery has recently come to the table with some lively events that keep rocking after the sun goes down with their Food Truck Eats in May and the new Wine Country Fair in August. Trius Winery Movies in the Vineyard are also back by popular demand – showings include Grand Budapest Hotel, Princess Bride and Guardians of the Galaxy.  Wine and Sci-fi; what could be better?

If quaint venues with live music are more your style, you must try one of our new local brew pubs. Oast House and Silversmith Brewing Company offer entertainment most weekends and often feature casual fare to pair with their local brew.  Local favourites however still include the Angel Inn, an institution of sorts and more recently the Irish Harp – where you can raise a ruckus singing along to the likes of Finnegans Wake, Vox Violin and Celtic Cross. Ravine Vineyard Restaurant also offers entertainment but during the week on Thursdays and Sunday evenings. All summer long you can of course enjoy great wines on their patio or have a friendly game of ping pong.  Yes, move over beer pong.

Local talent, local beer, local wine – where else would I be but Niagara-on-the- Lake? This little town has become the life of my party.