Newmarket’s Happening Local Music Scene

Good music, food and drinks await you on the Seacoast in Newmarket

Author Courtney Hoppe

Going into this piece, all I really knew about Newmarket was that it was rumored to have a decent music scene. And let me tell you, those rumors are true! The Stone Church, which boasts that Bonnie Raitt, Phish and Aerosmith have played there, is definitely the nucleus of this scene, offering a bluegrass jam every Tuesday, live Irish music on Thursdays and bands that have achieved a certain level of notoriety on the weekends. But these bands are not of the cover variety, mind you; they are original music acts and The Stone Church is one of the few venues I’ve found in NH where local original musicians headline on weekends.

On the Friday evening I went, I had no idea whom I’d be seeing but lucked into Shades of Rust and Eric & The Anxiety. Although I didn’t catch enough of Eric & The Anxiety’s set to comment on, I can put in writing that I was majorly impressed with the radio-ready sound of Shades of Rust, who was clearly aided by a skilled sound guy. The venue itself seems built for sound, which is perhaps what the god of this church intended.

Although The Stone Church also makes claims regarding heavenly burgers and tacos, my boyfriend and I had dinner down the hill at The Riverworks Restaurant and Tavern before the show. This restaurant offers a more formal dining room in addition to the drafty tavern-side, but we felt more at home in the boisterous lounge and ordered some red wine to warm up. Everything on the menu sounded good and we ended up with far too much food, starting with the balsamic-drizzled spinach and artichoke wontons and baked brie, then following with steak tips (me) and The Burgerworks (him). What I was really curious about was the fact that Pad Thai was also listed on the menu, but I didn’t take the plunge. Perhaps one of my readers will do so for me and report back?

Things really began to pick up in the tavern as we were closing out our tab, and it was clear that this is The Place the locals gather. My boyfriend and I were there in the dead of winter so I can only imagine how lively Riverworks must get in the warmer months.

At The Stone Church, we perused the chock-full chalkboard of local microbrews and settled on a hard cider that neither of us had heard of. It tasted like dessert and was perfect. The crowd was a nice mix — a couple of UNH hipsters over here, other local musicians exchanging hugs over there, a few canoodling adult couples (including us) — all outlined in a moody blue from the bar’s under lighting.

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