(THE PICKET)- As Shepherdstown says goodbye to a staple of local nightlife, many wonder what will occupy the newly vacant spot. For years, Tony’s Pizza and Stonewall Pub has been the go-to destination for a quick beer or a fun night out.
On Thursday nights the boom of the bass from the DJ booth reverberated outside and Shepherd University students lined up to get in at the door. It was ‘thirsty Thursday.’
“Most of the college campus looked forward to Thursday night,” says Shepherd senior Billy Barrett. At 126 E German Street, Tony’s sat in the heart of Shepherdstown.
Tony’s was shut down nearing the end of 2015 for serving alcohol to minors. This was not the first such violation of serving alcohol to underage minors for Tony’s.
“When I was a freshman in 2011 I was one of like 70 people to get a citation there. That night was crazy. They basically shut the whole place down and as we were lined up at the door cops were taking our ID’s and breathalizing us. I’m sure they made a crap load of money off of all of us that night,” Katie Myers, Shepherd University student recalls.
Tony’s Pizza and Stonewall Pub was a two-story building with an outdoor patio as well. The first floor of Tony’s included the restrooms, kitchen, a bar, and tables and booths. The basement of Tony’s is where the nightlife took place.
The main bar, which was downstairs, was much larger, a DJ booth was across from the bar, and the dance floor occupied the majority of the basement. The main floor and the basement had access to the outdoor patio where many would take refuge from the heat of being packed in a small area with a large group of people.
Nadean Kline, a sophomore sociology major, said she often observed under-age students getting alcohol at Tony’s.
“My experience at Tony’s sucked. The pizza sucked and the décor was disgusting. I hope they put in something similar that’s tailored to college students,” Kline said. “Definitely keep the dance floor.”
Moriah Smith, a sophomore English major, said she often observed under-age students getting alcohol at Tony’s. “If your friend was 21 they just had to go to the bar and bring the person underage back a drink,” she said.
Shepherd student Justine Barrow said she didn’t drink at Tony’s, but went after she drank in her room. “I was sitting outside on the back patio smoking a cigarette one night when a cop walked up to me asked for my ID,” she said. “I was underage, handed it to them, and then they breathalized me. Of course I got a citation but I hadn’t been drinking at Tony’s. We would all just pregame in our dorm room then go out. The cops and ABC were always out to get the establishment in trouble.”
It does not appear that anyone is in a rush to remodel Tony’s.
Moriah Smith states, “My experience with Tony’s was lackluster. You have to be drunk to go there and have a good time. My hopes are that there is more to offer with the new business instead of just a place for underage drinkers.”
Tony’s was tailored more to the 18 and older crowd. However, when ABC and the police began to frequent Tony’s the owners would sometimes make Thursday night the only night of the week 18 year olds could come in.
“It was weird. When I was underage sometimes I could still get in on the weekends and then other times I could not. I think it also had to do with who was working the door and how hot I looked that night. There was also this ‘rule’ in place that if you were 18 you couldn’t get in after midnight on Thursday, but if my girlfriend and I showed up at like 1 we still always got in without an issue,” said Taylor Hile, graduate of Shepherd University.
Tony’s being shut down has put a slight lull to the nightlife in Shepherdstown. “It feels like something is missing,” said Alan Hange, a Shepherdstown resident.