The Many Layers of Dante’s

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Art galleries, live music, good food, and craft beer. It’s not often that you can find a local location with this quadfecta of entertainment components, but upon crossing the threshold of 16 West Main Street, visitors are typically treated to an evening often fit to feed multiple senses.

Dante’s in Frostburg is the combination of a bar, restaurant, music venue, and art gallery that specializes in craft beers, specialty cocktails, “samiches and finger-foods,” and features live local and national musical acts, as well as the artwork of local artists. The four-storefront establishment is the largest locale on Main Street and has a 200-person capacity, while still giving off the intimate essence and laid-back vibe of a small-town Appalachian bar.

Dante’s has been in business for almost ten years and has undergone several changes in bar ownership; however, the building space, which was originally built in the 1900’s, has been home to many different bars, dating as far back as the prohibition period. Dante’s first got its name when the previous owner was in the process of opening a bar and decided to name it after her late river dog, Dante. Although the bar has since changed ownership, the bar still alternates between the uses of two logos, one of which depicts the dog, Dante.

Dante’s provides a wide variety of monthly events including musical performances, paint nights, jazz dinners, happy hour specials, rotating art shows, wine tastings, beer events with different brewing companies, as well as many city and community based events.

“We try to do as much of a variety and appeal to as many people as we can, being in a small town,” says Erin Gotay, co-owner of Dante’s. “We try to showcase as much local art as we can and we have rotating art shows about once a month.”

Although the walls are frequently covered with local artwork, Dante’s music scene is probably their most well-known feature.

“We’ve gotten some pretty popular bands. Bernie Worrell is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he’s been here twice,” says Gotay

“We are music lovers here, so there are a lot of bands that we know and love, and we contact them to play here. We also get contacted by a ton of bands and booking agents. We always try to support local, so we do a lot of local bands, and we try very hard to showcase original music. We do a mix of local and national acts with about two-three shows a week,” explains Gotay.

With a plethora of happenings and constant itinerary of upcoming events, Dante’s advertises through many avenues, focusing a majority of their efforts to social media outreach, such as Facebook and Twitter, particularly through creating Facebook events to get the word out.

Choosing to promote through a social and personal platform only helps add to the laid-back and comfortable experience that Dante’s provides its customers.

“We try to make everybody as comfortable as we can. I really like the fact that we have created an atmosphere that people can come in and sit down and be comfortable. We don’t have TV’s in every corner, which encourages people to talk and get to know each other. To just have a couple of beers and talk to the person next to you,” states Gotay.

For the future, Dante’s owners would like to expand their kitchen and possibly renovate their patio area behind the back of the bar; however, their biggest goal is to keep doing the best of what they’ve been doing. “I think our goals are just to get the most, best musical acts in our area that we possibly can and to work with as many community organizations as we can,” says Gotay.

For a full schedule of the latest bands to hit the stage at Dante’s, visit their website at www.dantesbarfrostburg.com or like them on Facebook at @DantesBarFrostburg.

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