Will and Geoghan Coogan
Will Coogan, left, and his brother Geoghan, co-owners of The Wharf. Photo by Ezra Blair

Warming up winter at the Wharf

By Julian Wise - January 18, 2007

Dark nights have been lit up in Edgartown this winter by the musical sights and sounds coming out of the Wharf Pub. In the two years that he's owned the establishment, Will Coogan has steadily cultivated a musical roster that provides Islanders with the chance to see local talent in a comfortable, intimate setting.

Mr. Coogan has networked with local artists to provide a productive, popular venue for musical performance. Mr. Coogan, in his early thirties, is young enough to be open to newer sounds yet mature enough to appreciate more traditional genres.

"I'm blessed right now with Kahoots," he says of the local rock act who have performed a series of energetic live shows this fall and winter. "Watching those guys is amazing. I'm going to continue to have them at the pub. That band is unbelievable."

Other acts who've made frequent visits include Kevin Keady's The Cattle Drivers (featuring Mike and Rebecca Tinus, Buck Shank, and Don Groover), Mike Benjamin, Tristan Israel and Paul Thurlow, The White Mountain Boys (featuring Bear and Company), and the newly formed Ballyhoo, who Mr. Coogan reports are "really ripping it up."

Don Groover, Buck Shank,Becky Tinus, Michael Tinus and Kevin Keady
The large back room vibrates with the sound of strings. In the foreground, is Don Groover (left) and Buck Shank. In the background, from left, are Becky and Michael Tinus and Kevin Keady. Photo by Ralph Stewart

Musical artists perform in the rear bar area, apart from the dining area. With its rich wooden interior and subdued lighting, the area is at once casual and distinctive. The room seems equally at home hosting blues-flavored country and full-tilt rock and roll.

While managing the delicate balancing act of fostering local talent and running a business, Mr. Coogan has been impressed by local musicians who put in the necessary hustle and legwork to draw a crowd.

"I love to have bands that are so willing to get people in here," he says. "I want to make sure people are happy. As long as there's excitement, a little bit of buzz, that's what I look for when I talk to somebody. If they're as excited to play as I am to have them, that's what I'm looking for."

The Wharf Pub is located on Lower Main Street in Edgartown. For more information, call 508-627-9966.

Julian Wise is a frequent contributor to The Times, specializing in music, film, and the performing arts.