The Snug's Easy Breezy Bar Soundtrack - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

The Snug’s Easy Breezy Bar Soundtrack

Trevor Easter can’t remember a time when music wasn’t an integral part of his life. “I was an oompa loompa in Willy Wonka when I was six, and I played drums in our youth group at church, which led to being in a band with my friends. We recorded a couple of songs in San Diego and ended up signing to MCA records,” he says. “Fast-forward to when I was working at Rickhouse [in San Francisco] and I was there in my suspenders and arm garters and realized that bartending is so much like theater. We’re playing Lynard Skynard and I’m dressed like a railroad worker, the bar is the stage, and this is totally just theater!”

These days, Easter is bringing those theatrics to The Snug in Sacramento, where music defines much of the bar’s character. When Easter was getting The Snug ready to open, he worked with an audio engineer to get the sounds just right, installing hidden speakers throughout the bar, located in strategic spots to maximize the effect of the music. “We overdid it,” he says. “We went crazy, but for me the true magic of theater and the theatrics of bars is when you can’t pinpoint exactly where the music’s coming from. The lights are right, the sound is right, and it’s just loud enough so it seems like it’s close to you, but you don’t know it’s there.”

For the music selection, Easter sorted playlists by beats-per-minute (BPM) instead of by genre or atmosphere. “I was confident that you need to make an arc, to bring the music up to a certain BPM and then bring it down again, to take [guests] on an emotional journey, because if there’s redundancy in the music, they’re going to notice,” he says. “I also wanted to jump through genres fluidly, so every once in awhile I sneak in songs that are universally recognizable but not the ones everyone knows perfectly well. Instead, it’s the songs where you’re like, ‘Who sings this,’ or ‘What movie was this from?’ You’re going to have to think about it for a minute before you get caught up in the moment.”

No single genre gets too much play, which Easter says helps makes the bar experience more inviting. “If you truly believe in creating spaces that are open for everybody, you need to represent every kind of person on multiple levels, whether that’s the diversity in your staff or in the styles of music you play,” he says. “When you get too avant-garde or too one-dimensional in the genres, you’re alienating some people. A neighborhood bar should be a space for everyone, so that means representing all tastes.”

The tracks change daily, hourly, weekly, or sometimes seasonally, but Easter says the ultimate goal is to help people lose track of time when they’re at the bar. “The music is supposed to be an accessory to the fun, so sometimes we do get mega crazy, and sometimes you’re there on a Saturday night and things get really loose. If you come in on a Tuesday it might feel like a different bar, but either way, we want people to feel like they’ve had a good time.”

Mix up one of the bar’s Phil Collins cocktails and tune into The Snug’s master playlist below. And to hear more from Easter and his Snug colleague, Britta Currie, tune in to Episode 26 of Radio Imbibe.

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