It’s been 84 years since the end of Prohibition, and nightlife has finally arrived in Wilton.

Little Pub is the first Wilton restaurant to have taken the leap to extend its hours and stay open later, following the Town Meeting Vote in May when Wilton voters approved an ordinance change allowing restaurants to extend the hours they serve liquor.

Little Pub owners received formal town approval to change the restaurant’s hours in October and they immediately extended operating hours for both the kitchen and the bar. The Little Pub Wilton kitchen now closes at 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; the bar can stay open until 1 a.m. weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends.

“It’s great for our guests” says Hank Fatigate, Little Pub’s general manager. “We had great crowds who were finally able to watch late Yankee playoff games in their entirety, and of course Monday Night Football.”

This Friday night, there’s another reason to enjoy Little Pub’s later hours–Wilton’s own band Big Deal has booked one of the first live gigs there. Band members and Wilton residents Dan Berg and Andy Schlesinger are very active in Wilton’s music community, and they’re very excited to now have a local venue where they and other musicians can play.

“We’ve lost Redding Roadhouse, Georgetown Saloon is closed, Darien Social is gone. It’s a great opportunity for a place to establish itself as the place for live music in Wilton. How great would it be to regularly support local Wilton musicians who are able to regularly play down at the Little Pub in Wilton and have a place to go and see live music?” Schlesinger says.

Little Pub Wilton is one of the first establishments in Wilton to apply for and be granted permission extended hours. “If it makes our guests happy, we’ll do it.” says Morgan Ludwig, Little Pub’s operations manager. “Now we don’t have to shut the door if the pub is still buzzing and our guests are having fun. They can come on in and stay a while longer.”

Schlesinger adds that since Little Pub is already a community favorite, people can add live music to the list of reasons to make the restaurant their destination. “If they’re willing to take the chance to do this, we should try to support them.”

As the creator of Wilton Rocks for Food, the now-annual rock concert fundraiser for the Wilton Food Pantry and CT Food Bank, Schlesinger knows audience interest in a live music scene is high–tickets for the 3rd annual Wilton Rocks show on Dec. 2 sold out weeks ago; from the band perspective, having local venues that host live music holds a lot of promise.

“To have a place to support local musicians and bands, to be able to go out and see your friends, to not have to drive all over the place, to have something that’s our own–why can’t we have our own scene? We have an unbelievable number of our own home-grown musicians–there are so many new people in Wilton Rocks this year that are incredible, that should be out there playing. That’s the whole spirit of the community and coming together,” he says.

The ideal situation would be for the trend to be so popular that other restaurants might consider applying for extended hours as they renew their liquor licenses.

The hope, says Schlesinger’s band mate Dan Berg, is that such change will help drive more business to the eateries.

“Speaking as a 25-year resident, I think that Wilton has been at a disadvantage from an economic development and nightlife perspective for too long. I’ve been taking my partying self and my partying dollars to all the neighboring towns, as has everyone else. As a member of the town’s Economic Development Commission, we pushed hard to get everyone in town to vote to extend our establishment hours to be in line with state law, so our restaurants and bars can stay open late. And as a local musician, I’m totally excited to be a direct part of the inauguration of a local live music scene and I’m hopeful that all the local venues and all the local bands follow suit,” says Berg.

It’s completely possible, says Schlesinger.

“Those summer concerts were very well-attended. I think people want it,” Schlesinger says. “I think we’re going to have a great turnout. I hope people say, ‘How cool is this? It’s Friday night, it’s Thanksgiving weekend, let’s go see a band.’ Hopefully people will support this because they say, ‘We want this in our town.’”

Little Pub is located at 26 Danbury Rd.. Big Deal takes the stage this Friday, Nov. 24 at 9 p.m..

Big Deal fans enjoy the group at Darien Social earlier in 2017.