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I'm partial to the Deltaville, VA area. Lots of different marina's all with easy access out onto the bay proper, and only a day's sail from Norfolk. Pretty laid back and low key kind of place.
While all the above is true and I'm not aware of any place on the bay that is significantly less expensive than Deltaville, the OP did want things in walking distance and said the word "Nightlife". I suppose walking distance is relative, but for me, none of the marinas in D'ville are really within reasonable walking distance to the shopping/dining areas. Also, I wouldn't say that Deltaville had anything approaching the term "Nightlife". There a a few Restaraunt/Bars where you can mingle with locals and the weekenders from Richmond amid the cigarette fog but that's about it.
So if you can work around those issues Deltaville is likely to be the least expensive place you can find with access to a whole bunch of good marine services available.
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 Catalina 36