A gentle reminder that the Outsider is beholden to no one, least of all us – ed.
Whenever I think about about Ocean City Md, my thoughts immediately go to fresh seafood. I can’t help it, I’m just hardwired this way I guess, but sometimes I just want to put the seafood fork down, roll my sleeves up, and dive wrist deep into a good basket of crispy deep fried chicken wings. For me wings are more than just some game day snack. I use them as a measurement for any bar claiming to have good food. If they can make a good wing, chances are the rest of the tavern menu will fall in line. However if you’re served something incinerated, or worse yet soggy, that’s a deal breaker. Good places to get wings should serve them crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, coated in an unbroken sauce made in house.
Wings take time to cook, and time in Ocean City is very precious for most people. So in an effort to expedite the process for you, I’ve listed my top five favorite establishments to find good quality wings. It should be noted: While it’s true that wings come in all flavors and variety really is the spice of life, I am a purest at heart. So, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to be focusing mainly on Buffalo style wings. Also worth mentioning is that I took many factors into account upon compiling this list such as location, hours of operation, service and atmosphere.
Number 5 – Smitty McGee’s
Located on Route 54 on Fenwick Island, technically it’s really not “in” Ocean City, but it’s certainly close enough to be included. This place has it all, great decor, efficient service, plenty of TV’s in just about every direction you could look, and of course excellent wings. Even on a day when they’ve been overly busy and understaffed, I’ve seen the wings still come out consistently fast, and cooked just right with a bright fresh tasting sauce. Pretty hard beat really. The only down side is the place does tend to get crowded, so a wait for a table is not uncommon during the summer months.
Number 4 BJ’s on the Water
Definitely one of the most comfortable places to dine in all Ocean City. We’ve ate in here with our kids after 9 O’clock at night while bands have been playing, and never once felt out of place. Most people when they think of BJ’s would automatically think on the lines of seafood entrees, and while that type of thought process would be right on the money, they also have a great selection of bar food munchies to go along with their traditional choices like the stuffed flounder, and their famous 12oz lobster tail. The wings are nice sized and are served up in very classical buffalo style sauce. When I order them, I usually add on the soup ‘n salad. I think they have some of the best Maryland Crab Soup that you’ll find in town, and when I pair this combo with the wings I feel like I’m eating a full meal.
Number 3: Kirby’s Pub
There’s a good chance you could drive right past this little gem tucked between Lombardi’s Pizza, and Liquid Assets. It’s small green and white sign seems to get lost in the 94th Street Plaza setting, and their neon beer signs, do little to help them stand out against the Candy Kitchen located right next door. Once you get past the camouflaged exterior you’ll find the decor inside to be pretty much what you’d expect in a small town neighborhood bar, rather than a tourist destination. Now don’t get me wrong, the place is clean, and the bartenders along with the rest of the staff are super friendly, but this isn’t the kind of place I’d take someone I was trying to impress with the ambiance. As the name suggest it’s a pub, plain and simple. Luckily for me I’m never trying to impress anyone, I’m just in search of great wings, and they certainly have them here! These aren’t breaded, they are fried up naked and come out exactly how you’d want a traditional wing crispy on the outside, and even though we are going with straight buffalo here, I have to tell you that their “Old Goat” (think hot mixed with garlic) sauce is the da-bomb diggity!
Over the last few years, Ocean City’s emerging craft beer scene has given rise to numerous breweries at and around the beach . From the nano-sized Backshore on the Boardwalk to Fin City hidden high in the rafters above Hooper’s Crab House to Burley Oak in Berlin which was rated “world-class” by BeerAdvocate , there are unique breweries cranking out craft brews for literally every type of beer drinker.
Number 2: Ocean City Brewing Co.
This place opened about two years ago under the thought process “We do it different.” I’m not sure that I agree with them, because every good brew pub I’ve ever went to has had one thing in common—awesome food! Gladly this place is no exception to that rule. The full menu lends itself to a family friendly atmosphere. Not only can you bring your children, but in the past I seen the owner’s kids working and busing tables here at their 56 Street location. It’s a unique establishment, and in my opinion a real asset to the resort. They seem to have an endless vision for the craft beers they brew, and of course what goes better with a tall cool draft than a basket of hot wings? The wings themselves are absolutely enormous, and the hot sauce they make here has a real tang to it, I’d be willing to take guess and say apple cider vinegar might be the secret ingredient, mostly because -as I’ve read on the internet- it’s a miracle product, and can do virtually anything.
Come have a brew with a view! These are the favorite words of those who work at The Frog Bar & Grill that overlooks the inlet and Assateague Island on the boardwalk. “The Frog Bar is a great place to sit and have a beer and relax…
Number 1: Frog Bar
Tucked away amid the inlet shops past the beginning of the boardwalk, you’ll find one of Ocean City’s best kept secrets – No, I’m not talking about the Frog Bar itself (everybody knows this place), I’m referring to their wings! You see, if you ask people in the know “where can I get a good burger?” inevitably they’ll answer back “The Frog Bar”. The answer is correct, but the problem is even if you’re sitting there gazing out over the inlet enjoying one of those big juicy burgers while thinking to yourself that “it simply just doesn’t get any better than this”, your world could suddenly be turned upside down by the bartender walking past you with an order of those steaming hot buffalo wings intended for another patron…and once that smell seeks out your olfactory glands – Forget about it! Next thing you know, you’re likely to find yourself second guessing your decision. Save yourself the grief. The obvious solution here is to heed The Outsider’s advice and just order both. After all, the saying is go big or go home, and these wings are huge, cooked to perfection, nice and crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, covered in a sauce that I’d personally take over the Anchor Bar’s any day of the week, plus the view here simply can’t be beat.
Sincerely, The Outsider.
This story was updated for clarity 9/26 — ed.