Best Bars in Ocean City (of 2018!)

Best Bars in Ocean City (of 2018!)

Each year OceanCity.com readers vote on the best of everything in Ocean City. We also have a panel of experts around Ocean City who pick their favorites based on local experiences, which we refer to as Editor’s Choice. Click here for the 2019 voting.

It’s that time of year again: Time to announce the winners of the Best of Ocean City contest, where tens of thousands of Ocean City lovers place their votes every year in categories related to the Best Bars, Best Restaurants, Best Activities and the Best of the Boardwalk. And for many OC visitors, the most important part of any Ocean City vacation is the bar-hopping. “Best Bars” almost always proves to be the category that we get the most votes in, and we totally understand why. There are some great bars in Ocean City. And some not-so-great bars. But we’re here to concentrate on the positive. 

Without further ado, here are 2018’s Best Bars in Ocean City, Maryland! If you don’t agree with the results — or even if you do agree, but want them to stay the same next year — it’s not too early to start voting in the Best of Ocean City 2019

Fish Tales wins again!

Best Bar Overall

Fish Tales

*5 year winner!*

Taking home the gold, the “Best Bar Overall” is Fish Tales — again! It’s always neck-and-neck between Fish Tales and Seacrets for this one, but Fish Tales ultimately won out for its colorful marina atmosphere and overall family-friendliness. Bring the kids along to play in the sandy playgrounds on the bay, and as I said last year, be sure to try Fish Tales’ signature Pink Warrior, the official drink of the Poor Girls Open where proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

Runner-up: Seacrets

Editor’s Choice: Harborside Bar & Grill

Harborside is a treasure of West Ocean City’s commercial fishing harbor, where sailors dock their boats and head straight to the bar for a plate of fresh seafood and a fresh-squeezed Orange Crush. And when it comes to the crush, accept no imitations! Harborside is home of the original Orange Crush, which tastes best when you’re out on their patio watching the sun set or seeing a live band perform, both of which happen quite often at Harborside. 

Best Drinks

See above!

Fish Tales

Seacrets always makes this list, and they even have their own beer brewed by Evo.

Seacrets pulled through in this category last year, but in 2018, Fish Tales is not to be beat. On their drink menu you’ll find “Tales Originals,” which includes the Pink Warrior (again, see above), the Upside Down Pineapple (“sorority girls unite!”) a Sexy on the Bay (where a portion of the sales are donated to the Humane Society), the always delicious Big Fish ( Bacardi pineapple rum, Bacardi orange, Malibu banana, and Malibu coconut rum mixed with orange and cranberry juice) and more. Are you salivating yet? 

Runner-up: Seacrets

Editor’s Choice: Harborside Bar & Grill

It’s a well-known fact that Harborside makes some of the best crushes in town, and there are 16 variations of the crush on their drink menu. There are also three special crushes made with moonshine, plus a wide selection of mules, margaritas and Ketal Botanicals that come without the carbs, sugars, GMOs and artificial flavorings that are found in most drinks. At Harborside’s happy hour, get a crush for $5.50 and pair it with happy hour food including steamed shrimp, steamed clams, steamed mussels and buffalo wings. 

Best Happy Hour

Coconuts Bar & Grill

*5 year winner!*

Head inside the Castle in the Sand hotel on 37th Street and that’s where you’ll find Coconuts, a frequent winner of Ocean City’s “Best Happy Hour.” Happy Hour at Coconuts is every day from 5 to 6 p.m., where drinks are 2-for-the-price-of-1. It’s the best and the fastest hour in Ocean City, often enjoyed alongside live music and, of course, beautiful views of the ocean.

Runner-up: MR Ducks

Editor’s Choice: Mother’s Cantina

At Mother’s, Happy Hour prices aren’t just for drinks — although you can’t beat $1.50 draft beers and $3.50 house margaritas — but they’re also for tacos, which are only $1.75 daily from 5 – 7 p.m. There are additional Happy Hour specials depending on the day of the week, so it’s very rare to go to Mother’s Cantina and not get a good deal on at least some part of your meal. 

Best Sunset View

Fager’s Island

*5 year winner!*

It would be blasphemous to not award Ocean City’s Best Sunset View to Fager’s Island. They time it perfectly every evening so that the 1812 Overture bellows from the bar just as the sun is setting, and if you haven’t stood on their gazebo on the water to enjoy this phenomenon, you haven’t really had the full Ocean City experience. 

 

Runner-up: Ropewalk

Editor’s Choice: The Angler

The Angler steals the editor’s pick for Best Sunset View this year, due to their location by the 50 bridge bayside and their Evening Scenic Cruise on the boat that goes by the same name as the restaurant. Aboard the Angler, you can experience a 45 minute cruise of Ocean City’s waterways for just $4 with the purchase of a $12 lunch or dinner entree. And there’s no better way to enjoy a sunset than that. 

Best Live Music

Seacrets

*5 year winner!*

No one in Ocean City does live music better than Seacrets. Whether an act is performing at Morley Hall, the Tiki Stage or the outdoor Beach Stage, you can bet there will be a huge crowd with seemingly limitless energy and dance moves. You can even watch live cams and pre-recorded videos of the bands that regularly rock the Seacrets stages right on their website

Runner-up: Coconuts

Editor’s Choice: Fager’s Island

Fager’s Island is one of the few businesses in Ocean City that can perfectly balance fine dining with explosively entertaining live music. Bands and DJs frequent Fager’s all weekend long, but even on the weekdays there’s entertainment to be enjoyed: specifically at their Monday Night Deck Parties, where live music accompanies drink specials and a beach party atmosphere all night long. 

Pickles: The only place to be when the game’s on.

Best Sports Bar

Pickles Pub

Pickles has been a favorite sports bar among locals since the joint first opened up in 1989. Open year-round and providing Ocean City with a dose of casual pub atmosphere downtown, locals and visitors alike are known to catch a game on their giant high-def TV, and maybe enjoy a fried pickle or two. Or 12. 

Runner-up: The Original Greene Turtle

Editor’s Choice: Greene Turtle West 

The Original Greene Turtle in North OC is often a winner or runner-up of “Best Sports Bar,” but the Turtle’s location in West Ocean City is not to be forgotten! The Greene Turtle West is family-friendly and a hub year-round for live music, craft beer on tap, sports on the TV and always a game of pool. 

Best Craft Beer Selection

OC Brewing Co

OC Brewing Co. is not only a brewpub, but a full-scale family restaurant, too. Stop by the brewery on the corner of 56th Street and Coastal Highway and you’ll find up to 16 craft brews on tap at any given time, ranging from light lagers to dark ales, best enjoyed with an order of “Almost Famous” egg rolls. They serve their own craft beer brewed in-house in addition to local beers from all over the Delmarva peninsula and beyond. 

Runner-up: 45th Street Taphouse

Editor’s Choice: Hopper’s Tap House

Located in Salisbury, MD, just a short drive west from Ocean City is Hopper’s Tap House, a bar that boasts what’s probably the largest selection of craft beer on the Eastern Shore, if not the entire world. At Hopper’s there are over 40 craft beers on tap, many of them local, on any given day, plus live music on the weekends and “Hoppy Hour” from 3 to 7 p.m.

Best Brewery

Burley Oak

Burley Oak in Berlin, MD draws thousands of visitors to the area every year just for their craft beer alone. According to Burley, “Our goal is to produce distinctive beers whose quality is unsurpassed using new and traditional brewing methods,” a goal that they’ve certainly accomplished: Their brews are as unique as it gets, and made largely with local ingredients. Stop in for an IPA or, for those feeling adventurous, a JREAM: a sour beer made with fruit and milk sugar, offered in a variety of flavors. 

You can’t miss the Backshore van!

Runner-up: OC Brewing Co

Editor’s Choice: Backshore Brewing Co 

All Backshore beers are brewed in the salty air, right on the Ocean City boardwalk! Backshore is constantly changing up their beers on tap, although the Boardwalk Blonde ale and the Downtown Sugar Brown ale are consistently available, and consistently delicious. With names like “Turn Down for Wheat” and “It’s Getting Hot in Beer!,” the brews are as tasty as they are original. 

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