I’ll admit without shame or pride that I never made it up to J.C.’s Northside Pub when it was there, but when the folks from the Pit’n’Pub said they were doing to go uptown, I wanted to make a visit. Anyone will tell you that the vibes are different uptown from the way they are below 28th Street, but I always have a blast at the original Pit’n’Pub.
It’s a solid bar. It’s dark enough, but not dense. It’s beach casual, but if you stop in after work wearing a tie (even in the hight of summer) you don’t feel either out of place or unwelcome. I was there late in the season last year and every bartender and server who had the day off swung by for Happy Hour. The best part for me is that is clean without being antiseptic. I have no use or patience for the Applebee’ses and Chilis’es of the world. I like going to bars.
The building at Northside is newer and that has a real effect on the ambiance, but not in a bad way. Where the 28th Street Pit’n’Pub is long and narrow, this bar is square but the first thing I notice that they have in common is that they are both cozy and deceptively big.
Northside is broken up nicely by booths to the right when you come in and a bar and tables to the left. There is a certain pleasure in being able to take the corner seat at a bar when you come in as a couple. My wife and I didn’t make it to the corner, but we got seats just beyond, with the door to our left, which was good enough for us.
Whomever chose the on-tap beers knew what they were doing, because even though it was a little light on local beers, there were enough for me to choose from and enough for anyone who loves craft beer to have their pick.
Solid bar and restaurant menu
What you need to know about the Northside Pit’n’Pub is that they know bar food. This is not to say that the lunch and dinner menus are deficient in any way, but if you’re looking to have a Happy Hour Adventure, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
We went with nachos because (and here’s a pro-tip from a Happy Hour enthusiast) nachos are kinda the arbiter of quality happy hour food. I don’t need them freshly baked, but it’s nice when they’re warm, clearly not from the bottom of a Tostitos bag, and don’t make me feel as if I’m spending too much money on nachos. Yes, I have a low(ish) bar but going to Happy Hours professionally will do that to you.
The nachos at the Northside Pit’n’Pub were better than good, they were what I wanted when I wanted it. There was no fighting over sour cream or worrying that you would run out of toppings before you ran out of chips. It was perfect for two people to share over a couple-three beers.
The other (and possibly best) aspect of the Northside Pit’n’Pub is that, since they’ve been in town awhile, they get better help. Whether it is fair or not, bars and restaurants that are good to their people attract the best. In Ocean City, where people start working in the service industry in high school, that is an asset that can’t be ignored. A good bartender sends off a vibe. You know the second you order what kind of time you’re going to have.
Here’s a quick tell:
If you’re too worried to finish your beer because you don’t have a clear sense when the next one is coming, you don’t have a good bartender. I’ve been to both and I do not believe there is a Pit’n’Pub that employs mediocre bartenders. Again, I’m kind of a professional, but when you catch them checking our your beer even when they’re talking to other people, you are in the presence of a professional. Drink up, they never will let you go dry.
Nothin’ wrong with going uptown
Short version? Check out the Northside Pit’n’Pub and tell me I’m wrong. My wife and I wandered out just after four and the place already was filling up. And it’s wintertime. These folks know what they’re doing, they’ve been doing it well for years.