Berlin, Maryland isn’t a seasonal town. Its shops, restaurants, and hotels that line the streets of the charming downtown stay open year-round, and locals make a habit of knowing where to be and when: When to see a new gallery exhibit or partake in a Murder Mystery at The Globe, when Burley Oak is releasing a much-anticipated new beer or showcasing live music from an up-and-coming local band, when a beloved wine will be on sale at Pitt Stop. It’s a beautiful and historically-rich town to visit (and “The Coolest,” some may say), but it’s not bad living in Berlin, either. There’s always something fun happening all year round, and always something good to eat and drink no matter the palate or price-range.
The Globe is a restaurant and bar on Broad Street in Berlin, located inside a historic century-old building that was once home to Berlin’s Globe Theater. Staying true to its cinematic and artistic roots, the second floor of the restaurant now houses an art gallery where local artists exhibit their works every month, and a traditional theater stage is front-and-center in the downstairs dining room. Diners can often catch classic films screened in the dining room, allowing them to fawn over Cary Grant and enjoy a classic and delicious American meal simultaneously.
The Globe serves as a hub for good food, art, and entertainment. Murder Mystery Dinners take place in the upstairs art gallery and lounge throughout the year, and area actors and attendees of the dinner both become detectives out to solve the latest, always original and always new, whodunnit. There’s also trivia on Wednesday nights, where wisened regulars and naive newcomers compete over three rounds of questions throughout the night, and only the smartest of the bunch (at least on that particular night) take home prizes donated by Burley Oak.
Editor’s Note: At Least We Tried is currently accepting applications for trivia team members, particularly those who know anything about sports, cars, and funk music. Email the author of this article for details.
You already traveled a century back in time at The Globe, now fast-forward just 30 years or so before returning to the 21st century and stop for an ice cream soda at Rayne’s Reef Soda Fountain & Grill.
The atmosphere inside the street-corner soda fountain is 1950s-inspired retro and sparks images of saddle shoes and The Fonz, who you’d expect to saunter in snapping his fingers at any moment, but like The Globe, Rayne’s Reef has actually been a staple of downtown Berlin for over 100 years. It has a different kind of historic charm than its neighbor, featuring mid-century diner decor mixed in with more modern Polaroids tacked to the walls and a movie poster of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride (famously shot in Berlin, where one scene actually takes place inside Rayne’s).
Grab a stool at the Formica-topped bar and order a Reuben, a milkshake or a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and scrapple on the side.
The Atlantic Hotel
The historic Atlantic Hotel has graced Berlin with its Victorian-era beauty and charm since 1895. It was that year that a tragic fire tore through downtown and reduced many buildings to piles of ash; after the damage was surveyed, the Mayor and Council decreed that any new structures be built out of brick, resulting in the Atlantic Hotel’s sturdy brick facade that’s remained for over 120 years since on Main Street.
The rooms in the hotel today maintain the tradition of the Victorian style, furnished with authentic antique decor and photographs. Those who opt not to lodge in the hotel can still dine in the Atlantic Hotel Bistro Bar, otherwise referred to as “Drummer’s Cafe” after the drummers, or salespeople, who arrived at the hotel by train and horse in the late 19th century to try their luck in Berlin. The restaurant boasts fine dining, a vintage bar well-stocked with fine wines and craft beers, and a front porch that’s perfect for enjoying a meal in the fresh air and people-watching in downtown Berlin.
Although it’s not quite as old as its local dining-and-drinking counterparts — Burley Oak Brewing Co. opened its doors for the first time in 2011 — the one and only craft brewery in Berlin is as significant to the town in the present-day as its centuries-old neighbors. And of course, because it’s Berlin, there is some history behind the building that houses the taproom as well. It used to be a cooperage that produced oak barrels, which were then filled with produce and seafood and shipped to Baltimore, in the 20th century.
Because Burley Oak values local ingredients and supplies and sustainable business practices, the brewery helps power the local economy and has been a major catalyst in establishing Berlin as a tourism destination for craft beer lovers, of which there are many in Maryland and in neighboring states. Drinking a beer from Burley just feels good, because of their commitment to local craftsmen and farmers and because of the unique variety of flavors and beer styles on tap. For instance, an upcoming can release includes a mango blood orange fruited sour ale, a double IPA with wildflower honey, and a stout made with Gnarly Waffles from the Burley Cafe, to name just a few. The brewery’s well worth a stop for anyone even relatively near Berlin, from the most renowned craft beer critics to those who are brand-new to the world of craft beer.
Pitt Stop Beer & Wine
You can make a quick pit stop for beer, wine, or spirits on your way home or back to your hotel, or you can spend hours lounging in the Pitt Stop’s cozy and comfortable upstairs bar. Either is a good choice and comes with reasonable prices and a welcoming atmosphere, whether you’re running in to pick up a bottle of wine or meeting friends for a cold craft beer, at Pitt Stop Beer and Wine, just off Worcester Highway in Berlin.
Pitt Stop is more than the average liquor store, which makes it a noteworthy place in town to stop for a drink, and that’s true even if Pitt Stop isn’t 100+ years old. Really, this time. The store is located in what used to be a car dealership, but you wouldn’t know it from the inside, where twinkly lights, paisley couches, and homey furnishings made from recycled materials make it easy for patrons to get comfortable and lose track of time while they sip and shop. There’s always something on sale, and that usually includes a local craft beer. There are complimentary tastings every week, a daily happy hour at the bar, and inside the 7,000 square foot building, over 850 spirits, 850 beers, and 750 wines.