There are two other restaurants of note that we really enjoyed on this leg, Boatyard Bar & Grill and Davis’ Pub, which will wrap up our Annapolis seefare experience! We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people and experiencing the food of this historic town. Thanks, Annapolis, we’ll be back!
BOATYARD BAR & GRILL
Boatyard Bar & Grill is a little off the beaten path if you are staying at the Annapolis Yacht Basin. Rather than heading toward town, you take a left and head over a bridge into the Eastport area which is full to the gunwales with marina life! We decided to take the 20-minute walk because after our Chick and Ruth’s meal we needed some exercise and because Peter and Rachel had spoken so highly of the Boatyard. The one conversation we had several times on our way there was that we weren’t that hungry and we were going to have a nice, light meal… And no crab cakes. We had heard about the great local oysters and as the chilly evening began to lightly mist we hoped they’d be worth getting a little wet for.
This joint is on a side street and the parking lot was packed. It has a great little front porch and even at night, the canary yellow exterior had a glow to it. Inside, the place was jumping and the hostess was welcoming. The decor is all about boats – not a surprise since the place was started by a boat owner and it’s called The Boatyard – and it’s well done. Comfy, but not overly cluttered. We saddled up to the bar because we hadn’t made reservations and a table wasn’t immediately available — reservations aren’t a must but not a bad idea on a weekend and since this place is also a local favorite it can have a respectable crowd any night of the week. They had live music and the singer, Anna Burgess, sounded a little like Melissa Etheridge but with her own vibe – a little folk, a little country and eclectic. She was terrific – I wish I had a link to put here for her so please feel free to post it if you know of her. We ordered The Admiral which was Maker’s Mark bourbon, Canton Ginger Liquor, Peychaud’s bitter, Luxardo Cherries (three of them on a toothpick) and an orange peel. Let me drop an anchor for a moment and discuss the Luxardo Cherry – what is it? It’s a little bite of heaven, that’s what it is. Essentially it’s a maraschino cherry soaked in liquor. Before you scowl thinking about the classic clown-nose-red cherry, these are no such thing. Made from sour Marasca cherries from Italy and soaked in Luxardo liquor they are sweet and tart and look a bit like a dried black olive. “Have another,” the devil whispered in my ear… I think I will! A.J. had the Boatyard Lager which is their house beer and made in Annapolis by Fordham Brewing Company. It was terrific. Clean and crisp with a light hop which balanced a light malty flavor. And light in color – what is known as a Helle (German for bright) Lager. The night was off to a great start.
Once seated, our server Amanda quietly greeted us. She had a “just the facts, M’am” way about her right off the bat so we didn’t attempt to ply her with our humor. The specials sounded great and the menu had something for everyone but our plan was oysters and maybe an appetizer. Thankfully for us Amanda knew her oysters but warned us that the local Chesapeake oysters, Patty’s Fatty’s (yes, that second apostrophe is how it’s spelled) were pretty big. How big? “Hand big.” Big hand big or small hand big? She wasn’t amused but smiled to humor us, “some big hand big some small hand big.” And, they were just harvested that very morning by the Mahoney Family – 3rd generation watermen, so how could we go wrong. We also ordered the Chincoteague oysters from Virginia. They were both excellent! Patty’s Fatty’s were meaty and plump, mild and yeah, pretty big! The Chincoteague were smaller, but still plump with a salty finish. A squeeze of lemon was all they needed, but they came with a cucumber mignonette sauce that was a tasty, fresh drizzle.
We also ordered West Ocean City Smoked Fish Dip (wow!) and Conch Fritters. Both were very good. We were satiated, full and more than happy to call it a night until Amanda came back to check on us and started asking us about where we were from and where we’d been to eat. We joked about every place claiming to have the best crab cake. “Oh, we do have the best crab cakes,” she smiled, “and I’m serious.” We should have pinky-swore when we said no crab cakes. Fresh lump crab with nary a filler and no Imperial Sauce. As my father-in-law likes to say, “who said no?!” And so, as Amanda promised, (I am going to make a proclamation here) we enjoyed one of the Best Crab Cakes we’ve ever had! Amanda’s service was excellent and even though she was quiet at first, her suggestions were spot-on and her personality came through as the night passed. She’s a 5 Anchor server for sure! The next time we’re in town, we’ll definitely be going back to Boatyard Bar & Grill and suggest you do as well!
Davis’ Pub is an Irish pub with a rich history as a watering-hole for local watermen. They also love soccer. It’s in the same direction as the Boatyard Bar & Grill but about a 5 minute walk further. It has about 12 tables and bar seating and we were told on a weekend it’s almost impossible to get in. We decided to check it out for lunch and the place was full, but, as we walked in a table was leaving so we got lucky. There’s an old saying — when an Irishman walks into an Irish establishment the angels find him a seat because it’s a shorter distance to fall when he eventually hits the floor. Ok, I made that up, but I’m an Irishman and I said it so technically it’s an Irish saying. You should hear me saying it in my Irish brogue! Slainté!! (pronounced Slancha)
We tried a local beer, Jailbreak Brewing Comany Feed the Monkey — a delicious orange hefeweizen with hints of banana, clove and citrus. We also had a Heavy Seas, Loose Cannon – grapefruity, herby, creamy and malty and delicious as well. Both are definitely contenders for the OLOH house brew! Amanda, our server the night before, said if we went to Davis’ we had to get the soft pretzel covered in crab then covered in cheese…so we couldn’t resist the Crab Pretzel. It didn’t look like what we had thought it would look like but it was loaded with crab and cheese and mmmmmgood. In an effort to keep our crab cake narrative going, I decided that I was obligated to try their version! The cake was good – it didn’t have the sweetness the others had but maybe that was because it was made with backfin meat rather than lump crab. It had very little filler and was nicely spiced with Old Bay. The fries were fine but could have been hotter and the coleslaw was very good — it reminded me of my Gram’s slaw with the perfect amount of dressing, salt, pepper and a touch of sweet. A.J. had a fresh salad with grilled chicken that was very good as well. We really enjoyed our visit to Davis’ Pub with its casual and friendly atmosphere and we love their slogan…it’s the way we’d like to remember our visit to Annapolis and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.