Best Of – Wine Bars & Restaurants
Wine is a libation that has no season – summer, fall, winter, spring – there is a wine for every season and every occasion. Yet, there is something about the transition from summer to fall that has us popping the cork on more and more bottles of wine. Perhaps it’s the chill in the air at night or the return of fall foods that lend our senses towards an earthy glass of red wine, or perhaps it’s because autumn wine festivals give rise to the wino in us all. No matter the reason, fall is a perfect time to wet your palette with a glass of wine. While drinking a glass of wine at home on the couch after a long day is a welcome way to unwind, we suggest heading out to a local wine bar or eatery. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or not, there’s something to be said about a stellar wine paired aptly with an appetizer or entrée. Check out a few of our favorite wine spots, from Salisbury to Rehoboth…
9301 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
I know you’re probably thinking we give nod to Liquid Assets quite often in this column – and we do – but if you’ve ever been to Liquid Assets than you know it is well warranted, particularly when it comes to wine. Take one step in the door and you’ll quickly discover that this place takes their wine seriously. The walls are lined with bottle after bottle (after bottle) of wine, from whites to reds to sparkling to dessert wines. Prices and varieties range, as is to be expected, but the staff is well-versed and always friendly, so if you give them an inkling of what you’re looking for, they’ll find it. For the finicky wine drinker, peruse the extensive wine list, or better yet, pick your poison from the numerous bottles of wine lining the walls. What’s more, Liquid Assets has a serious cheese and charcuterie menu. Wine and cheese? Yes please.
1015 Eastern Shore Drive, Salisbury, MD
SoBo’s Wine Beerstro is one of those places we find an excuse to go to Salisbury for. Not far off the beaten path, this place consistently delivers, with delicious food, a great atmosphere, and the perfect ambiance for sipping on a glass of wine. Owners and brothers John and Tom Knorr know a thing or two about good food. These are the guys responsible for The Red Roost, Boonies, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, and Specific Gravity…pretty much all of our favorite Salisbury eateries. The dynamic duo opened SoBo’s in 2006, with the focus set on great food and wine with a bit of an upscale flair. For the wine enthusiast, SoBo’s was a welcome addition to the typically chain-laden Salisbury dining scene. SoBo’s features a progressive wine list, with 100 New World wines. SoBo’s underwent a name change in 2009 from SoBo’s Wine Bistro to SoBo’s Wine Beerstro to reflect the restaurant’s wine and beer selection.
Maryland Wine Bar
103 North Main Street, Berlin, MD
We are always looking for a good excuse to head to Main Street in Berlin, whether it’s to visit the local sweets shops, grab a bite to eat, or sample some fine Maryland wines at the Maryland Wine Bar. The Maryland Wine Bar is a more recent addition to the downtown Berlin scene, and is notably the only Wine Bar and Tasting Room dedicated to Maryland wines. This quaint spot is focused entirely on wines – reds, whites, sparkling wines, hard ciders, dessert wines and ports – all from Maryland. There are also frequent wine tastings to enjoy. Adjacent to the bar area is a tasting room that is tantamount to sitting in your own living room. The cozy space is the perfect spot for enjoying a glass of wine. Simply divine.
6601 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
Galaxy 66 is one of those unique places that one really has to experience to understand. From the décor to the ambience to the unparalleled rooftop Sky Bar, it’s easily one of the more metropolitan establishments in Ocean City. We go for the food and the rooftop hangout, but we also recently discovered their stand-out list of wines. Seriously, the list of wines by the bottles goes on for days. The staff is well-versed, which is always a plus for those of us that are a far cry from being sommeliers. What’s more, there’s a raw bar at the Skye Bar. While most people on the Eastern Shore typically think beer and oysters, wine and oysters are an equally beautiful pairing.
121 81st Street, Ocean City, MD
The Hobbit touts itself as an absolute escape from Ocean City, and they couldn’t be more accurate in their assessment. The Hobbit has long been an Ocean City favorite, but when they underwent a complete overhaul a few years back, the result was nothing short of spectacular. The views are still astounding, but the interior is what caught our eye. Posh furniture and a metropolitan setting truly make you forget that you just stepped off Coastal Highway. But enough about the ambiance, we’re here for the wine! And boy do they have wine. By the glass or by the bottle, there are ample wines to choose from. Pair a wine with your entree, or simply stop in to hang out in the bar and lounge area. The couches are dangerously inviting, so once you’re settled in, you’ll quickly find yourself spending the entire night here.
8203 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
Located on the bay, Fresco’s has bragging rights to breathtaking sunsets and views for your dining experience. To boot, Fresco’s has won awards for Best Fine Dining, Best Chef and Best Romantic Dining. The menu features Italian and American seafood, steaks and pasta, which are pretty much our favorite foods for pairing with wine. The wine list is comprehensive to say the least, with an outstanding line-up of Italian wines. Stay tuned for upcoming off-season specials, Fresco’s delivers with excellent specials each year – not to be missed.
Nage Bistro and Wine Bar
19730 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Nage was recently awarded ‘Best Wine List’ by readers of Downstate in the Best of Delaware 2013 awards, so of course we wanted to decide for ourselves. For starters, the wine bar offers an ideal atmosphere for hanging out with friends or for making new ones. There are also over 30 wines by the glass to choose from, with an ever-changing wine list. Reason number 2 – the wine keeper. Nage installed a wine keeper system to protect their wines by the glass. It works by replacing the air in an opened bottle of wine with inert gas to ensure that every glass of wine poured is as fresh as the moment the bottle was opened. Last, but certainly not least, Nage offers wine tastings, wine flights, happy hour specials, live music and ladies nights.