Chesapeake Bay Dock Bars to Visit

Dock Bars of the Chesapeake Bay

Dock Bars of the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bayer’s live for the water. There’s nothing like a dock bar to put us in the summertime mood. During the summer, we crowd on dock bars from the top of the Chesapeake to mouth, including all the tributaries, to drink fun summer beers and cocktails, enjoy views of the water, and be happy that summer has finally arrived. Before you exchange your Anchor Bottle Opener or Wine Opener for paper plates and disposable utensils at a picnic table and a laid-back atmosphere just remember it is all part of the charm. For decades boaters and land lovers have been trekking to the popular water spots listed below.

Northern Bay

Marina bars dominate the north side of the Chesapeake Bay with lots of tiki décor to declare a mini-vacation.  Island themes are abound and the drinks are made inspire the vibe with hibiscus margaritas, blackberry sangria, coconut concussion, and mimosa’s.    To complete the dockside bar experience menus feature summer staples like sesame ahi tuna, chicken wings, steamed shrimp and the favorite, crab cakes. 

  1. Signals Caribbean Grille – Georgetown, MD
  2. Long Beach Marina: Bowleys Quarters, MD
  3. Jellyfish Joel’s Tiki Bar – Chestertown, MD
  4. Tolchester Marina – Chestertown, MD
  5. Sunset Cove. Middle River, MD
  6. River Watch Restaurant & Marina – Essex, MD
  7. Hard Yacht Cafe – Dundalk, MD
  8. Row Boat Willies - Edgemere, MD
  9. Tiki Lee’s Dock Bar: Sparrows Point, MD
  10. Raw Bar:, Baltimore, MD
  11. Nick’s Fish House – Baltimore, MD

Bay Bridge Region

As you get closer to the Bay Bridge the local dock bars become much more popular and visible, while still very accessible by boat.   Annapolis and Kent Island are home to many high volume customer establishments but still maintain their shack charm and serve crabs by the dozens with each visiting party.  This is quintessential buckets of beer, crab mallets, papered picnic tables with crabs and the smell of Old Bay just to remind you where you are – crab country! 

  1. The Broken Oar Bar & Grill - Glen Burnie, MD
  2. The Point Crab House – Arnold, MD
  3. Mike’s Crab House - Annapolis, MD
  4. Jimmy Cantler's Riverside Inn – Annapolis, MD
  5. The Jetty - Grasonville, MD
  6. The Big Owl Tiki Bar - Grasonville, MD
  7. Fisherman’s Crab Deck - Grasonville, MD
  8. Kentmorr Restaurant and Crab House - Stevensville, MD
  9. The Crab Claw - St. Michaels, MD
  10. Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill – St Michaels, MD
  11. Pirates Cove Restaurant - Galesville, MD
  12. Marker Five - Tilghman

Southern Maryland

A shanty is defined as a small, crudely built shack but in Southern Maryland dock bar territory, a shanty just means getting close to the best of the Chesapeake Bay.  The best crab shanty’s boast fresh off the boat seafood and crabs, cold beer, slushie drinks, and the best views of the water and sunset.  In vintage mariner tradition there is usually an old seadog that is a fixture at the end of the bar and no one knows his true identity because he’s been called “Captain” as long as anyone can remember.  Shanty’s are usually found at the end of a rural beach road or navigated by a skipper jack.  This is the perfect way to embrace your summer and the perfect way to celebrate the Chesapeake Bay.

  1. Doc’s Sunset Grille – Oxford, MD
  2. Hidden Harbour Café – Dowell, MD
  3. Tyler's Crab House – Crisfield, MD
  4. Sunset Cove Waterfront Restaurant – Ridge, MD

Virginia Eastern Shore:

While geographically removed from Mainland Virginia, the dock bars of the eastern shore are an extension of the shanty feel of southern Maryland with a home style feel.  The southern Virginia hospitality is an added pleasure to each shanty in contrast to the drinking style of the more northern shanty and its better for it.  The home cooked seafood, sea to table experience is what separates the Virginia Eastern Shore from the drinking bars of the rest of the Chesapeake Bay.  Enjoy your bay crush or cold beer but Virginia’s have pride in their soft shells crab, Virginia ham and their bisque and they serve it up with a southern local hospitality that will make you want more.

  1. The Shanty - Cape Charles, VA
  2. Mallards at the Wharf – Onancock, VA
  3. The Fisherman’s Corner Restaurant - Tangier Island, VA
  4. Lorraine’s Seafood Restaurants - Tangier Island, VA

Virginia:  North of BBT

As you reach the quieter local areas of southern Virginia before the hustle and bustle of the tunnel and bridges of Virginia Beach area, you find a sweeter side of the water life.  The once just part-time resident area that enjoyed the weekend adventures of boaters jollies are now down river from year round dock eateries that offer the small town southern home coastal cooking.  Some refer to this area as gourmet shack eating and we couldn’t agree more.  So whether your putting around in a small fishing boat, using a weekend bowrider or captaining a weekend family cruiser this area variety of dock bars will suit you. 

  1. Deltaville Tap & Raw Bar – Deltaville, VA
  2. Merrior - Topping, VA
  3. Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar - Monroe Bay, VA
  4. York River Oyster Company - Gloucester Point, VA
  5. Hole in the Wall Waterfront Grill – Gwynn, VA
  6. Coles Point Tavern – Hague, VA
  7. Hull Island Brewing Company – Hampton, VA

Virginia - South of the tunnel

When you want to get serious about merriment head south of the tunnel and experience the drinking waterways of Norfolk, Isle of Wight, and Virginia Beach.  The James River and Virginia Beach area have dozens of little water ways with great dock bars.  Seafood is plentiful and it also includes more southern specialties such as crawfish, sweet potatoes and key lime pie to round out the southern Virginia experience.  While Virginia Beach and Norfolk have more established waterfront dock bars, the James River has plenty of smaller creeks and coves with smaller dives but all have that Southern nautical hospitality. 

  1. Smithfield Station – Smithfield, VA
  2. Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s – Rescue, VA
  3. Blue Moon Tap House -Norfolk VA
  4. Longboards East Beach – Norfolk, VA
  5. Rappahannock Oyster Company – Norfolk, VA
  6. Stripers Waterside – Norfolk, VA
  7. Fish & Slips Marina Raw Bar & Grill – Portsmouth - VA
  8. The Surry Seafood Company – Surry, VA
  9. Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant & Crabhouse - Virginia Beach, VA
  10. Chick's Oyster Bar - Virginia Beach, VA
  11. Rudee's on the Inlet - Virginia Beach, VA
  12. Rockefeller's Restaurant - Virginia Beach, VA 
  13. Blue Pete's Seafood Restaurant -Virginia Beach, VA




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