If the sun is out in Annapolis, head for Pusser's Landing, the bar inside the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront. As you walk in, take a look at the black-and-white photos of mid-century Annapolis. Sneak a glance at the minutely detailed modeled ships. Ignore the gift shop. Pass the English-style pub. Just walk toward the water, and remember to stop at the edge.
At Pusser's, there's no railing or fence separating you from the harbor's lolling waves -- the bar and seating are on a long dock that kisses the water for the length of the hotel. If you have a boat, you can tie up just feet from the bar and grab a quick drink. The rest of us can take in the view of downtown Annapolis and the menagerie of yachts and sailboats.
Pusser's takes its name from Pusser's Rum, the official ration of the British navy for more than three centuries. It's no surprise, then, that the bar specializes in rum drinks. The most popular is the Painkiller, a combination of a heavy pour of Pusser's, cream of coconut, pineapple juice and orange juice, dusted with nutmeg. Sweet and fruity, it's perfect for days when a breeze is blowing in. The rum punch and Navy Grog are strong and delicious; a softer touch is the Lady Hamilton, a cocktail named for Lord Horatio Nelson's mistress and served with a bit of passion fruit juice.
One note of caution: You might have to stand when Pusser's is busy. Many tables are reserved for the hotel's restaurant, leaving late arrivals to silently stalk the seats near the bar. Those lucky enough to get one usually stay for a while.
-- Fritz Hahn (May 30, 2003)