Ocean City's boardwalk offers the best people-watching on the Delmarva Peninsula, and there are few better places to perch than the Beach Plaza Hotel's two-level front porch and patio, thanks to their unobstructed views of sea, sand and boards. That's even more true now that the fussy Phillips by the Sea restaurant has been replaced by Bombora, a restaurant offering Mediterranean-influenced shrimp wraps, grouper tacos and filling crab-and-corn seafood chowder. It's overseen by veteran chef Arturo Paz, who arrives at the Beach Plaza after stints in Hollywood and Miami.
Grab a table on the patio - which offers views of Bin Laden T-shirts sold in the tacky basement-level shop - or a rocking chair on the porch, order a fruity Wild Irish Tea (Jameson, sweet tea vodka, lemonade and fresh mint) or Elder Margarita (basil and elderflower liqueur in Patron tequila) for $9, and watch the world go by.
While our list of most-recommended Ocean City bars usually leans toward dives and neighborhood joints with $2 Natty Boh cans, beer pong and nuclear-hot wings, it's nice to class things up every once in a while. The good news is that it doesn't have to be expensive: Whether your beer is a Pacifico, Xingu, Evolution or Dogfish Head, it costs $4.
-- Fritz Hahn (May 27, 2011)