Where's the Party? A New Wave of Beach Bars

Jim and Beth Russell, from left, of Perry Hall, Md.; Karen White of Parkville, Md.; and Debbie Hiltz of Essex, Md. at Mickey Fins in Ocean City. (Art Baltrotsky - Art Baltrotsky/For The Washington Post)
By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007

It's 9:30 on a Thursday night and the taxicabs in front of Seacrets are looping through the parking lot and out to the Ocean City street.

And just like that, summer is here.

Beaches, bikinis and, naturally, bars.

You can still find the same old, reliable good times at Seacrets -- recent college grads in micro minis, middle-aged men in visors and golf shirts -- but time marches on, even at the shore, and with it comes new haunts, new dives.

Let's take a quick pub crawl, shall we?

Ocean City

Okay, there are plenty of places around here to kick off your flip-flops and drink from plastic cups among the not-quite-of-age-to-rent-a-car set.

But if you're looking for an option that's a little more, uh, adult, head back over the bridge toward Route 50 and duck into the Ocean City Fishing Center. At the rear of the parking lot, welcoming its guests with steel tiki torches and soft lighting is Mickey Fins (12952 Inlet Isle Lane, Ocean City; 410-213-9033).

It has the feel of a big boathouse, with pale-blue siding and a great, two-level deck with stunning views of calm water and other people's boats.

This is a marble tabletop kind of joint, but its most regular clientele are fishing captains just off a day's work.

"It's a completely diverse crowd," says John Curry, general manager of Mickey Fins, which opened last year on Fourth of July weekend. "It's the best view in all of Ocean City, I guarantee it."

Well, there are surely a dozen other bar owners who would beg to differ, but it is quite pretty. The bar will have live bands (classic rock, reggae and the like) on Fridays and Sundays, with DJs setting up shop on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Mickey Fins is also a restaurant, specializing in seafood unsurprisingly. But if you're just there to drink, you might want to try the Jell-O-cube martini they're mixing up behind the mahogany bar.

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