TIPSY TOURIST: Annapolis pub crawl

You can't miss the nautical tchotchkes at the Boatyard in Eastport.

You can’t miss the nautical tchotchkes at the Boatyard in Eastport.

A Naptown Sunset, Strawberry-lemonade crush and draft beer at Harbor Grill.

A Naptown Sunset, Strawberry-lemonade crush and draft beer at Harbor Grill.

Annapolis knows how to party. And on just about every corner there seems to be a spot where they know how to pour a drink.

So when faced with a decision of where to stop for refreshment, we faced a dilemma: Some place new or an old favorite? Waterfront or sailing theme? Tourist spot or neighborhood watering hole?

In downtown Annapolis, we headed for a new spot in an old haunt. We used to come here when it was the Harbor House and we were way too young for a beer. Now known as the Harbor Grill and Crab Deck this dockside restaurant and bar opened in April. Looking for a drink with a view, we opted for the al fresco crab deck.

Who can resist a view of Annapolis harbor? One of Harbor Grill's strong selling points.

Who can resist a view of Annapolis harbor? One of Harbor Grill’s strong selling points.

Casual and relaxed, it was filled with diners digging into piles of steamed blue crabs. Harbor Grill has a couple of nice specialty cocktails listed on only one hand-edited menu. We opted for a draft, one of their crushes, a strawberry-lemonade, and a Naptown Sunset. The beer was cold, the crush was icy and sweet. The Naptown Sunset was a nice combination of sweet and tart but could’ve been colder on a summer day.

The view was, as it always is, unbeatable. Kudos to our waitress who didn’t bat an eye when we turned down food. She was upbeat and attentive.

The Boatyard is in Eastport, a short trip across Spa Creek from downtown Annapolis

The Boatyard is in Eastport, a short trip across Spa Creek from downtown Annapolis

In Eastport, we headed to an old favorite, The Boatyard Bar and Grill. Nowhere near the water, its walls are covered with sailing trinkets and the bartender knows how to mix a drink. He even suggested another stop on our pub crawl — how did he know?

The Boatyard has classic boat drinks, including a Pimm’s Cub and Dark and Stormy. The Pimm’s was cold and bright. A cucumber cooler was refreshing, the St. Germaine liqueur offering a flowery note.The rum swizzle was juicy good.

The Boatyard continues to be a

Boatyard's refreshments: Pimm's cup, cucumber cooler and rum swizzle. Frosty and refreshing.

Boatyard’s refreshments: Pimm’s cup, cucumber cooler and rum swizzle. Frosty and refreshing.

favorite with locals year after year. It’s bright and airy with a slightly salty nautical air. We were having such a mellow time we forgot all about the the lack of a view.

As I said the bartender suggested a third stop, just a couple blocks away. Davis pub, he said, makes a crab pretzel that will make you forget the rest.

Davis Pub is tucked away on a side street away from Eastport's row of waterfront restaurants.

Davis Pub is tucked away on a side street away from Eastport’s row of waterfront restaurants.

Could you ignore such a recommendation? Not us. All three of us had been there before; so we walked down the street to stop in. Davis Pub is the kind of local place you wonder how it survives. It’s old and dark; it’s not on the water although you can see if from the curb. But it’s a local joint, one patrons hope the tourists don’t find. Inside the dark, cool pub  plate after plate of enticing food passed by and we knew why it was a favorite. Cheerful wait staff, too. (Food Network host Guy Fieri found it in 2011.)

And the crab pretzel? The bartender was right.

Davis Pub has every right to be proud of its crab pretzel.

Davis Pub has every right to be proud of its crab pretzel.

Ⓒ Text and photos
Mary K. Tilghman

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