OCEAN PINES — A local business that opened in May is looking to establish a reputation this summer as Ocean Pines’ premier family-friendly pub.
“We want it to be like Cheers, where everybody knows your name,” said Chris Ward, co-owner of Shooter’s Sports Pub off Racetrack Road.
Formerly the Steer Inn, Ward and partners Vince Wood and Charles Blake purchased the location this year from its prior owners and opened up the re-vamped space as Shooters last month.
“We like the area, we like the spot. Business has been up and down. I don’t think a lot of people realize that we’re open yet,” said Blake. “So we’re still trying to get our name out there, trying to get our niche.”
Shooter’s is exploring a lot of avenues to find that niche. The pub specializes in traditional bar foods like crab dip in bread bowls, burgers, wings and seared tuna. Blake, a 30-year veteran of the food service industry, crafted the menu himself and said that it is small but comprehensive and always ready to grow. The pub takes puts a unique spin on a lot of their drinks, as well. Because they currently only sell beer and wine, they have to get creative when making mixed drinks without liquor. Blake explained that they use a wine-based mix for frozen drinks; one that he said has a habit of converting skeptics.
“There are a lot of people that come in that at first they make a face and then we let them try it,” said Blake.
Manager Lisa Garton agreed that the wine-based cocktails consistently win people over.
“I’d put our crush up against anybody’s,” she challenged.
Besides food and drink, Shooter’s has an uncommon atmosphere due to its location. Located between Ocean Downs Casino and Ocean Pines, Garton said that Shooter’s looks to offer “a little bit for everybody.” The inside of the pub features pool, darts and other games.
“We are a family oriented place. We want them to be able to bring their kids in,” said Garton. “We don’t want to be a night club.”
When asked why someone should choose to stop at Shooter’s, Garton replied that the pub is simply “a fun place” to spend an afternoon or evening. Blake asked only that people give the spot a first chance to make a positive impression. The building has changed extensively from where it was months ago, he explained, becoming quieter and more comfortable.
“I think people would like to come in to see the changes that we’ve made,” said Blake.
Outside, Shooter’s boasts a sweeping backyard that Blake plans on fencing in this summer and using for a variety of events.
“We really want to buy this property and just create something out of it. We want to make something out here in the Ocean Pines area where people will want to come,” he said. “A nice little neighborhood bar, come out any time.”
The outdoor space will likely be used for everything from crab feasts to corn hole and has enough room for parties, weddings and other events, according to Garton.
“We have a very unique spot back there that nobody else has in this area,” she said.
The plan is to make Shooter’s a destination for people looking to take part in casual game leagues like billiards or corn hole, said Blake.
Once the outside space, which includes a deck, is being used to full, Blake added that he will be turning his attention on extended the menu and the bar. Like Ward, Blake envisions Shooter’s as “Ocean Pines’ Pub” and would like to become another cog that keeps the community in motion. Along that line, Shooter’s will be sponsoring a softball team this summer and searching for other ways to become more than just a place to grab wings and a beer, Blake promised.