OCEAN CITY – The friendly atmosphere of your neighborhood pub mixed with the charm of uptown Ocean City can be felt the moment one walks into Whiskers Pub, which has been a part of the uptown neighborhood for nearly 20 years.
Whiskers made a home of 120th Street in 1988 and it’s been serving locals and visitors alike ever since. Whiskers saw a change in 2005 however when the business was sold to Scott White, who is known to most as Slater, and Gary and Julie Beach of Marlin Moon Grille fame.
Slater, who lived in the uptown area several years ago, was familiar with Whiskers and also friends with the owner. Slater had worked at BJ’s for nine years and Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon for four years, garnering plenty of knowledge on the restaurant/bar life. When he heard about the opportunity to buy Whiskers, a pub that he frequented, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Although Whiskers saw a change in ownership, the classic pub feel and the traditions of Whiskers did not leave with the previous owner. The old pub feel of Baltimore and Annapolis pubs still remains, along with the classic pub décor and menu.
Whiskers maintains the old pub feel with its high tin ceilings and old wooden, handmade booths.
“You don’t see woodwork like that anywhere,” Slater said.
The classic woodwork is also seen in the large wooden bar that is topped with a wide array of liquor bottles, showing all the drink possibilities that a bar has to offer. Stained glass hangs on the walls, amplifying the pub atmosphere that engulfs the restaurant.
Not everything has remained the same over the years; the pub food menu has seen some additions and changes since the change in ownership.
“It’s a basic pub food menu, but there’s a lot of offer,” Slater said.
The pub food covers everything from soups to sandwiches to entrees. One specialty that has been consistent over the years has been the half-pound burger, which Slater described as a popular item. The burger comes just about any way you like it, allowing you to pick your own toppings or go with the burger specialties. The specialties include burgers such as the “death burger”, the “crabby burger” and the “Whiskers burger”.
Appetizers include classic bar favorites such as wings, nachos and shrimp. Keeping in tune with the Eastern Shore favorites, the crab dip has been a big seller for Whiskers.
The kids aren’t left out at Whiskers either; a kid’s menu is available with a variety of choices for the little ones.
Daily lunch and dinner specials accompany the regular menu as well as happy hour food specials. Food is available from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the weekdays and until midnight on the weekends. The bar is open until 2 a.m. daily.
The bar offers all of the charm and variety that a neighborhood pub should. Happy hour occurs daily, seven days a week, from 4-7 p.m. with food specials starting after five. On the weekdays one can enjoy a half-pound of steamed shrimp during happy hour for $5.25 and on Saturday and Sunday, this special can be enjoyed from noon-7 p.m.
Slater described Blackberry Brandy and Natural Light as the “house specialties.” He also mentioned the $1.50 Natty Boh bottles that are offered to patrons during the Orioles games.
It is clear as soon as one enters Whiskers that the bar is conducive to football season. The flat screen TV’s positioned throughout the bar are ideal for watching the game. The Redskins décor hanging everywhere makes it apparent that it is a Redskins bar. “We’re defiantly football friendly,” Slater said.
Despite Whiskers being a self-proclaimed Redskins bar, Slater wears a Saints hat. He explains that one of the employees has a father who is the assistant head coach for the Saints. As a result, Slater, along with the staff, supports the Saints along with his beloved Redskins. “We’re the unofficial Saints bar,” Slater joked.
The Saints support is just one example of the employee unity at Whiskers. The small establishment means a small number of employees, which results in a close staff that feels like a family.
“We have a great year-round staff, which helps out a lot,” Slater said of the employees. “Having a small staff keeps it fun.”
It’s not always fun and football games though, as Slater explains that the long hours involved in running a restaurant and bar can be challenging. Despite the hours, he is enjoying the first two years of business and is looking forward to many more. “It’s getting better all the time,” Slater said brightly.
The biggest enjoyment for Slater so far has been the people.
“It’s all about the people that you meet and the people that walk out satisfied,” he said.