SNOW HILL — Five new alcohol beverage licenses were approved by the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) Wednesday as well as expansions on a number of established licenses.
In Berlin, two businesses received approval of Class “D” beer and wine licenses. The Maryland Wine Bar at Berlin, which will only be serving wine from Maryland vineyards, was quickly approved by the BLC.
According to co-owner Deborah Everett, who hopes to be open by June, the bar will be unique, as it is currently the only one in the state planning to offer only Maryland wines. She reported there are 55 wineries in the state.
“Our hope is to, over time, showcase each winery in the state,” she told the commission. “We’re also big supporters of the growing agro-tourism industry.”
The Baked Deserts Café, a familiar bakery in Berlin, also received a Class D license with no concerns from the commission. While it will physically be located near the new Wine Bar, co-owner Robin Tomaselli said that the two places were “completely different” as far as what they will offer customers. Baked Deserts plans on focusing on organic and natural wines as well as craft beer, which Tomaselli said should keep them from stepping on the toes of any other town business.
Both the Wine Bar and Baked Deserts received support from the Berlin Mayor and Council last month.
In the Ocean City area, three new businesses received licenses.
Station 7 Restaurant on Old Bridge Road had its request granted for a Class B beer-wine-liquor license and will replace the former 707 Sports Bar and Grille. Station 7 currently has locations in Laurel, Del. and Pittsville.
Kunu’s Tiki Bar at 4301 Coastal Highway also received a Class B beer-wine-liquor licenses.
Quicky’s Pizza on South Baltimore Avenue received a Class B beer and wine license.
Much like their counterparts in Berlin, the Ocean City restaurants did not have much trouble clearing the BLC.
Station 7 received the most pushback when it requested the privilege of employing a disc jockey as well as the ability to remove tables certain nights after 10 p.m. to make an impromptu dance floor.
BLC Chair William Esham reminded Station 7 representative Ben Cooper that his establishment would be in a family neighborhood and that it would be monitored closely.
Cooper agreed and promised that he wasn’t looking to open “a dance club.”
Two licenses were also expanded during the meeting.
Burley Oak Brewery owner Bryan Brushmiller convinced the commission to drastically upgrade his live entertainment options as well as approve a small, 30-foot by 20-foot outside deck.
Formerly only able to have a four-piece, non-amplified band three nights per week, Brushmiller can now employ a six-piece, amplified band seven nights per week. To go along with his new deck, Brushmiller received permission for a four-piece band to play outside, four days a week from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
In West Ocean City, the Sub Marina restaurant on Sunset Ave. upgraded its Class B beer and wine license to a Class D beer, wine and liquor license, despite falling short of the 70 seats required for liquor sales by more than half.
However, attorney Hugh Cropper, who represented Sub Marina, was able to convince the commission that serving liquor was important for the survival of the business and that the owners, Susan and Thomas Lobue, would be responsible with the privilege.
“It is impossible for them to acquire 70 seats for this business,” Cropper said.
Cropper explained that the building is limited to 60 seats by the fire marshal, while the EDU usage further restricts them to their current 34 seats.
Without being able to serve liquor in Ocean City, Cropper said that his client is lagging behind other restaurants.
“They’ve become non-competitive,” he said.
“We can’t be competitive at all,” agreed Susan Lobue.
In light of the circumstances, the BLC agreed to approve the sale of liquor on the condition that the Lobous maintain at least a 51 percent food to alcohol sales ratio and report that information every month to the board.