We all get a little giddy when new restaurants come to town and this time is no different. When we saw the Red Red Wine Bar sign go up, we immediately had to know more. Well friends, it’s even better than we had hoped, not only is Red Red Wine Bar coming to town, but its sister restaurant, DRY 85, is coming, too! We met up with Co-Owner and Beverage Director, Brian Bolter to learn more.
Brian, along with Co-Owner and wife Lisa, opened the Red Red Wine Bar in Annapolis back in 2011. The pair then opened the DRY 85, also in Annapolis, in 2014. The restaurants are two doors apart, right on Main Street. Both restaurants will now inhabit the, once vacant, space right in front of the Gateway Grand on 48th Street in Ocean City. The building was initially built for a restaurant and Brian and Lisa had their eye on the space for quite some time after vacationing in Ocean City. However, the developer of the Gateway Grand building was reluctant to sell the restaurant space. The developer wanted to focus first on selling all the units in the building and they wanted to be sure that whatever went into the space, fit the needs of their clientele. After much persistence and patience, they began the process this January and then purchased the space in June of 2017. Lisa mentioned, “we have two from-scratch kitchens with very unique menus!”
Lisa told us, “at DRY 85, we’ve taken southern comfort food and added a gourmet twist. The DRY 85 burger is our most popular with bacon, Carolina pulled pork, cole slaw and bourbon BBQ drizzle. Other items include our Fried Green Tomatoes over Chesapeake burre blanc and blood orange balsamic glaze, slow cooked osso bucco in an apple butter demi and, not to be missed are the blueberry BBQ ribs that are slow cooked overnight. No utensils necessary but bring your appetite!”
DRY 85 comes highly recommend having won awards such as one of the top 40 whiskey bars in America by Whiskey Advocate and “A Top Bourbon Bar in America” by The Bourbon Review. Brian told us that this was, “a very cool honor.” The restaurant will even feature five private whiskey barrels. Due to variances in the wood and aging process, Brian travels to the distilleries in Kentucky, samples the whiskey, and hand picks the ones he’ll serve, right down to the exact barrel. He picks the barrel of his choice, they special label it, and it’s then delivered to the restaurant, meaning this is the only place in the world you’ll get to taste some of these whiskeys. DRY 85 will have 130 whiskeys, 65 of which are bourbons, from guests to select. Brian prides himself on this “highly curated and thoughtful selection” of whiskeys. His goal is to make them more approachable. Brian told us, “it’s our responsibility to educate our guests so they are comfortable with their selection.” DRY 85 will also serve up craft cocktails and feature 12 craft beers on top.
An outdoor seating area will allow visitors to soak up that famous Ocean City sunshine. They even plan to install a large garage door in the front dining area to help bring the outdoors inside. A large piece of art adorns the back wall, custom designed by a pair of artists out of Annapolis: Jeff Huntington and Jimi Davies (that’s right, good, old Jimi Haha from 90’s grunge band, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack!). The ceiling is outlined with barn wood salvaged from Ohio. The wall behind the bar will be lined with top-notch whiskeys.
Red Red Wine Bar
Can you say that without singing the song in your head? Neither can we!
Custom-built couches line the walls and a gorgeous, 1900’s door from India is the star of the show inside Red Red Wine Bar. The door was actually found at Second Chance in Baltimore. Second Chance is a non-profit that deconstructs homes and buildings to salvage usable materials and, in turn, provides job training and workforce development in Baltimore. Brian and Lisa love to support their community whenever possible!
Well, as you likely already guessed, Red Red Wine Bar will serve up wine. Lots of wine! They will offer 35 wines by the glass, 120 by the bottle, and will even have four on tap. Red Red Wine Bar also has a retail program. Did you find a wine with dinner that you loved? Take 10% off the price listed on the menu and you can grab a bottle to go, too!
Lisa explained that, “Red Red Wine Bar offers coastal cuisine with hearty salads, paninis & hand tossed pizzas with topping like pears, prosciutto, feta & arugula. We have a wide variety of seafood items like crab tostadas, crab melt panini, fresh catch that changes daily and scallops over sweet potato purée, candied bacon and almonds.” If you’re just looking for a snack, they will also offer cheese boards to pair perfectly with that glass of wine.
Red Red Wine Bar is just as highly decorated as sister, DRY 85, having been awarded the Best Wine and Beverage Program in the state by the Maryland Restaurant Association.
We immediately noticed the trailer in the parking lot when we pulled up, but Red Red Wine Bar also does catering, weddings, festivals, and other events. The trailer we saw in the parking lot was their mobile bar. They’ve even done events as large as the 7,000 person Under Armour employee party!
Brian went on to say that, “we feel like people are looking for nicer dining options that also don’t have white linen tablecloths.” Their mission is to make wines and bourbons, two beverages that can be very intimidating, more approachable to the average person. DRY 85 will have seating for 120 guests, Red Red Wine Bar can host 90 guests, and their outdoor area will have room for another 80 guests. Both restaurants will be open year-round and, with that much seating, you’ll have plenty of room to enjoy whichever. DRY 85 is aiming to open the week before Thanksgiving and Red Red Wine Bar will follow shortly thereafter. The goal is for both restaurants to open before the end of November.