Picture this: It’s 1:30 in the morning in Ocean City. You spent all day soaking up sun on the beach, lost track of time and started your vacation bar-hopping ritual a little late; you only had time to down a single pale ale at the bar before you realized last call would be coming up much sooner than you’d like, and shotgunning as many beers as you can manage in the span of half an hour isn’t really your style (you’ve been out of college for a few years at this point). You and your friends leave the bar and begin making your way down Coastal Highway. (It was a good thing you didn’t shotgun those beers because now you’re waiting patiently at the crosswalks and looking both ways like any responsible pedestrian would. You’re doing great, I’m proud of you.)
The salty ocean air, usually so refreshing on a humid night like this one, is blighted by a thick layer of desperation that will soon turn to panic. The lights are still on in most of the bars lining the highway, but not for long. All you want is a Bimini Key, or six. And a Sorry Chicky. And a few Lot 3s. But there’s just no time…
Suddenly, you see it. A beacon of light in the near-darkness: It’s Late Nite Liquors. They’re open til 2 a.m. — there’s still hope! You and your friends waste no time and leave the store with a bag of Hoop Tea and a few six packs from local breweries you’d never even heard of until now. No Bud Light or Fireball for this cool crew. The 27-block walk to the condo you’re ‘renting’ from your grandma seems to take just minutes. You’re ready to party.
Everything Under the Skye
Jim Kreider is the General Manager of Late Nite Liquors and has been working there for almost a decade. When he first started, he said, the store didn’t emphasis local craft beer as much as it does now, but it’s since caught up with the times.
“We just had piles and piles of domestic beer, we’d sell tons of domestic beer,” he said. “That whole area there, that is now devoted mostly to craft beer, was once just stacked to the ceiling with Bud Light, Miller Lite. But now as you can see, it’s mostly small breweries in this area.
I think word just got around that you could produce a good beer at a decent price. Prices went up on domestic beer and they started going down on craft beer and craft brewers became, by necessity, businessmen, and got more efficient at doing what they do best.”
Kreider himself is a Lot 3 fan, a beer that he says has been his favorite since he could legally drink. Late Nite is known for their frequent in-store wine tastings, but they’ll sometimes mix it up with spirits and craft beer, too. Tastings are usually on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, and the spotlighted beverage will be discounted 10-20% on that particular day.
It’s not hard, he said, to turn someone on to something that’s locally made, whether it be a wine, a spirit or a beer.
“A lot of the local breweries try to do a good job mixing it up as well, coming out with special editions, just trying to keep the industry fresh,” he said.
Whatever you’re looking for, Late Nite Liquors has everything under the sun — or in this case, the sky, as it’s literally located just under the rooftop bar of the Skye Bar. Stop in for a tasting sometime, and treat yourself to something new.
And don’t shotgun beers at Cowboy Coast when you could savor the flavor of a local IPA from the comfort of your own hotel room.