BERLIN — An established West Ocean City restaurant has made a big addition this summer in the form of a new dockside bar.
“It’s working out pretty well,” said Captain’s Galley co-owner Do Hansen during an interview last Friday.
Nearing its 30-year anniversary, Do and wife Michelle Hansen started Captain’s Galley when West Ocean City was a roomier area with restaurants few and far between. In the last three decades, however, the Hansens confirmed that the business community has boomed as has the restaurant, especially in their niche.
“We get a load of families and a load of seniors,” said Do Hansen.
Michelle Hansen agreed but added that she’s noticed a younger crowd as well, especially with Ocean City’s “Junebugs.”
“I did notice a lot more of them [this year],” she said.
While Captain’s Galley has seen several renovations and changes in 30 years, Do Hansen asserted that the addition of a dockside bar and seating area is one his family is excited about.
“It’s something new for us,” he said.
Granddaughter Melissa Bunting, who also helps manage Captain’s Galley, pointed out that a dockside bar will allow the restaurant to operate in new ways.
“I think it offers us a lot of opportunities to do some different things,” she said.
But while the desire to build a dockside bar has existed for years, Bunting admitted that the actual process was a lot of work.
“It was like a mad scramble,” she said.
Months of waiting on appropriate permits were followed by several more months of construction, explained Do Hansen, with final touches like weather curtains and televisions only being installed this week. Now though, Captain’s Galley will be able to offer a new experience and draw on new markets.
“We’re starting to pick up a lot of boat traffic,” he noted.
Do Hansen confirmed that his dock is able to support at least a 60-70-foot vessel, as well as many other smaller boats. Michelle Hansen pointed out that Captain’s Galley’s new dockside bar is unlike anything else in West Ocean City and will serve steamed crabs and light fare.
“This is right dead on the dock,” she said.
Besides enhancing Captain’s Galley’s reputation with the nautical crowd, Do Hansen revealed that even regulars are taking advantage of dock dining.
“Right now I think that the lunch business has picked up a little,” he said.
Seniors are also benefiting from the new dock bar, said Do Hansen. With the new area at ground level, stairs will not have to be navigated to get to the traditional upstairs dining room, which Do Hansen noted can be difficult for the aged crowd.
Michelle Hansen added that a focus on regulars is one of the Captain’s Galley’s top priorities.
“We’ve got so many close guys … we have a good relationship with a lot of people,” she said.
That prevalence is often generational, according to Bunting.
“Now we’ve got the families [of past regulars],” she said. “It’s special for some people to come here. It’s part of their memories.”
The atmosphere is a big part of that customer loyalty, explained Do Hansen.
“We want them to feel at home,” he said.
The hope, he added, is that the new dockside bar will become part of that traditional Captain’s Galley experience for everyone, with boaters especially likely to benefit.
The dock bar will also be spotlighting a lot of local music with live entertainment this season six nights a week, according to Bunting.