The Paddock was built by Gabby Mancini on 18th Street and Philadelphia Avenue in what was then considered “way up the beach.” It opened in 1953 as a bar and restaurant specializing in live entertainment. The interior was knotty pine and had a mural painted over the bar featuring horse racing.
The original building, pictured, was partially destroyed by Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The tall chimney blew down, demolishing the roof and part of the interior, but Mancini rebuilt and turned it into one of Ocean City’s top nightclubs. An evening at the Paddock in the 1950s meant long dresses for ladies and suits and ties for men. Live bands were featured and the Saturday afternoon jam sessions were legendary.
Gabby Mancini gave up his business interest in the Paddock in 1969 but always believed in the future of Ocean City. His son, today, also known as Gabby, owns a popular restaurant in Fenwick Island appropriately known as “Mancini’s.”
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Photo courtesy of Gabby Mancini Jr.