OCEAN CITY – A rooftop lounge featuring handcrafted cocktails, fine dining and bayside views is coming to midtown Ocean City.
Located at the 45th Street Village, 38.37-75.07 Lookout Lounge is the newest addition to the 45th Street Taphouse.
With elevated food creations, drinks and views overlooking the bay, owner and operator Zev Sibony said Lookout Lounge will be the first outdoor fine-dining experience of its kind in Ocean CIty.
“At the end of the day, we want a fine-dining atmosphere,” he said. “We want something where – A. we can flex our culinary muscles and, B. we want to bring something to Ocean City that people haven’t really seen.”
Early last year, crews began construction on a second-floor, open-air lounge in the building formerly occupied by OC Steamers and OC Barbeque. The renovation included removing walls, installing a new roof and adding an exterior staircase, among many other things.
“It’s a complete refit of the space,” Sibony said. “We gutted everything.”
And while construction came to a halt at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sibony said crews are now back to work. Lookout Lounge is slated to open in late April, depending on weather conditions and construction schedules.
“This has been two-plus years in the making,” he said.
In addition to renovations, Sibony noted he has worked alongside Executive Chef Joe Bianca and Executive Sous Chefs RJ Stargel and Anthony Eppolite to create a menu featuring handcrafted cocktails, a robust wine list and unique food creations.
“The food that’s going to be coming out of this kitchen is something people don’t see in Ocean City,” he added.
Menu items include charcuterie boards, beef Wellington bites, a deconstructed caprese featuring heirloom cherry tomato nectar pods, balsamic caviar, fresh mozzarella pearls and basil oil powder and a raw surf and turf featuring scallop ceviche, beef tartare and sourdough crackers. The lounge will also have a wood-fired oven for cooking pizzas, hot oysters, cacio e pepe, and brie with carbonated blueberries.
Everything on the menu is made from scratch, Sibony said, down to the syrups used for the restaurant’s signature cocktails.
“We’re going to be turning some heads,” he said. “We’re going to be using newer techniques to turn the food more into art … When food is your life, it already is an art. Now we just have to basically put our art on display for people to see.”
Sibony said the Lookout Lounge is designed to be the fine-dining portion of the Taphouse, adding to the vast array of eating experiences at the 45th Street property.
For more than a decade, the Sibony family has grown the Taphouse brand to include four locations in Ocean City. And in recent years, they have transformed the 45th Street Village into a one-stop destination for residents and visitors. What was once a shopping center has since been replaced by a multi-use site featuring a hotel, dining, a candy shop and mini golf.
“This is kind of like the last modification to home base,” Sibony said of the Lookout Lounge. “We’re going to continue to make the 45th Street Village be what it used to be. Everyone used to know it, 20 or 30 years ago, as this hub in Ocean City. Over the past decade, we’ve been working to revitalize this area …”
Sibony said Lookout Lounge will open daily for dinner, April through October. For more information, visit www.octaphouses.com or the “38.37-75.07 Lookout Lounge” Facebook page. All Taphouse locations will also be open for the summer season.
“For the past nine summers we’ve made a good name for ourselves in town at the Taphouse, and I think the people in town are craving something a little different,” he said. “I feel as time has progressed, people coming to town are willing to go and spend the money on a great meal if the food is worth it … and I know we can provide the right atmosphere, the right service and definitely the right food.”