Liquor License OK’d For New OC Bar

SNOW HILL– Officials approved a liquor license for a new Ocean City bar but declined to grant it music privileges after hearing from a concerned neighbor.

The Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) on Monday approved a beer, wine and liquor license for Bahama Bay Bar at 221 Wicomico St. The board did not approve any music for the establishment, however, after hearing from an upset neighbor.

“I just don’t want to be given empty promises once again,” neighbor Bill Rank said.

Attorney Mark Cropper approached the board this week asking that Bahama Bay Bar, which was previously Buddy’s Crabs, be designated as multiple license number two for the connections of Toast Café. Cropper said Toast Café’s Michael Berardinelli, along with Brian Shofi and Dr. Robert Masone, planned to open the new restaurant in July, depending on staffing.

“It’s going to be faster food items,” Berardinelli said. “It’s going to be quality bar food.”

Rank told the board he lived in Emerson Towers and was worried about the impact the new establishment would have on residents. He acknowledged that the condominium had been built with the restaurant space attached but said the last couple commercial tenants had created too much noise. He recalled incidents when his windows were rattling and he was unable to have a conversation inside his condo.

“I’m simply asking for you to give us whatever assistance you can… to return some quality of life,” he said.

Rank added that he had little confidence Berardinelli would be any more respectful than prior tenants, as he’d witnessed him cursing and urinating off the dock at the site.

Masone said that sort of behavior was unacceptable. He said that as Berardinelli’s uncle and a 10% owner of the business, he was trying to “help the young man grow.” Nevertheless, he was upset by what he heard from Rank and suggested delaying the hearing.

“This can’t be swept underneath the carpet,” Masone said.

After consulting with his clients, Cropper said Masone and Berardinelli were going to provide contact information to Rank so that he could reach out directly with any concerns. He added that the board retained control over the liquor license once it was granted and would have oversight.

“The board has supervisory control over all licenses issued,” Cropper said.

The board voted 3-0 to approve the license but with no music. BLC members said Berardinelli could come back and seek permission to have music if operations went well.

“Give him a chance,” BLC Chairman William Esham said. “Let him crawl before he walks.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.