Pier 23 To Expand Entertainment

SNOW HILL – A West Ocean City bar will be able to expand its entertainment offerings following approval from officials.

Pier 23, one of the waterfront restaurants located near the commercial harbor, received approval from the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) to increase entertainment. Up until now, the facility couldn’t offer music past 7 p.m.

“You’d see sales drop 55% when the band ended,” Taustin Group CEO Cole Taustin said.

When Taustin initially approached the board in 2021 with plans for the Pier 23 shipping container concept, neighbors expressed concern about potential noise.

As a result, Taustin made changes to the structure to mitigate sound and the BLC mandated that live music cut off at 7 p.m.

Following the restaurant’s first summer of operations, Taustin said he’d seen the impact of the live music limitations.

“It’s over and they leave,” he said, referencing to the tendency of diners to leave once the entertainment ended.

As a result, he said he was asking the board to allow him to offer live music until 10 p.m. and to increase the number of pieces from three to five.

He said there hadn’t been any complaints from neighbors during the summer and that the sound mitigating wall at Pier 23 did what it was intended to.

“We were able to control sound really well,” he said, adding that staff also used a noise meter to measure sound.

Taustin told the board that the restaurant would be closed from mid-October until the middle of April.

He added that some nearby property owners had written the board to say they did not object to his request.

One neighboring property owner, however, said he was worried that the music from Pier 23 would mix with the music from Sunset Grill and create a cacophony.

Taustin said the volume of Pier 23 bands would be at management’s discretion.

William Esham, chairman of the BLC, stressed that the board would get involved if it became aware of any problems at the restaurant.

“If they become a problem we’d have them down here,” he said.

The board voted 3-0 to allow Pier 23 to host live music until 9:30 p.m. and to have five-piece bands.

Pier 23, located along the West Ocean City Commercial Harbor, is the Taustin Group’s newest business venture.

In 2017, the Taustin Group purchased the former Captain’s Galley property with plans to develop a new restaurant, Mad Fish Bar & Grille. But after a year of operation, the business was forced to close when an electrical fire destroyed most of the building.

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.