What's new in Ocean City for 2017: Restaurants, hotels and an escape room

For The Baltimore Sun

From a flurry of restaurant openings to new games, rides and events, this summer gives tourists and locals alike good reason to break out of the mold and try something unexpected on vacation. Here's a look at what's new this year in Ocean City:

Dining and nightlife

Albertino's, 13117 Coastal Highway. The owners of The Crab Bag are branching out, with a new brick oven pizza spot called Albertino's slated to open this summer. The restaurant, located in a former Pizza Hut space, will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Crab Bag, 13005 Coastal Highway, 410-250-3337, thecrabbag.com. The Crab Bag itself underwent renovations over the winter. The perpetually packed crab spot added 300 seats and a 40-person bar.

Dry Dock 28, 28th St. bayside, 410-289-0973. Douglas Buxbaum, owner of Buxy's Salty Dog Saloon, is opening the nautical-themed restaurant Dry Dock 28 in the old Pizza Hut space next to the saloon. Slated for a June 8 opening, it will be a "family-casual pizza with a twist," spot, Buxbaum said.

Fenwick Crabs on 15th, 1500 Philadelphia Ave. The owners of Fenwick Crab House are opening a new crab house in the 15th Street building that used to house English's Family Restaurant. The restaurant will be family-friendly, with a focus on crabs and chicken.

Liquid Assets, 9301 Coastal Highway, 410-524-7037, la94.com. The Liquid Assets team has grown with the hiring of a dedicated sommelier, Heather Sharp. Sharp comes to Ocean City from Philadelphia, where she worked at "Top Chef" winner Nicholas Elmi's restaurant, Laurel.

Northside Pit & Pub, 12701 Coastal Highway, Suite 8, 443-664-7482, pitandpub.com. The 28th St. Pit and Pub extended its reach north last December. The 28th Street location's two owners, Steve Hoffman and Mike Horsey, are joined by a third partner, Jon Johannesmeyer. The new spot features the same smokehouse barbecue that's popular at the original restaurant, and both locations will offer $10 all-you-can-eat breakfast every day, all summer long.

Pho-Char Grill, 11805P Coastal Highway, 410-390-7818. Pho connoisseurs have a new beach spot to try this summer; Pho-Char Grill opened earlier this spring on 118th Street. The menu includes traditional pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup, plus a handful of grilled dishes and Thai basil fried rice options.

Rare & Rye, 106 32nd St., 410-213-7273, rareandrye.com. Rare & Rye, from owners Ralph DeAngelus and Matthew Ortt, is a two-floor, 160-seat restaurant connected to the La Quinta Hotel on 32nd Street. The menu will be farm-to-table and the bar will feature a wide selection of ryes, bourbons and whiskeys.

Shotti's Point Ocean City, 3505 Coastal Highway, 410-390-3951, shottispoint.com. Over the winter, Mike "Shotti" Shott, with business partner and chef Andy Gmitter, opened an Ocean City outpost of the original Locust Point restaurant. Shotti's Point, attached to K-Coast Surf Shop, has canal seating and salads, wings, sandwiches and tacos made from fresh, local ingredients.

Accommodations

Monte Carlo Ocean Front Hotel, 11th Street oceanfront, 410-289-7101, montecarlooceanfront.com. The owners of the Hotel Monte Carlo have a new project under way. This 54-unit building has 19 oceanfront rooms, and nearly all are suites with kitchenettes and private balconies.

The hotel will have a rooftop pool and, eventually, a rooftop bar, in addition to an indoor pool and hot tub off the lobby. There is also a restaurant space in the building, though it does not yet have a tenant for this summer.

The hotel is scheduled to open in mid-July and is currently taking reservations starting July 14.

Attractions

Escape Room OC, 11805 Coastal Highway, Unit I, 443-856-9241. escapetheroomoc.com. Escape Room, which originally opened several years ago, is expanding; this summer, it will have five different rooms, each with its own theme and puzzle-mystery to solve. Themes include Sherlock Holmes, a mad scientist's lab and a pirate's treasure room.

Game World, 107 146th St., 410-250-3888. Miniature golf and arcade spot Game World has added a two-floor, 7,500-square-foot laser tag facility. The theme — "Final Attack" — lets players battle in a mocked-up version of New York City. In addition to fun diversions, Game World now offers food, including kid-friendly favorites like mozzarella sticks, pizza and chicken fingers.

Jolly Roger Park, 2901 Philadelphia Ave., 410-289-3477, jollyrogerpark.com. Jolly Roger has a few attractions debuting this year.

At the pier, a new ride, The Kraken "spins you sideways, backwards, upside down and right side up," said Jolly Roger sales director Dean Langrall.

At Jolly Roger SpeedWorld, a new go-cart track called Future 8 features tricked-out cars and a figure-eight track.

In Splash Mountain Water Park, family-friendly water attraction Lost Lagoon features a giant pirate head that dumps water onto swimmers every few minutes.

"There are a lot of squirt guns and toys back there," said Langrall. "It's geared toward younger families, with kids 3 to 6 — and it looks great."

Events

100 Nights of Lights, North Division Street and the Boardwalk.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Boardwalk will be awash in light, thanks to 100 Nights of Lights. Each night, in the area around North Division Street and the Boardwalk, 12 colored searchlights will move and sway along to music piped through a speaker system on the boardwalk.

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