Here’s How You Can (Legally) Get a Drink in Dry Ocean City

It’s not well known, but private clubs in the Shore resort town can legally serve alcohol.

Ocean City beach and boardwalk

Ocean City | Photo: Dan McQuade

Everyone who goes down the Shore knows Ocean City is a dry town. It’s part of the reason why it bills itself as “America’s Greatest Family Resort: It’s quieter and calmer than most of its neighbors.

But you can get served a drink there if you know the right person. Events at the Flanders Hotel and the Ocean City Yacht Club often have open bars. And thanks to Claire Lowe’s story in the Press of Atlantic City, we now know of another way: joining a private club.

Lowe writes about the Riverboat Club, a dining club in Ocean City that is closing after a fire. She also mentions the Foodies Dinner Club at Captain Bob’s, which has been running for two years.

Here’s how it works: Private clubs, as long as they obey the strict letter of the law, can let people join for a fee and serve drinks.

“We’ve owned Captain Bob’s for 17 years. Dinner never really could catch on,” Sharon Hoffman told the Press. “We found out as long as it’s private and it’s closed to the public, it’s legal.”

Ocean City let its residents vote on a ballot measure to allow BYOB restaurants in 2012, but it failed by a 2-1 margin. The resort previously allowed BYOB restaurants before banning them in 1984.