Having sold craft beer and fine wines for over 14 years, husband-wife team Dave and Sara Hambury invite you to their newly expanded business, the West-O Bottle Shop. The upgraded operation now includes the sale of liquor in addition to an on-premises bar, bringing another locally owned-and-operated gem to the Ocean City area.
But the expansion goes beyond an added array of alcohol products. It includes a complete renovation of the former space. The Hamburys have pulled out all the stops — or maybe corks — in creating a distinctive place that looks and feels like an art gallery of the distilled and fermented. Rather than the stark lighting and standard shelving that one would typically expect to find in a liquor store, the West-O Bottle Shop is host to welcoming colors and unique features, like the reclaimed, white-washed cedar siding or the tin paneling recovered from an old farm in Berlin. Sara noted that when discussing the space with architect David Quillen (whom she described as “nothing short of brilliant”), she told him: “I need a South Moon Under-meets-Starbucks-meets-liquor store.” The result is a 7,000 sq. ft. “village,” as Sara lovingly refers to the store, which now houses style, ample space and, of course, plenty of beer, wine and liquor.
“We wanted it to be coastal and comfortable. By using the recycled materials, we were able to achieve the warmth that we wanted to convey,” said Sara. “Character is built in just through the process.” The Hamburys also took advantage of the latest energy-efficient technology by incorporating LED lighting throughout the store.
The shop stocks wine from all over the world and at all price points. The Hamburys hand-select the majority of offerings themselves and train all the staff as well. Craft beer constitutes a large portion of their business as well, and with over 50 local brews in stock, they invite you come in and mix up a six pack. Hundreds of different beers are kept cold in the 28 degree 600 sq. ft. beer cave, lovingly referred to as “The Big Chill.”
The liquor selections are diverse also, ranging from over 50 bourbons and whiskeys, to handcrafted aged rums from Jamaica, Haiti and Panama. In fact, the Hamburys often meet personally with the distillers of fine spirits themselves. Recently, they hosted the distiller of Cold River Vodka, from Maine, who actually grows his own potatoes for his award-winning spirit.
The West-O Bottle Shop even boasts its own bar and comfy lounge areas for sitting, sipping and socializing. Enjoy specialty drinks such as the Dirty Double-Crosser (a vodka martini garnished with a blue cheese-and-French truffle-stuffed olive) over 25 wines by the glass and 125 craft beers on the menu. You may also choose any wine bottle in the shop to enjoy for a minimal corkage fee. Wine education nights, wine tastings and tap takeovers are just a few of the events set to be hosted in the new space. “Tap takeovers are when, for that particular event, all of the beer that is poured is from one brewery,” explained Hambury, adding that brew masters and distillers will be able to Skype in and be a part of the event, whether they are in California or South Africa. Of course, local breweries, wineries and distilleries will also be featured.
Artisan cheese service and other small bites will also soon be available to enjoy at the bar or to grab with your favorite bottle to have at home.
Though the Hamburys say there are still some finishing touches to be made to the ambitious operation, a visit to the West-O Bottle Shop at your next opportunity promises to be a unique and fun local experience.
WEST-O BOTTLE SHOP & BAR
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