Slide down some mud
The Real Locals
by Nicole Galland
“We’re the Cheers of Martha’s Vineyard,” says Ocean View bartender and Vineyard native, Rachel Wild, adorable in her pink t-shirt and black jeans. “You want to talk about local—look at who’s here, look at who’s serving them, and look at who’s cooking their food. This is about as local as you can get!”
The Ocean View was once a large hotel, with an actual ocean view (the current Ocean View offers more of a harbor view). It burned down in 1963 and was replaced by this building that was half bar, half dance floor. Current owner Ron Jackson bought it 32 years ago, got rid of the dance floor, and expanded it to include a restaurant. It has been a year-round Vineyard staple ever since. “There’s a couple of hundred marriages that began here,” he says, and then adds with a wry grin, “And maybe a few divorces, too.”
You can order drinks in either of the two dining rooms, but the real atmosphere is in the barroom. It’s a large, soft-lit room with plaid wallpaper, asbestos ceiling tiles, a lacquered-wood bar, simple tables and chairs—and ten television sets tuned to different channels (news, sports and weather). The sound is turned down so as not to compete with the rock music, unless there’s an important game on. The wall by the wait-station features a large rock-faced fireplace and a built-in popcorn maker. The décor is eclectic. It includes Bobby Orr’s sweater from his Junior Hockey days; a nearly-life-sized statue of a golfer on the hearth; a poster proclaiming, “We did it again in 2007.” This is a place where beer is consumed more frequently than wine, which is consumed more frequently than cocktails—but Rachel and her colleagues can whip up excellent mixed drinks on demand. Martinis are most commonly requested, and the Ocean View has an excellent home-made Bloody Mary mix. Rachel’s margaritas are wonderfully sweet-tart. She makes them with “Patron Silver, Cuantro, Lime Juice, Sour Mix, a rim of salt—and then I shake ’em a little Wild,” she grins. But if you want the most bang for your buck (or rather, your 8 bucks), you’ll want to get a Mudslide.
A Mudslide is a blend of vodka, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and ice, served in a glass dressed with chocolate syrup, which creates the impression of sand-paintings. Some people add cream to the mix, but Rachel finds the Bailey’s makes it creamy enough, “and why add even more calories?” she asks, pointing to the most decadent part of the drink: a large cone of whipped cream with a cherry on top.
What could better herald a Vineyard summer than an adult milkshake with the locals?
The Ocean View on 16 Chapman Avenue in Oak Bluffs is open 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., 7 days a week in the summer; and closed on Sundays in the winter from “as soon as the Patriots are out of the playoffs” until May. (508) 693-2207