Sometimes smaller is better, and that is definitely true for 20 By Nine — the newest bar to open in Oak Bluffs.
20 By Nine is a craft beer and whiskey bar located on Kennebec Avenue in the space where Sidecar restaurant was located.
Before we talk food, let’s discuss the bar. 20 By Nine is committed to craftsmanship, quality and community.
The beers and whiskey have been hand selected with care. Each item hails from a company that is small and cares about what they make.
The space is dark and cozy, feeling almost like a speakeasy. There are booths that line one wall, a counter and bar stools that line another, and a great standing community table in the middle.
The outside will soon have high top tables, and the back rooms are still a work in progress.
If you like beer and you like whiskey, you’re in for a special treat, and you might not want to leave the comfort of 20 By Nine.
You ‘ll find 16 beers on tap, which is a lot, and there will be 25 different types in bottles with new ones being rotated in on a regular basis.
The beer menu is dived up into a classification system to help those who may not be familiar with the brands, more easily find what might work for them. There’s Crisp, Fruit & Spice, Tart & Funky, Hop (my favorite), Malt and Roast.
Also cool is the fact that you can make your own flight of beer — meaning try a sampler so to say.
You can order a number of beers in a 4 oz glass and mix and match, which can be fun. I know this girl likes a little variety. Of course you can also get a pint too.
Since it was late, I only tried a couple of beers. I had the Firestone Walker Double Jack which is a Double IPA brewed in California, the Slumbrew Flagraiser, an American IPA brewed in Massachusetts, the Brooklyn Brown Ale, and the Left Hand Fade to Black Vol.5 Black Rye, brewed in Colorado.
There were so many good beers and beers I was unfamiliar with to choose from.
I enjoyed each I sampled but two really tickled my fancy, the Firestone Walker Double Jack because I love smooth West Coast style IPA’s and the Left Hand Fade to Black — it was just rich and with great roasted coffee flavor, and a complexity that let me wanting more.
Along with the owners, I am a beer fan, I love everything about this place. The focused drink menu, the decor, the overall relaxing vibe.
It’s someplace to go when you want a quieter time. It’s not flashy or hurried. It’s thoughtful and different from any other place on Martha’s Vineyard.
20 By Nine is really focused on the whiskey. You can get it straight up or on the rocks. There’s no frills here. The whiskey is in the spot light.
A couple of the brands featured are Baby Blue Corn from Texas, Camp Fire Blend from Utah, Angel’s Envy Bourbon from Kentucky. They all sound interesting but I’ll leave the whiskey to the professionals.
Coming to the menu soon – a couple beer cocktails will be featured. Beer cocktails are a big trend right now, and are a great way to mix it up a little bit.
Here’s an example of one from 20 By Nine, the 180 Cocktail which features a summer ale (think Brooklyn Summer), pomegranate and lemonade.
Also, you’ll find a house Manhattan available. This beverage will be on rotation, so you’ll have to ask the bartender.
Here’s a tip for you non beer or whiskey drinkers. There is a red wine and a white wine available, it’s just not on the menu. So, if you ask you can have that instead. I am sure many women will be grateful for this option.
Like the owner’s attention to the beverages, the chef of 20 By Nine, Scott Cummings (ex-Outermost Inn), will impress you greatly. The menu focuses on small plates.
Scott makes much of what is served in-house. The beer nuts — house-made. And no one would give me the recipe for these tasty little nuggets. The pickles are even house-made.
The concept of small plates allows for a sense of community. The hope is that people will order a couple, and share with each other, sampling a bit of everything. Of course the food is designed to pair well with the beers.
Some of the items you’ll find include glazed spicy bacon, Massachusetts farm bacon and poached egg, local greens, fennel sausage & three mustards (house-made fennel sausage), beer sauerkraut, and pretzel roll (yum).
There’s even a quinoa salad with fresh seasonal veggies. Love healthy options, even in a beer and whiskey joint.
The chef and owners of 20 By Nine are also offering an amazing selection of charcuterie and cheeses. Like the beer and whiskey, the items featured are coming from small farms, sort of craft cheese if you would, and they are perfect for the beverage selection.
Since Scott has a fine dining background, the dishes are executed with an attention to detail. His goal is to make the food approachable and amazing.
20 by Nine is the creation by Celestial Restaurant Group which consists of friends and now business partners, Adam Jaime, Doug Abdelnour (Nancy’s Restaurant), Dave Gaffy, and Steve Ansara.
This group of guys is so proud of their first endeavor, and bringing something different to the restaurant and bar scene on Martha’s Vineyard, and I am betting it’s a home run. Can’t wait to see what they do next.
Why the name 20 By Nine? Well, it’s the dimensions of Martha’s Vineyard. How clever and catchy. I should also mention that 20 By Nine is open from 5 p.m to 11 p.m. on the weekdays and from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. on the weekends – food will be available the whole time.
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