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.
The concept of this new place is simple and just plain brilliant. It celebrates good, craft beers, and good, American-made, craft whiskey, and that’s about it. Oh but of course there’s food too.
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.
The bare lightbulbs that hang over the bar work perfectly with the decor, which also features great black and white beer and whiskey inspired prints.
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.
The Beer Experience
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.
I like this style of menu. If you’re a beer drinker, you typically prefer a certain flavor profile, and with this makes it easy for you to try something new that suits your style.
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.
I stopped by 20 By Nine for its soft opening to try a couple of beers with friends. I had to work late so I missed the food, but I cozied up in a booth, and began my beer tasting experience.
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.
I am not a whiskey drinker, but understand its appeal. On the menu you’ll find good ole American-made small craft rye, bourbons, and corn whiskeys.
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.
A Focus on Food
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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4 thoughts on “20 By Nine – A Craft Beer & Whiskey Bar In Oak Bluffs”
A great article about a great new addition to the Martha’s Vineyard restaurant scene! I had an amazing evening at 20byNine a couple of days ago and am so looking forward to going back, friends in tow. I enjoy a nice whiskey now and then, and am blown away by the wonderful choices offered. The Manhattan I had was delicious, as was the flight of beers that accompanied the small dishes we ordered. The beet salad, the quinoa salad, the seared scallops with pork belly and carrot puree…fabulous! Then we shared a memorable local roasted young chicken served with kale & fingerling potatoes. We really needed a place like this and kudos to the young men who had the vision and then went for it. My highest recommendations!
Thank you so much for reading On Point! I am so glad you had such an amazing experience. I too agree that it is a great addition to Martha’s Vineyard! 20 By Nine is an experience unlike any other here!!
I breezed into 20 by 9 last Friday August 1st while waiting for a friend coming by ferry. Being a delightful late summer afternoon; 6:30 ish I took a gander at the menu hanging on the outside door, ordered the little cheese selection which though enough for at least 2 people I consumed alone with a beer selection by Kevin my waiter. I told him specifically what I wished for in a beer. What I loved was that when he said “I think you’ll like this one it goes with the cheeses selected by the chef” I said “If I don’t I won’t drink it”. (The cheese was room temperature and paired perfectly with some fruit, fig, apricot preserve, a little quince, and some raisins and nuts a piece of melon and little bowl of buttered toasts. Even better than those two winners was the passing parade of pedestrians, cars and the friendliness of everyone at the outside bar AND I could even hear their conversations which for me is virtually impossible in most restaurant/bars. My friend found me having arrived by Fast Ferry at 7:30 and I introduced him to everyone I’d met in the 1 hour I’d been happily ensconced I was practically family with the people at the outside bar and he joined right into the camaraderie. I’ll be back.
That’s a great night for sure! So glad you were able to have this experience!