Something about the shorter, cooler nights makes you instantly crave all things cozy, maybe even slow things down a bit. One place that’s perfect for such a night is 20 By Nine, in Oak Bluffs.
I have not written about 20 By Nine since it first opened in 2014, and boy have things changed, for the better. Last year, I think they had maybe a dozen American Whiskeys to choose from.
Now they have over 100 and are considered one of the top three spots in New England for American Whiskey and are number one in Massachusetts.
Why the popularity? Well, there are a number of factors. First of all, the selection at 20 By Nine is amazing. You can get one of the hottest Kentucky bourbons in the country there, Pappy Van Winkle.
This bourbon has been aged for 23 years and fetches a whopping $275.00 for 2 oz. Seem crazy? Not for “whiskey geeks,” that’s a small investment to be able to try it, and not have to buy a whole bottle.
20 By Nine’s collection celebrates all types of American whiskey — rye, single malt, bourbon, whiskey. Whether you’re a novice, just venturing into this world or a true connoisseur, you will be delighted by time spent here.
One of the owners of 20 By Nine, Adam Jaime, who also is at the bar most of the time, is a self-proclaimed “whiskey geek.” He’s also a certified cicerone (a beer expert), and one of his greatest joys is spending time with customers, helping them navigate the paths of American Whiskey. Each one is unique, subtle differences in flavors and scents and each one has a story.
Not an American whiskey drinker? Not to worry, 20 By Nine has you covered. There is also a list of creative craft cocktails for you to try. The cocktails are carefully crafted and are made with only the best ingredients, many of which are house made.
When I was there, the Nellie Rose called my name. It’s rye, house made grenadine, Applejack Brandy, lemon, and Peychaud’s bitters (one of the oldest brands of bitters in the US). Rye is usually not my drink of choice but I loved it. Also, the vintagey champagne glass and the space itself made me feel like I was in a speakeasy for a brief moment.
I should mention that the Nellie Rose is a play on the classic cocktail, a Jack Rose, which is usually made with apple brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice, and the namesake is Adam’s seven month old daughter, Nellie Rose.
So sweet right? I love learning the background to interesting drink names. Speaking of interesting, when there, be sure to see what the cocktail of the day is.
There’s also wine and a carefully picked selection of craft beers, including Martha’s Vineyard Cider Co., and (my new favorite porter) Ballast Point, and Victory at Sea Coffee and Vanilla Porter. It’s so creamy, with hints of coffee and vanilla, perfect for chilly days on the Island.
Since it is Fall now, the beer and cocktail menu reflects the change in season. You’ll find more spiced beers, more seasonal cocktails with apples, pears, pumpkins. Things that make you love Fall.
So, you know you can get great whiskey, cocktails, and beer at 20 By Nine, but let’s talk about the space. When you walk in, you immediately feel relaxed. It’s small, imitate, even a little dark.
You feel like you should be sipping on something that’s not your average beverage, and you are not disappointed. It’s urban meets the Vineyard, and it’s a beautiful mix. Just one more reason that 20 By Nine is one of the best whiskey bars around.
In addition, the food at 20 By Nine is really good too. The plates are a bit small, but the commitment to local food, and chef Scott Cummings puts a lot of love into the menu.
Because of this, the food is fresh and delicious. Some of the hottest items are the Lobster Fritters with house made preserved lemons and house made wild ramp tartar sauce.
Craving a burger — I know I find myself frequently wanting one — try the Baby Burgers with glazed bacon, house pickles, parmesan, all on a beautiful brioche bun. If these little cuties don’t make you hungry, you must be a vegetarian.
For salads, you won’t find your typical house salad. Here, you have to try the North Tabor Pear and Blue Cheese Salad. It will keep you coming back. Beautiful North Tabor Farm pears, red and white endive and a beautiful blue cheese espuma (a thermo whipped version of the cheese), and walnuts..
Maybe you just want to share a bite? 20 By Nine has become know for it charcuterie and cheese selections. The Butcher’s Board sounds so good, served with five specially selected meats, house made pickles and mustard, and crostini.
Spicy Coppa, Jambon Ham which is salty and tender, are just two of the season’s selections. Yum, meat, cheese and beer. Sounds perfect for an October evening.
20 By Nine opens at 5:30 p.m. and is open until late, serving food until 10:00 p.m., closed Tuesdays. This restaurant offers you an experience unlike any other on the Vineyard. It’s pretty awesome, and keep an eye out for events that they will be doing throughout the Fall, like Oktoberfest dinners, beer events, including one with Two Roads Brewery on October 15th and more.
There is no confirmed close date as of now – Celestial Restaurant Group hopes to keep it open as late as possible, especially since it has become such a popular place for locals too. The building is not insulated, but 20 By Nine could stay open as late as Thanksgiving.
This is the first restaurant opened by Celestial Restaurant Group which is made up of Adam Jaime, Doug Abdelnour (Nancy’s), Dave Gaffey, and Steve Ansara. Like what they’ve done? Well, there are plans for a second restaurant in the works, and I bet it will be something good.
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