When you go out to eat, you don’t only want good food. You want atmosphere that makes it worth venturing out, especially in the cold. Luckily, Offshore Ale has both — and good beer, too. So its new barbecue night was just another excuse to indulge. “Barbecue is a fun theme that’s not really an offering on the Island,” owner Phil McAndrews said, “so we thought it would be fun to have one night we dedicate to a special menu, to create something different to give people a reason to trek out in the winter.”
Offshore started its barbecue night, which they dubbed “Bands, Brews, and BBQs,” last February, and brought it back due to popularity this year, but for longer; owner Phil McAndrews says they plan to run it every Wednesday night, probably through March.
Even with the line to get in practically out the door, the hostess was able to seat me in the corner of the bar with only a small ledge for a table: a spot perfectly optimizing Offshore’s coziness. Nestled between stacks of pizza boxes and a perfect view of the chaos, I settled in to curate my feast.
First things first when coming here: beer. I asked the bartender, Liz Ragone, what she recommended for beer to pair with barbecue, and she steered me in the right direction with the November Fest Spiced Belgian Pale Ale. Mr. McAndrews said that most of the beer they make fits well with the menu already, and the barbecue items link up naturally as well. Later, I also tried the Great Rock Bight IPA, to satisfy my taste for hops.
Having lived in North Carolina, I was eager to get my barbecue fix, so I didn’t waste my time ordering an appetizer. I started with the classic pulled pork sliders (two to an order for $9.98), which are served with a side of coleslaw, and although the restaurant was packed to the boat-filled rafters, they came out just a few minutes later. They were the quintessential pulled pork sliders: saucy and lump meat piled on a roll — nothing fancy. Of course, I put the coleslaw on the sandwich to give it that essential crunch. Other appetizer options on the special barbecue menu include pork wings (four for $9.98) served with a spicy Thai peanut sauce, and honey barbecue chicken wings (five for $6.98, or 10 for $13.50).
With the week between Christmas and New Year’s time warp, sadly I missed out on the live music that typically is a highlight of barbecue night, but Mr. McAndrews said that in a one-month period, there will be four different styles of music on Wednesdays, so it’s not the same thing every week. They will have a bluegrass band, a Beatles cover band, blues, and popular music as well. “We wanted it to be different and keep it fresh,” he said.
Between courses I wandered around the bar to chat with some regulars; that’s where I stumbled upon Dave Poggi from Katama, who was experiencing his first Offshore barbecue. He was deep in a half-rack of ribs, and he generously rejected a handshake. Jazz Tuesdays are Mr. Poggi’s usual nights, but he’s been coming to Offshore for about 15 years. “They do a lot for the community,” he said. “They give back.” His general assessment of the newfound Wednesday-night special was that it was excellent, and that he’d be back — again.
Finally it was time to make the big decision: What would be my main course? Would I go with a regular’s advice and get the half-rack of ribs, or try out a Southern favorite like the country-fried steak? I opted for a little bit of everything with the combo plate ($24.98), which has brisket, chicken breast, pulled pork, and pork wings with a side of collard greens, a baked potato, and a biscuit. It was a true ode to Southern cuisine. My favorite part of the dish was the pork wings, which the bartender later told me were actually chicken this time, because they ran out of pork. Nonetheless, they were divine, with a perfectly light and crispy breading.
On one of the coldest nights of the year, the sweet, sticky flavors made me feel like I was at a Fourth of July picnic, and the friendly vibes warmed my dreary winter spirits. “I try to do this because being open year-round when a lot of places close, I feel a little bit of a responsibility to the community to use the space to create something that’s fun to do in the offseason,” Mr. McAndrews said. “It’s fun, and so far it’s picking up right where it left off last year.”
Offshore’s Bands, Brews, and BBQs will be featured every Wednesday night through March from 6:30 pm to 9 pm.