There is a 14 mile canal running through Delaware and Maryland that connects the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay. It is known as the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal and we found ourselves on the west end of it having dinner and drinks at the Hole in the Wall in Chesapeake City.
Hole in the Wall is located downstairs at the Bayard House Restaurant, an upscale eatery in a grand old manor house. The manor was built by Samuel Bayard in the late 1700s when Chesapeake City was known as the Village of Bohemia. The Hole in the Wall bar was established in 1780, but I’m not sure when the actual hole was poked. Keep reading…
Originally a drawbridge provided passage over the canal, but following damage caused by a freighter collision in 1942 it was replaced by the current Chesapeak City Bridge, which rises high over the canal providing a wide view of the water and surrounding area. On this cold winter evening, though, we were unable to see Much more than the twinkling lights of the city below.
We arrived at the restaurant and stepped inside, legitimately cold and weary travelers in desperate need of beer and wine. The warmth inside was welcoming as was the warm atmosphere created by the soft, golden light of low wattage bulbs casting their glow on the antique architecture and decor.
It was late, just past 7:30 when we arrived, and the restaurant closes at 8 PM on Sundays so we were happy when the hostess informed us that they were still serving dinner, even though there were no patrons in the main dining areas. Note: Cindy and I are late diners. We don’t usually eat before 7:30 or 8.
We were also happy to learn that they serve dinner in the Hole in the Wall bar downstairs, so we ventured down to the cozy little pub beneath the restaurant.
Two things that make a great bar — even if there are only four beers on tap — are an inviting and relaxed atmosphere, and a good bartender.
One thing that can negate the first of those two is a TV blaring sports and a patron yelling at the players on the screen. Luckily the second of the two things, a good bartender, can at least make the noise of the TV tolerable with her good attitude and personality. We typically don’t, and didn’t, complain about such things. Pick your battles.
Ignoring the din of the football game and our personal commentator a few seats away we ordered a few drinks, wine and a Hole in the Wall namesake pale ale brewed by Heavy Seas Brewing Company, and began to peruse the menu. We were pushing it to order food so near closing time but were assured by the bartender that there was no problem.
Cindy ordered a Marinated Mixed Olives, Peppadew Peppers and grilled baguette appetizer as well as the Red Acres mixed greens salad. I ordered a shaved brussels sprouts salad and buffalo mozzerella salad with heirloom tomatoes. Yes, two salads, I was hungry.
The story is that the Hole in the Wall bar got its name from a period in time when booze was sold to canal workers who were still on the clock. They would get their drinks through a real hole in the wall.
I took a stroll around the bar after dinner, and as I admired a stone camel head sticking out of the wall I asked the bartender where the “hole” was. She said it used to be at the back of the bar but has been covered up for years. No evidence so maybe it’s just a good story. Why would you cover up something that gave the bar its name?
I didn’t ask her about the camel.
The walls are decorated with eclectic decor and some wonderful paintings. One comical piece of signage behind the bar caught my attention. It read, “Let us acknowledge the evils of alcohol and strive to eliminate the wine cellar one glass at a time.”
Stumbled onto a gem here. Food was excellent as well as the service. The bartender extended last call to 8 o’clock from 7:45 and we enjoyed another drink as we finished our meal. We literally closed the place; after we finished they had to unlock the door to let us out.
Next time in town we need to visit this spot during the light of day, and hopefully during a warmer time of year when we can enjoy views of the canal from the restaurant and bar. The Bayard House also features a large veranda for outdoor dining along the water.
Chesapeake City seems like an interesting little town unfortunately we didn’t have too much time to explore, but I am glad we found the Bayard House and the Hole in the Wall bar. Both highly recommended if you find yourself in the Chesapeake City area and would like a nice place for dinner and a drink.