5 Spots To Crack Crabs

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Grab a wooden mallet and an ice cold beer. Here are five places this side of the Bay Bridge for cracking into piles of steamed blue crabs.

Jimmy Cantler's: This is my go-to crab spot after a day of sailing on the Chesapeake. You'll need a good map (or GPS) to get yourself there and be prepared for long waits on the weekends, but the tranquil riverside setting in Annapolis is worth it. Cantler's is about 45 minutes from DC. 458 Forest Beach Rd., Annapolis

Bethesda Crab House: Specializing in steamed crabs with Old Bay seasoning, this Bethesda favorite will celebrate its 50th birthday next year. It's recommended you call ahead to reserve crabs. 4958 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda

Quarterdeck: Somewhat overshadowed by the nondescript towering buildings looming around, Arlington's Quarterdeck is a super casual, no-frills kind of seafood joint. Despite the lack of scenery, the patio's still a fun place to drink beer and pick crabs. 1200 Fort Myer Dr., Arlington

Maine Avenue seafood market: Whether the crabs are local I can't say, but that's not really the point of a trip to the vibrant, gritty and, uh, odorous seafood market on Maine Avenue. You can pick up live crabs to steam at home or buy some already steamed. 1100 Maine Ave.

The Dancing Crab: Tucked away on Wisconsin Ave., The Dancing Crab scores convenience points for being the closest crab shack to downtown. And it was the first place I found to pick crabs when I moved to DC 10 years ago. Ah, memories. 4611 Wisconsin Ave.

And, scene.