Grab a wooden mallet and an ice cold beer. Here are seven 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, Md.
• Mike's Crab House
With a prime perch on the South River, which feeds into the Chesapeake, Mike's has been serving since 1958. It's not far from Annapolis, about 45 minutes from DC.
3030 Riva Rd., Riva, Md.
• Art and Soul
Crab pickin' gets citified with the return of Art and Soul's Crab and Beer Wednesdays. Each Wednesday from 5:30 -10:30 p.m., the Capitol Hill restaurant serves a Cajun-style crab boil on the patio. The crab boil includes potatoes, corn on the cob, smoked sausage and lemon-tarragon aioli, served alongside brews from DC Brau. The price is $40 per person and includes one serving of beer (tax and tip not included). Call ahead if the weather is iffy to make sure the boil's on.
415 New Jersey Ave. NW
• Bethesda Crab House
Specializing in steamed crabs with Old Bay seasoning, this Bethesda favorite has been in business for an impressive 50 years. It's recommended you call ahead to reserve crabs.
4958 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda
Rumors of a possible closure of this Arlington favorite struck fear into the hearts of crustacean lovers last year. But the low-key spot, somewhat overshadowed by the nondescript towering buildings looming around, is still serving up steamed crabs. 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
You really can't say you've lived in DC until you've made a trip to the vibrant, gritty and bustling seafood market on Maine Avenue. You can pick up live crabs to steam at home or buy some already steamed.
1100 Maine Ave. SW
• pan>The Dancing Crab
Tucked away on Wisconsin Avenue, 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 11 years ago. Ah, memories.
4611 Wisconsin Ave.
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