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November 16, 2010

Top 10 Sunday havens for escaping the Ravens

golden westNot everyone loves the Ravens. Not everyone loves televisions in bars, lounges, and restaurants. Even with the sound off, there is always some lunatic at the bar doing that rhythmic clapping thing on a gain of three on second down.

This category was inspired by a comment from a D@L contributor named Spoons, who had grown weary of my tailgating reports. Thanks for that, Spoons, and also for providing some of the suggestions below.

So, here are my top 10 football-free zones. I was looking for places that are open on Sunday, for brunch and beyond. The Ravens aren't playing any 4 p.m. games this season (has that ever happened before?), but that doesn't mean the televisions are shut off. [RG: within an hour of this post, the Ravens December 28th home game against the Buccaneers was rescheduled from 1 to 4:15 p.m.]

For the record, I like watching football at places where everyone's watching it the same game.

Chesapeake Wine Company -- D@L contributor KB suggested this one: "a Raven-free zone that is open until 6 p.m. on Sundays, and not only can you hang out and eat delicious cheeses with your wine in-house, the CWC is the rarest of all liquor-themed Baltimore rarities: You can also buy your booze there on Sundays, when all the liquor stores are closed." Well said, KB.

Donna's of Cross Keys -- I didn't know until just a minute ago that this Donna's location had instituted a Sunday buffet brunch -- "a bountiful Mediterranean table of fruits, cheeses, breakfast pastries, salads, seafood and meats, featuring steamed shrimp, smoked salmon and prime rib." Sounds delish, and the lunch menu is available, too.

Dukem -- I love this suggestion from Spoons, who says there's the "added bonus of an authentic Ethiopian coffee ceremony at 3 p.m. A caveat: I have yet to get in sync with the service at this Mt. Vernon Ethiopian cafe.

Gertrude's at the BMA -- Sunday (and Saturday) brunch here features an expansive menu of John Shields' Chesapeake cooking -- the Tilghman Island eggs is a variation of the classic Benedict, with fried oysters.

Golden West Cafe -- Hampden is one of the city's most sports-indifferent neighborhoods. A recent  post on the cafe's Facebook page was promoting brunch specials like Mexican baked eggs with homemade chorizo and roasted red peppers and fried chicken and cheddar waffles with maple gravy.

Marie Louise Bistro -- The Mt. Vernon French bistro has been showing some legs lately. I like what I've been seeing.

Milton Inn -- The Milton Inn has been standing for more than two-and-a-half centuries before the Ravens came to town. On Sundays, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the restaurant offers an a la carte brunch or a $34 fixed price three-course brunch. Then at 4 p.m., the dining room re-opens for  Sunday dinner. Spoons says: "makes you feel like you are in a Jane Austen novel - and the best Eggs Rockefeller I've ever tasted."

The Oregon Grille -- Another Spoons suggestion, the Baltimore County landmark serves Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then starts serving dinner at 4 p.m. Here's what got my endorsement -- the brunch menu lists a Hangtown Fry!

Rocket to Venus -- Another good Hampden option, Rocket to Venus serves brunch from noon until 7 p.m. on Sunday. [dagnabit it. I'll check on this in a bit. If it's true that Rocket to Venus does show the Ravens games on Sundays, I'll remove this listing and look for a new tenth. Shows what you get for making assumptions]

Ze Mean Bean -- Always being discovered and re-discovered, this European-style cafe in Fells Point opens its doors for Sunday brunch at 9 a.m. Those are the scheduled hours anyway : European-style means sometimes the doors might open at 9:07 or 9:09.


2005 Baltimore Sun photo of patrons not watching the Ravens at Golden West Cafe/Lloyd Fox

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 7:49 AM | | Comments (13)


I found an oasis on game day at Blue Agave. Not only was there a Ravens game that day, but it was a home game AND there was a festival in Federal Hill. My friend and I walked into so many places with loud tvs before entering Blue Agave. It was great. They had the game on at a low volume at the bar and the restaurant area was void of tvs.

Rocket to Venus is not a Raven- Free Zone- Last time I was there on a sunday, they had the game going on a large projection screen in the middle of the place.

Ravens game was just switched to 4:15 this week, RG. You sir, have special powers!

Correcting the correction, the Tampa Bay home game on the 28th has been moved to 4:15, not the 21st game.

Petit Louis Bistro. I will out myself as I work for Tony and Cindy...but I love Petit Louis. Sunday brunch is very good - starts at 10:30am and there are no TVs.

a lovely suggestion

Can't say I'd recommend either the food or the music at Ze Mean Bean. The food is half the quality of my favourite Polish places in Hamtramck at 3x's the price. The classical guitarist I heard there was out of tune and unskilled, which does nothing for the digestion.

Brewer's Art has no T.V.s, and they won't show or play the games, but you can tell by quite a few of the staff they're far from neutral when it comes to the Ravens.

Yes, Lissa, but are those places in Hamtramck Lions free-zones?

Then again, I wonder if there are any bars that would proudly proclaim themselves to be Detroit Lions Bar.

Really, this lame post complains about 1-4 on Sunday? Foodie non meathead types coexist with Jets and Giants fans on NYC Sundays with a melting pot utopia. These yawn inspired Baltimore brunch options want you want to paint your face purple.

RoCK, you'll see a lot of Lions garb, but the TVs are only allowed to speak Polish. So, no Lions games.

I only cheer for the Lions when they are loosing all their games. American football bores me.

"Hampden is one of the city's most sports-indifferent neighborhoods."

This may seem true if you don't live here, but only come by at night to go to Golden West, Atomic Books or one of the other "new Hampden" stores. Sadly, this is very not true of Hampden as a whole.

Chesapeake Wine Co is good for Sunday liquor but not for anything else. It is a filthy place, dust and spider webs all over the place and I even saw a rat/mouse run across the floor where people sometimes eat at the tables. The place should really have the health dep't stop by and say hello.

Spot on description of Chesapeake Wine Company. I wouldn't go in there unless I was wearing old painting clothes or really was desperate for carry out to actually WATCH the Ravens. That place is a pig pen.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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