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November 7, 2008

The Abbey Burger Bistro replaces Sky Lounge

a burger and a beerLooks like the long, troubled Sky Lounge saga has finally come to a close.

Starting tonight, that space will be The Abbey Burger Bistro, an upscale burger joint run by former Ryleigh's Oyster manager Russell Miller.

The bar will have a scaled back, drinks-only soft opening tonight, and should start serving lunch and dinner Monday Nov. 17.

Miller spearheaded a pretty thorough renovation of the place, which included tearing out all the drywall to reveal the exposed brick walls, opening up a couple bricked-in windows, and installing a wood floor and bar upstairs.

"It turned out nice," Miller said. "It's got an older feel, with a little more character."

Miller has big plans for the drink list ...

It will eventually include six to eight beers on tap and 60 or 70 bottles. He wants the bottled selection to focus primarily on Belgian beers and others such as Merry Monks' Ale. Oh, and let's not forget Federal Hill favorites Miller Lite, Coors and Budweiser. Yum.

The Abbey will also stock about 30 wines, ranging from $6 a glass to $40-$50 a bottle.

Sun Food Empress Elizabeth Large will post all the details about The Abbey's burger selection on her blog, Dining@Large.

The Abbey is at 1041 Marshall St. The main number is 443-453-9698, but that will change in the next few days. I'll post the new number and the Web site, when they go into effect.

(Since The Abbey opens tonight, the best I could do for a photo was this one, of a burger and beer from Red Robin in Columbia. It's by Baltimore Sun photographer Elizabeth Malby.)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:23 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I wonder what he paid for it? Thanks to BMS we got a great snapshot of how hated and vilified the former owner and place was. To all those people who think Federal Hill will crumble under the weight of the zero tolerance parking, I give you Abbey Burger Bistro! Let the flame war commence!

I wonder what he paid for it? Thanks to BMS we got a great snapshot of how hated and vilified the former owner and place was. To all those people who think Federal Hill will crumble under the weight of the zero tolerance parking, I give you Abbey Burger Bistro! Let the flame war commence!

Definitely sounds like a place worth checking out. Nice work, Sam.

Are there going to be any specials tonight, i.e. happy hour?

kkeds, today is their first day in business. I'm sure happy hour specials are the last thing on their mind. I'll check back in with Russell in a week or two when he has time to get his bearings.

Maybe my question was a bit premature... but I just figured on an opening day of a bar/restaurant there would be specials to bring in a crowd and show off the new place.

did they mention how much burgers would run? given their association with ryleigh's i would think somewhere in the 10+ dollar range?

nm I read L.I.Z.'s post.

Way to go Russ! I can't wait to check out the new place. I am so glad Sky Lounge is gone. I don't think anyone who actually lives in Federal Hill every went there.

Find out what time they are closing the kitchen on the weekends when the meatheads come out.

I went to Sky once, don't remember much (yeah one of those nights) except negotiating the cover down from 30 to 20 for our group. Looking forward to checking out the new place though!

I am heading to the Abbey tonight, with or without drink specials. Russ is a great guy and will be a great bar owner. My car is parked in Riverside and I am walking to Cross Street for a beer tonight. Yum!

Went to Abbey Burger Bistro over the weekend and loved it!! Looks great and can't wait to get a 'spiked' milkshake!

I agree Russ is a GREAT guy! He will be a great bar owner as well. He also owns Planet Beach...lets it a Casino next?

I have to agree, the place looks great, and Russ is an awesome guy...inside scoop--the kitchen will be open everyday until midnight!!!!!! I believe burgers start around $7---See you there

You guys are so lazy. Couldn't you find a picture of a hamburger that obviously wasn't from another restaurant. What the hell.


Maybe you're too lazy to read the actual article. If you did, you would realize the article was written before the kitchen opened, and for the that matter, before the restaurant opened to the public.

BTW, went to Abbey Friday after the LL show at the Meyerhoff.

The burgers were delicious, we ordered a few for the table.

It's worth checking out.

went there friday nov. 14th. They had only been serving the full menu for a couple days, and the place was packed, so it took a while to get our food (which is understandable). however, the burgers were fantastic, the service was very friendly, and the beer selection was good and reasonably priced. the remodeling looks great too! i'm excited to go back and take some of my friends there. i really hope this place does well!

The abbey burger bistro is a welcome change to the typical bars in federal hill, it's actually something different. I want this place to succeed but in my 2 trips there i have been disappointed. The idea is excellent, but the execution of the beer side of the business is poor.

My first time to the bistro was a week or two after it's first opening. The food side of the business is good, some of the best quality and unique burgers around, but we are going to focus on the beer here. Looking at the tap menu there were about 12 beers on tap and 20-30 bottles. A few good seasonals on tap, some solid year round beers, Belgians, and some unique bottles.

The first thing I noticed was the multiple misspellings on the menu. Such as St.Bernardus was St.BArnardus which then the waiter referred to as St. BArnarBus. So you have misspelling leading to mispronunciation on top of the misspelling. It's a new place and the wait staff needs beer specific training, I can understand this so no big deal in my mind. But I was actually corrected four times on the pronunciation of St. Bernardus by the waiter. Yes, four times in one conversation (20 seconds), needless to say the waiter was mispronouncing on top of the misspelling. Okay that put a bad taste in my mouth.

On the menu St. Bernardus was listed with out stating which St. Bernardus it was. So I asked "do you know which St. Bernardus is on tap" the response from the waiter was "the usual one". Well since there are 10-12 St. Bernardus beers I knew the waiter had no idea what he was talking about, nor was willing to find out for me. I gave up and just said "oh okay I'll go with that". It turned out to be St. Bernardus Abt 12. Thumbs up for being on tap though.

The exact same thing happened to my girlfriend when she tried to order a kriekbier. The misspelling on the menu was "krakenbriar". When she ordered a "kriek-bier" she was quickly corrected with "kracken - briar". Well they were out of the kriekbier which leads me to another gripe. Only half of the draft menu is ever available. There are 2 draft systems about 6 taps down stairs, 6 taps up stairs.

I have been back to the bistro a couple weeks after my first experience (praying to see improvements) and every time my girlfriend and I have ever tried to order a beer that is on the upstairs taps It has been out. This leads me to believe that the upstairs draft system is not functional and therefor those beers should not be on the menu.

Also on this second trip the kriekbier was still misspelled and still unavailable. My girlfriend finally got fed up when she was corrected AGAIN on the pronunciation and she informed the bartenders of the miss spelling and mispronunciation. Three bartenders looked at her with a confused look and said "oh okay" and seemed to care less. Again, the staff needs some serious beer education especially when your business focuses on two things, burgers and beer, and the beer side is poor.

Dear Anonymous, I will make 2 comments about your ridiculous post above.
1. Your in Federal Hill not Belgium so deal with the mispronunciation.
2. I would like to offer your girlfriend a taste of MY St. Barnadus brew and you can lick my Kracken-briar....

we love this place! where else can ou rparents get growed up shakes and we get growed down shakes?!
the boogers are sabbath and the staff rocks harder than ozzy on meth.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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