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February 19, 2009

If you own a bar and I walk in, here's what not to do

Before writing this, I asked Elizabeth Large if I was going too far. She said no way, and directed me to a post she did a little while back about the very same thing.

I have been offered so many free drinks and put in so many awkward situations since my photo started appearing in the paper, I had to write something about it.

If you own a bar or work at a bar and I happen to walk in, please don't say anything. Don't make any snide remarks. Don't offer me free drinks. Or a free T-shirt. The Sun's ethics policy says I'll get fired if I accept free stuff ...

And though I've written about this before, it doesn't seem to stop people from trying to offer me things. I had one very polite bartender approach me this past weekend with a couple free shots and tell me how much he liked Midnight Sun. I was wearing a disguise, and he still recognized me.

I had to refuse the shots, which immediately makes things incredibly awkward. In fact, if you're a bar owner or bartender and you recognize me, it's probably best if you just let me be. That way, if I'm reviewing your place, I don't know that you know who I am. And you don't get put in an awkward spot.

Again, I'm really sorry if this sounds mean or pretentious. I just don't want anybody put in these weird situations all the time.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:38 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


was your disguise that beard you grow? it's pretty convincing.

I thought "free makes everything better?"
Ethics Schmics!

Welcome to my world, Sam. People often why I only go to 1 or 2 bars. I only go to bars that would never pull that.

Who is Sam Sessa?

Give the name of the bar. I want free shots!

Start taking Tim Lumber with you every place you go; he already got fired, so he can take all of your free shots, beers, t-shirts and women. Problem solved.


Shhhh ... don't let the cat out of the beard -- i mean, bag.

Sweet. I think I look enough like you that I could walk into a bar, yell, "I'm Sam Sessa!", and get a bunch of free drinks. This is going to be awesome!!!

Seriously? A disguise? Like those glasses with the big noses.

Who is Sam Sessa?

Posted by: bryanintimonium | February 19, 2009 10:11 AM


Airhen, yes, I wear those Groucho Marx glasses, and I walk up to the bar and say "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

ss2 -- hahahahahahahahaha

So why exactly did you post a picture of yourself if you're a reviewer?

uhhh....i meant that it was probably your hat that you sometimes wear? yeah, thats it.

Yes, why did you agree to let them use your image? It seems really counterproductive. I don't know if in this day and age with the Facebooks and the Interwebs that it's possible to totally control your own image, but putting it in the paper seems counterintuitive for a critic. Did E Large throw down on that point?

Well, potato (pomme de terre) and bigl, it's a long story.

Read this

and this

and you will understand.

SF -- Aha! It took me a minute to realize just who you were. Nice. Yes, I understand your position on this matter as well. How about a drink on the house? Pay no attention to the underage drinkers in the corner booth ...

Hee hee.


Sam Sessa aint that the guy who fired me, and it took him 2 weeks to finally tell me?

If Sessa took 2 weeks to tell lumber it was because the staff was afaried of him roaming the building given two weeks notice

Is it ok to make snide remarks if I do that to every customer regardless of their day job?

That's a Bad Decision, John.

Is it ok to make snide remarks if I do that to every customer regardless of their day job?

That's still a Bad Decision, John.


That is a great commercial.
Sam, can you put a link to it, I am not technically savvy enough to do it.


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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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