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March 9, 2009

Admiral's Cup could become Pub Dog

thirstydog.jpgThe rumors are true.

After I called him out on Midnight Sun, Pub Dog owner Steve Osmond phoned in to dish about his plans for the shuttered Admiral's Cup (1647 Thames St.).

If all goes as planned (and this could be a big "if," since it involves city permit transfers and such), Osmond wants to replace the Admiral's Cup with a Pub Dog.

"For the most part, yes, we're pretty sure it's going to be another Pub Dog," Osmond said. "It's up to Baltimore City to finalize all the transfers."

There is already a Pub Dog in Federal Hill (pictured), and also one in Columbia.

So wouldn't Osmond be competing with himself to a certain extent? ...

"I haven't done this kind of thing before," he said. "We'll see."

Plus, Admiral's Cup is a pretty big space (it's technically two buildings), so Osmond will have a lot of room to play with. Though he'd be competing with all of the other Fells Point Pubs (not to mention Brick Oven Pizza), I think Osmond could do well there.

At the Shindig, I chatted with Midnight Sun commenter Alexander D. Mitchell IV about the effects of the recession on local bar owners. What I'm hearing from bar owners is that things are just as good -- if not better -- than they were before the recession.

I think what it comes down to is the management. If a bar is well-run, chances are, it will flourish. There are always outside factors, but that is the heart of the issue. And both the Pub Dogs are run well.

But they'll always be Thirsty Dogs to me.

(Sun photo by Monica Lopossay)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:09 PM | | Comments (32)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Yay, this would make me very happy! I always think about heading over to the Pub Dog, but rarely actually make it all the way around the harbor. It would be great to see anything in the Admirals Cup's old space.

Last time I was at Pub Dog, I was very disappointed by the newly installed TVs. The place seems to have succumb to its adjacent bars. Should be only a matter of time before they have Red Bull slushies and and a dance floor in there...

in and in.

7 links in one post. Well done.

A Thirsty Dog on my side of the harbor would be great news.

Awesome news...Perfect spot for them!

if it were me, i'd sell the existing pub dog (for a bajillion dollars) and just move everything into the larger space. in fells point i have no doubt whatsoever that pub dog would do exceedingly well despite the competing, literally adjacent craft beer / pizza establishments. GO FOR BROKE YO!

(also this brings up the question in my mind, how many establishments does it take before they're considered a chain?)

Evan, in journalism, the saying goes something like this:

One is an incident, two is a pattern and three is a trend.

We always need at least three of something to write a trend story. Or at least that's the theory.

The joint needs a lot of work, I hope the new owners have deep pockets. As a former employee, I've always had an affinity for that spot.

It would be good to see the Cup open again.

Sunday Funday here we come!!!

I would be sooo excited to see a pub dog in Fells Point. Living in Patterson Park, I almost never go to Federal Hill, but often end up in Fells or even Columbia (often to go to Pub Dog).

Nice. I have fond memories of The Admirals Cup. And I really like Thirsty/Pub Dog but don't get there much because Federal Hill is too much of a hassle. But I'd definitely hit a FP location, along with a stop at Wharf Rat, Max's, Duda's, Bertha's, and DuClaw. Hooray beer!

"One is an incident, two is a pattern and three is a trend."

Then it's a trend. Remember, they already have another location in Columbia, across the parking lot from the excellent beer bar Frisco Grille. I'm beginning to wonder if competing face-to-face with excellent beer bars is part of their overall business plan. What would be next--Parkville opposite Racers? Ellicott City next to Judge's Bench and Ellicott Mills Brewing?

Remember also that they brew their own beer, though at the old Clay Pipe brewing location in suburban Westminster.....

"And both the Pub Dogs are run well."

Well, maybe, but I've been in both existing Pub Dogs over the years and managed to encounter staff that couldn't tell me diddlely-squat about the beers (where they were made, what one or the other was like, etc.). Thankfully, the signage tends to make up for that.

As another former employee / patron of the Cup, I would love to see the Cup back and in full force. But it wouldn't be the Cup. It would be a Pub Dog. Personally I blame Doug for being an idiot and running the place into the ground when the regulars were enough to keep the place afloat, let alone the weekend drunks. The days of Bruce, McGinn and Big Al cannot be recaptured no matter how hard we try. I hope another business gets in there and does well, but I don't know how often I will frequent it. The Cup had a vibe all its own. I doubt it can be duplicated.

"M" is for gauzy, drunken memories.

One question?
WHY can you no longer take dogs into the ex- Thirsty Dog?
Please "rat" out the culprit that blew it for all animal lovers that come from far and wide to enjoy a wonderful meal, great beer & the company of well mannered canines!
It's the same as when smoking was allowed in bars...if you don't like dogs...stay out of a restaurant called the Thirsty's NOT rocket science!
I cannot tell you how many disappointed folks travel to Federal Hill and not realize that some spoil sport ruined it for all......
GREAT SUCCESS in Fells is the best location in all of Baltimore, I believe!
Go for it!!!

can they change the name to something that sounds less like an Eastern European bar with a terrible command of the English language?
"Yes we will go to Pub Dog yes?"

I'm with you b. hawkes. The last time I tried to go and they wouldn't let my dog in, we left and never went back.

Apparently the health dept rules are if the place has ice/serves food, you can't have a dog inside. I'm still trying to figure out how it's ok that service dogs can go in, but not others. I guess they get a "clean" certificate along with their service dog certification. :)

I'm still looking to open up a bar that only serves draft beer, bottle beer, and wine. That way dogs can come too.

I second redman. Pub Dog is a godawful name. Great bar, but the name is so unbelievably stupid I almost don't want to go there so I don't have to say (or even think to myself): "I'm going to Pub Dog."

"Well, maybe, but I've been in both existing Pub Dogs over the years and managed to encounter staff that couldn't tell me diddlely-squat about the beers (where they were made, what one or the other was like, etc.). Thankfully, the signage tends to make up for that."

You can't have everything.....have you ever encounter staff that couldn't tell you diddley-squat about the beers AND that didn't look good behind the bar? It is pretty easy to find and read their signage above the bar. Fortunately when you look down to order the view is still pretty easy on the eyes.

"I second redman. Pub Dog is a godawful name. Great bar, but the name is so unbelievably stupid I almost don't want to go there so I don't have to say (or even think to myself): "I'm going to Pub Dog.""

I am a big fan and friendly with the staff. The owners' struggled with changing the name....there was another Thirsty Dog.....and this is a litigous society.....They wanted to protect their business and keep the name familiar....I definitely agree that Thirsty Dog was a bit more catchy....but Tasty pizza and 2 Beers at a time is always music to my ears.

I agree that Thirsty Dog (which is what I'll always call it) isn't the same without dogs. In fact, I haven't returned since they outlawed dogs. It was only a matter of time until some crappy little Fed Hill sorostitute ruined it for the rest of us by complaining. I can't believe it lasted as long as it did, but my dog had a lot of happy, pizza-filled evenings there with friends.

AB -

Hilarious, sorostitute, I know what it is by the context, but could you indulge me and give the proper definition?

As for the Thirsty Dog name, it wasn't just that another bar had the name--the Ohio company not only ran brewpubs, but they were actively selling their beers (contract-brewed in Frederick, Md.) in the central Md. market as well. All of that combined was just too close for comfort, especially when Thirsty Dog claimed to be a "brewpub" at a time when they weren't. The local fans may not like it, but any judge would have found in the Ohio pub chain's favor.

As for the dogs in the bar, I fully support the rights of an establishment to run its business as it sees fit (even including allowing smoking) with proper disclosure, BUT the law is still the law. The Dog's routine violations of the health code were well known for some time; it was only a matter of time. If dog owners want the old Dog back, they can lobby to have the law changed to allow exceptions or waivers, or they can establish a location that somehow conforms (And as I understand it, simply eliminating the food and serving only booze won't do the trick).

@Carey Why do you think you have the right to bring your dog into a dining and drinking establishment?

@Sam What a great blog post on the people who think they have the right to bring pets into bars and the bars that do/dont let them.

I'd love to see a post on dogs in bars/restaurants, or other places for that matter. I didn't particularly mind the dogs at Thirsty Dog, and I think that places should be able to get a special license to have non-guide pets. However, I don't see the big deal that they started enforcing the regulations (they did not "outlaw" dogs in bars). Many people do not want other people's dogs around them when they're eating or drinking. More importantly, the owners often tend to check out when they get there and let the dog do whatever it wants, regardless if its bothering other people. They seem to forget that just because they love their dog does not mean that others will too.

Hmm, silly me, thinking that I wouldn't hear the unfortunate term "sorostitute" once I graduated and moved out of the college bubble. I get it; those types of stereotypical girls annoy me too, but it's not even remotely relevant to the topic at hand. Name calling just turns people off from your point and removes the possibility for intelligent discussion.

I gotta agree. When I go to a bar or restaurant, I assume that there will not be dogs present. Many dogs are well behaved, but it only takes one ill mannered pup shoving his snotty snout into my crotch to put me off. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs. I think that if a bar owner wants to allow dogs that's up to him (or her). Saying that ice is a food is a bit of a stretch. Dogs in restaurants is another matter. I've been to the coffee shop in Canton on more than one occasion and have seen dogs with their front paws on the counter. I mean c'mon, not everyone cleans up after their pet in the square where these dogs are walking.

Regarding the no dog in bars issue - I remember this from a while ago...has anything changed in 2 years, though?,0,7965485.story?coll=bal-features-specials

Regarding the no dog in bars issue - I remember this from a while ago...has anything changed in 2 years, though?,0,7965485.story?coll=bal-features-specials

eCommerce Consultant:

My dog is way better behaved than 90% of the children out there. Why can't he?

And don't say cleanliness. If that's the case, how come service dogs aren't a problem?

And how is it that all of these places had resident dogs and allowed dogs inside and for years never had a problem or complaint???

I'm not saying they should be allowed in every restaurant or bar (although it would be nice). But a certain few that WANT to allow dogs should be able to. Have people sign a waiver at the door for crying out loud. "I hereby sign that I am aware that there are dogs in this establishment. I am choosing to come in of my own free will." If you don't like dogs, go somewhere else.

(P.S. I'm still searching for a "kid-free" restaurant ;) )

I don't think that kids should be in bars for many reasons. Having a meal with a responsible adult is one thing, but hanging out while pop knocks back a few cold ones is unacceptable.

I have never seen a service dog that wasn't extremely well trained. They generally settle in at their owners feet and don't jump, bark,run around, or beg for food.

New Notes : The owner of Kali's Court told me yesterday that he bought the Building...

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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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