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March 13, 2009

If he builds a bar in Pigtown, will you come?

pigtownA successful local bar owner (who shall remain nameless) is thinking about opening a bar in Pigtown.

Don't tell me to call it Washington Village, either. As far as I'm concerned, it's Pigtown.

Anyway, the location he's looking at is on Washington Boulevard, two blocks west of MLK Boulevard.

At about 4,000 square feet, it's a fairly large one-story space with high ceilings and a historic feel that he would renovate ...

I realize there are a lot of other factors in play here, such as, what kind of bar, what kind of prices, what food, etc. 

Let's just say this guy knows what he's doing, but is wary of investing money in a neighborhood like Pigtown. He doesn't think there is enough foot traffic -- even with the nearby medical school and stadiums -- to bring in a steady stream of business.

So this bar owner asked me to ask you about it.

What do you think? Is it suicide to open a bar in Pigtown? Or is there a big enough audience to make it work?

(Sun photo by Monica Lopossay)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (94)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

It depends on the customers he wants. There are lots of local bars already there so is he catering to them or a different clientel? If he is going for Med students, yuppies, the people who bought the $300k+ houses that are between pratt and washington blvd. it will be harder to draw those folks in. How many are going to want to walk or drive to get there. There is not a lot of evening traffic, in fact it is pretty dead. Secondly the people who bought those $300K seem almost invisible in the neighborhood. I never saw them out in the neighborhood. There are also the flashing blue lights which indicate a drug corner which might be discouraging to attendance, but who knows. I lived in Pigtown for 15 years before hubby decided to move to the country--Sparks.

I think it could work, and could really help to revitalize that main street of Pigtown. However, I think it will take some time before the place really catches on, so he has to be able to afford to ride out the beginning when foot traffic might not be great. In the long term, though, I think it's a great idea.

I think he should do it! I know plenty of yuppies that have bought up property right around that area and pigtown doesn't seem to get too iffy until around Bayard. Plus with the stadium so close he'd do well in football season regardless of the neighbors.

Absolutely! and on a regular basis. There are hundreds of pigtown residents with very few places to go.

I think he should definitely do it. I live in Pigtown and we are always talking with other friends that live in Pigtown and Barre Circle that there are no bars/restaurants within walking distance that we would want to go to. We would definitely support a Pigtown establishment consistently.

I wouldn't

Lots of people in the $300k houses would love to have a bar with good beer, wine and good bar food. We need a place to "hang", hold meetings, etc. I hope this happens. Rose

YES!! PLEASE come to Pigtown. Those of us in those "$300k homes" are eager to support new businesses. When there was a coffeeshop, we supported it. When there was a dry cleaner, we took our clothes there. We do walk through the community and would do so more regularly if there were more venues. Remember our community is only 90 people strong right now, sadly with many homeowners not living in their homes, but there are about 40-50 of us who are active in the community and participate in all Pigtown social events, eager for a place to call our own. Don't judge us if you don't see us, its easy to miss 50 people in a crowd especially if you don't know who they are! We met as a group to Sharazhads regularly when it was there. We walk to Frank and Nicks or Sliders, but wish there were a place like that in our own side of MLK.

Places like Zellas and Pho do pretty well over in Hollin's market. We go over there quite frequently either for food or happy hour. If there was a place a block away we could walk to for HH or good food, it would definitely be a huge plus for the neighborhood AND the neighbors - it would totally be supported! As someone mentioned previously, you don't see a lot of people walking around in the evening but I think it's mainly because there is nothing to walk to.

Yes, please tell him to do it. That side of town, with it's rich Irish & Lithuanian history has been long neglected. The University of Maryland is adding more and more buildings and the area is only going to grow. He will also do well with stadium traffic and can certainly have happy hours, pre-game parties and UMAB student nights.

Anonymous, "when there was a coffeeshop, we supported it. when there was a drycleaner, we supported it ..."

when there was? have these businesses since closed? if so, don't you think that's pretty telling?

Just a note on the dry cleaner - that closed due to retirement of the owner who had been in business there for many many years. I'm not sure what happened with the coffeshop - I don't drink coffee, but I believe that Sharazhads closed because the owner of the building wanted to raise the rent too much and they could not afford to stay.

We need something to rally around and something that other businesses would benefit from as a result of increased publicity and more people walking our streets.

I have to disagree with Patty. I am one of THOSE prospective customers who bought one of those $300K homes between Pratt St and Washington Blvd. We are out and about in the community at least weekly with doing Citizens on Patrol walks, neighborhood cleanups, etc., along with residents from Barre Circle. So I have to disagree with the implication that we are invisible. Move back and see for yorself Patty. In fact, we were pretty much the ONLY residents (along with Barre Circle) that frequented Evelyn's Coffee Shop on the corner of Washington Blvd and Scott St.

Unfortunately, even with us and a lot of locals from the neighborhood, the economy forced Evelyn's to close. Similarly, Shahrazad's restaurant had to close due to the economy and a lack of sufficient foot traffic to see them though it. I think that if a bar owner is ready to take a stab near that Washington/Scott intersection again, he has be to sure to have the financial resources to take an initial hit, at least until the weather warms, the stadiums are filled, and the economy begins its turn.

I can't imagine it being a big money maker initially until it has had a chance to develop its faithful clientelle. Even then, the question will be whether or not the mixed neighborhood will be willing to integrate in a manner sufficient to let those $300K'ers and the folks to the south of Washington and west of Poppleton both comfortably share a space at the bar.

If the $300K'ers are intimidated by a crack head begging on the corner at the front door, or the other neighbors aren't willing to associate with the Patty refers to as the "invisibles" feeling we are too stuffy, then I doubt one or the other crowd will be sufficient to support a new bar. The locals will stick to their current bars further down Washington Blvd, and like Evelyn's and Shahrazad's the new bar would starve in this economy. Just my two cents.

It depends on which block. If he decides to open on the block between Barre and Scott, that is a great block and he will probably have lots of business. People would potentially (if it is a nice bar with good food and no scum) come over from Ridgely's, and he would do bang up business on game days. I live in Camden Crossing and would absolutely go to any quality establishment that opened up on that particular block. I wouldn't however, walk much further west from Scott Street.

Having participated actively in several neighborhood revitalizations in both Seattle and Atlanta, I can tell you that the first movers made out HUGE! The great thing about the University of Maryland personnel and those in the 300K+ homes: They're largely sinks or dinks with a good deal of disposable income. Build it... and they will come.

Ever been to Night of 100 Elvises at the Lithuanian Hall? The place is jammed! Don't tell me they won't come! We need to get buy-in from the City and get the riff-raff outta there.

Listen to Gruff.

*cough* [name of the potential bar owner]?

Hmmmm..."Samuel Clemens" hasn't chimed in....interesting

Pigtown could support a bar of this type, particularly with the proximity to UMD-Baltimore. Students could walk here as opposed to $10-$15 cabbing it to Federal Hill.

Although from a neighborhood perspective, Pigtown has some suitable options that are neighborhood focused. The newly revamped Sid's is exactly the kind of neighborhood place that suits Pigtown, not some 4,000 square foot mega bar.

But hey, we want to see some development move forward here rather than nothing, so why not take a stab at it! Bring more commerce to Pigtown!

I used to love Patrick's before it cut its hours back to nothing. And I still make the walk across MLK to Quigley's or the stadium bars. I can't speak for anyone else, but I would fully support a decent bar on our main street. Bring on the Thirsty Pig!

Honest answer: probably would not go over there. *Possibly* after softball games at Carroll Park if there was accessible parking - but otherwise, I'm just being honest here and don't want to take from the residents in that area who obviously really want this to happen - I live in Federal Hill, which is the next closest 'hood to Pigtown (other than Ridgely's) and very low probability we're heading over there for HH or otherwise.

I think its a Bad Idea...

We were very excited when Quigley's opened but I do have to say that although it's a cute place, the food is not a draw, I would not eat there and there TV's are tiny so also not a draw for sporting events. The key would be to have someone who knows what they are doing, knows how to run a business, can market the business with good local specials and happy hours, and definitely get a good chef in there!! It soundsl ike this mystery person could fit that bill..... Don't make us beg!!! We're starvin' over here!!!

BaltimoreTerp,

"Pigtown could support a bar of this type, particularly with the proximity to UMD-Baltimore. Students could walk here as opposed to $10-$15 cabbing it to Federal Hill."

Yes, but they won't for two reasons. First, part of the fun in going out, as a student, is leaving the neighborhood where you work, or in this case, study. I know I didn't hit too many bars in New Haven, and later in Chicago, I tended to leave Hyde Park as much as possible. Just as now, Hopkins, Loyola and Towson students contribute in bulk to the crowd that frequents Power Plant, Federal Hill and Canton. There are plenty of bars near their school, but they choose, in groups, to venture downtown. I urge you to frequent a few bars around the campuses of schools in Baltimore, with the exception of MICA, the bars tend to draw a younger student population. Their older, higher spending peers, tend to skip these bars. I did quite a bit of research on this when we were looking at a bar in Charles Village.

Second, rarely do people frequent the same place day-in and day-out. Competition is good; it brings you business, not the other way around. As the only venue in the area, it would be a nearly impossible task to create offerings with mass appeal to make up for the lack of foot traffic and turnover business that that contributes to the customer base of bars in more venue dense locations.

Third, 4,000 square feet is too big for the area. If, and I don't know what it would take, I decided to open a venue over there, 2,000sf would by-far be the cutoff for me.

Forth, you will not attract any consistent customer base from East of MLK. This alone would be enough of a reason for me to step aside from this project. So, whatever the concept, your offerings are going to have to attract a sustainable base from West of MLK. Even hospital staff is unlikely to make the trek across the boulevard, especially at night.


Just my four cents.

People will not go there from other parts of the city. No one from Canton or Butchers Hill are saying, "Let's go to Pigtown for the night". It's not happening.

With the economy the way it is, no one is buying those places in Pigtown because you can get just as big and as nice in a much safer area.

just my thoughts.

Being a young married professional currently living in pigtown, a local, more upscale establishment is what we are DYING for. I could envision a small, nicely appointed place with a few flat screens and a decent, moderatley priced pub menu ($8-$18) with perhaps some outdoor seating doing just fine. I see plenty of young people walking to and from classes or work or walking their dogs in pigtown, just not on Washington blvd. Right now, there is no evening traffic on washington blvd because there is nothing on the blvd to walk to. We will go to Patricks on Pratt (when its open) or to Zellas at Hollins Market when we want something more "local". Other than that, its limited west of MLK. The foot traffic for Orioles games would no doubt generate business. I think pigtown is an untapped area waiting for the right combination of businesses to be the tipping point for some appreciable improvement.

Hey Mark Twain,
If you lived in the neighborhood you might realize that hospital staff and students already "trek" over to Pigtown for free parking. I see them everyday. If the neighborhood offered something for them (other than a free place to park), they might stick around because they're already there.

Also, as a former grad student myself, I can tell you that very often those students want to go out close to the school, especially for happy hours or dinner, because many grad students don't live in the city and would rather go somewhere they can walk so they don't have to worry about parking. I know I would never have spent so much time at Pickles and Sliders if they weren't just down the street from school.

Absolutely! It'd be great to be able to patronize a business close to home.

I'm not a marketing expert, so can only speak for my family. We would love a place to go to on foot for food and drinks. From my conversation with neighbors, they too would love such a place. Hope it happens

are you talking about the old church - there aren't too many one-story buildings with high ceilings that are two blocks west of MLK on Washington Boulevard that have an historic feel. Even if its not, what the hell are you waiting for - bring it!

I live in the Pigtown and would love to see a place close by with the potential to attract folks from the immediate area and surrounding neighborhoods. I know I'm tired of driving to Federal Hill and having to search endlessly for parking.

I live in the Pigtown and would love to see a place close by with the potential to attract folks from the immediate area and surrounding neighborhoods. I know I'm tired of driving to Federal Hill and having to search endlessly for parking.

There are a lot middle class professionals who are desperate for a decent place like this to eat, watch a game, have a few beers. So, yes, I would come to such a place.
Also, Mark, although it's no doubt true that "No one from Canton or Butchers Hill are saying, 'Let's go to Pigtown for the night,' " that isn't necessary for a good bar to succeed in Pigtown. There are plenty of folks already in that neighborhood, Hollins, and Ridgelys.
A lot of people who don't live in Pigtown have the wrong idea about what kind of neighborhood it is. Ten years ago, Canton WAS Pigtown. Then some entrepreneurs came along, saw the potential, saw its natural assets -- like proximity to the waterfront, I-95, and Fells -- and they invested in housing, bars, and restaurants. And over time it became the Canton we know today.
Pigtown is a lot like that. It's close to the stadiums, universities Federal Hill, I-95, Carroll Park, etc., and has an improving housing stock, but it's still affordable to the middle class. It really has a chance to pop when the recession ends and people start buying houses again.

Huck,

"Many grad students don't live in the city and would rather go somewhere they can walk so they don't have to worry about parking." … “I know I would never have spent so much time at Pickles and Sliders if they weren't just down the street from school.”

Last I checked Pickles and Sliders were East of MLK. Moreover, according to University of Maryland at Baltimore's website, most students are city residents.

Second, while many residents and interns park in Pigtown, many also receive security escorts to their cars at night. If people aren't willing to walk to their cars sober, after dark, you'll be hard pressed to get them to walk to a bar.

I would also be cautious here about speaking of people whose income doesn't allow for parking expenses as a viable customer base. I doubt their disposable income, collectively, would be enough to sustain a venue with expenses including: staff, marketing, cogs, insurance, utilities, rent, etc.

While I understand some Pigtown residents yearn for more upscale establishments in their neighborhood. From a strictly economic perspective, it would be a far more risky endeavor than other currently available opportunities.

In my opinion, the costs of operation would have to be less than $4,000 to even have a chance of profitability.

I would like to see Pigtown improve as well, and I think it will. However, larger, more focused development will have to take place before I would support a friend opening a money pit. The mere fact that we’re having a discussion questioning if a sustainable customer base exists is cause for alarm.

If you’re looking for a bar at Pigtown prices I would recommend Hampden. There are ample commercial properties available well priced. For example, there is a bar right off the Avenue available for $90k with a 7-day tavern license and total operating expenses below $4k

There are more than a few reasons why 85% of bars & restaurants fail within the first 36 months. Owner/operator experience and location are the two biggest.

I would be very much in favour of this bar coming to the neighbourhood. There is a lack of decent bars in the area. Sid's just re-opened a few weeks ago and is nice, but that's about the only place I'd feel comfortable going to have a drink.

Someone mentioned Shaharazads, which wasn't open very long. The issue with that was that it had a vegan-influenced menu and that is way too limited for a neighbourhood like ours. That's also why the vegan restaurant that was there before them failed, too.

We all loved Evelyn's, but there were some issues, which I won't discuss, that forced her to close.

I'd be curious to know where people like Mark Twain and some of the others who are making negative comments live. People from Canton and Fed Hill aren't coming to Pigtown right now, because there's no place to go, plain and simple.

I've lived in P-town for three years and have never been afraid walking from my car to the house alone at night, nor walking my dog late at night. It depends where you live in Pigtown whether it's safe or not.

Sam are you the one thinking of opening it up? What better marketing survey?

I live in nearby Hollins Market, and I'd love to see another venue in Pigtown, especially one with good beer on tap.

I do think that people would visit from other neighborhoods if the food was unique to the area and very well prepared.

If I were a restauranteur, I would open a place the featured true Carolina BBQ, you knwo the pork with the vinegar based sauce and some slaw.. Imagine a place like Rub but one floor. Obviously you would have other food but need a reason to draw. The more I think about it, it can't be Loonie's West or something similar. Every neighborhood has a sports bar with pub food.

Sturmy might be on to something!

If you open a place, make it more upscale and have good food & burgers. There are so many local bars full of people that have lived in the neighborhood for years, so it is more "their" bar then the new peoples. I have lived here for nearly 5 years. Each of the businesses that were on the 800 block of Wash Blvd closed with good reason. Porter's (the best place if you ask me) was a very successful coffee house/restaurant with great food & live music. They had breakfast diner style, lunch and dinner. They did a great take out business too, which is important for a business in this area to succeed. We went there every Sunday morning & at least one night a week. They had personal issues that I won't put on this public blog which forced them to sell the business. Next was Yabba Pot, just like the one on St. Paul St they had vegetarian food, weird food for most of the residents. I have been a vegetarian for 16 years and although I was happy, I didn't think the neighborhood was ready for that. Then Shaharad's came, it had very vegetarian and Carribean food that did not appeal to everyone in the neighborhood either. Their rent got jacked up and they weren't doing enough business to make it work, it's a large space to heat and run. Evelyn's was an awesome place, a coffee house concept but hardly ever open. We'd go there and despite it having posted hours it would open late and as it was it open at like 9AM on a weekend...too late. It had seating for like 4 people, people like to talk and hang out in a group at a coffee place. They needed to do breakfast sandwhiches, bacon, egg and cheese and open earlier. The dry cleaner originally retired and then the other dry cleaner got carbon monoxide poisoning and moved back to their other establishment in Hollins Market. We need a burger place or pizza place like Thirsty Dog (I'm sorry, Dog Pub) that has lots of good beer on tap. It would make a killing selling packaged goods during the games. There needs to be seating inside and possibly out in the back for many people and it needs to serve moderatly priced food and take out so that both the long time residents of Pigtown as well as the newer residents can be served. The wrong business models have been presented. I think a model like Quigley's in Ridgley's Delight is a good starting point.

I lived on Barre Circle from about 1998 to 2001. It's been a few years since that was my hood (well before Camden Crossing and the bio-tech park), but I doubt something too upscale is going to do well on that side of MLK. I tend to agree with the last poster that whatever opens in that area has got to cater to the whole neighborhood - old and new, student and non-student. I can't recall if there was such a place when I lived there; Camden Pub, Pickles and that Caribbean place are probably not the best models.

Anyone know if they still have croquet matches in the back of Barre Circle in the summertime? That was good fun.

If you open a place, make it more upscale and have good food & burgers. There are so many local bars full of people that have lived in the neighborhood for years, so it is more "their" bar then the new peoples. I have lived here for nearly 5 years. Each of the businesses that were on the 800 block of Wash Blvd closed with good reason. Porter's (the best place if you ask me) was a very successful coffee house/restaurant with great food & live music. They had breakfast diner style, lunch and dinner. They did a great take out business too, which is important for a business in this area to succeed. We went there every Sunday morning & at least one night a week. They had personal issues that I won't put on this public blog which forced them to sell the business. Next was Yabba Pot, just like the one on St. Paul St they had vegetarian food, weird food for most of the residents. I have been a vegetarian for 16 years and although I was happy, I didn't think the neighborhood was ready for that. Then Shaharad's came, it had very vegetarian and Carribean food that did not appeal to everyone in the neighborhood either. Their rent got jacked up and they weren't doing enough business to make it work, it's a large space to heat and run. Evelyn's was an awesome place, a coffee house concept but hardly ever open. We'd go there and despite it having posted hours it would open late and as it was it open at like 9AM on a weekend...too late. It had seating for like 4 people, people like to talk and hang out in a group at a coffee place. They needed to do breakfast sandwhiches, bacon, egg and cheese and open earlier. The dry cleaner originally retired and then the other dry cleaner got carbon monoxide poisoning and moved back to their other establishment in Hollins Market. We need a burger place or pizza place like Thirsty Dog (I'm sorry, Dog Pub) that has lots of good beer on tap. It would make a killing selling packaged goods during the games. There needs to be seating inside and possibly out in the back for many people and it needs to serve moderatly priced food and take out so that both the long time residents of Pigtown as well as the newer residents can be served. The wrong business models have been presented. I think a model like Quigley's in Ridgley's Delight is a good starting point.

Are you talking about the old church? - seems like its the only one-story building two blocks from MLK on Washington Boulevard with high ceilings and a historic feel. Even if its not, bring it on - we're all waiting for it!

Hey Twain - if that bar just off the Avenue is so appealing (I think I know the one you speak of), please buy it and open something decent there! As a Hampden resident, I feel our current options in the neighborhood are pretty crappy...

A middle-class bar/restaurant would make a killing in Pigtown. Camden Crossing/Barre Circle/Roundhouse Court residents are begging for a local place where they can eat dinner and have a few drinks. Right now Quigley's is the closest place for these residents to go, and the food and ownership is average. I like that someone noted the Hollins Market restaurants' success as that neighborhood is even further from the beaten path than Pigtown. A restaurant with good (and unique?) food would draw people from other neighborhoods as well as Pigtown residents. In addition, neighborhood groups like COP, WVDA and Pigtown Main Street would have regular meetings and in essence provide free marketing for a new establishment. Clearly times are rough and the owner might need to accept that the bar won't catch on right away. Yet even if no development happens in Pigtown, the bar would be supported and profitable, especially if it were at or east of Scott St. If new development does come to Pigtown, the new restaurant owner will be very, very happy with the amount of money lining his pockets.

PLEASE bring a bar that the residents of Pigtown can go to!!! There are tons of new residents of rehabbed homes in Pigtown who have no local hang out. It would be a welcomed addition to this ever growing neighborhood. And it would be supported on a regular basis by a devoted group of residence in this area. Please bring a great bar to pigtown!

I'd gladly make the trek from Union Square to Pigtown for a good restaurant/bar. With Patrick's closed, our options are limited.

It seems like it could work, but I don't know if just Another Neighborhood Bar would do it if the local base isn't enough to sustain it. It would have to have something to draw people in from other spots. What sort of restaurants is Baltimore missing that you'd cross town for?

Also, yes, please build cheap places in Hampden! The former Nutty Pub or the huge, perpetually empty place on the corner of Keswick and 33rd are dying for something good! My kingdom for a Hampden sports bar! There is nowhere good to watch the game 'round these parts!

twain,

You went to university of chicago?

I'd love to see a new bar/nightclub succeed in Pigtown. But as many other commenters have mentioned, it's a very tough 'hood for such a place to succeed for a variety of reasons. I'd suggest designing it as a place that would appeal both to locals but also offer unique features that would make it a "destination" (live music w/good bands, etc.). Also good food at reasonable prices. I'd definitely consider visiting from East Baltimore for such a place.

i don't think it's sam that is opening the bar. probably one of the brewers art/ hamilton tavern/ annabell lee/

just a guess though. i'd definitely go to the bar though

I agree it would have to have some sort of "draw" to get people over and I don't think plain old bar food (burgers and wings) is enough to do it. It wouldn't have to be something as unique as Pho but just have a variety of GOOD food to appeal to a large audience with a fun atmosphere and daily specials. Quite honestly, there are very few places in Fed Hill I go to eat - Mother's for brunch or $10 entree night, Ryleigh's for Shore Night - (I would go there JUST for their corn on the cob though), or Sobo mostly, they guarantee a good meal. The options for food in Fed Hill are really not that great otherwise, they offer a party scene. Canton has quite a few places with great food PLUS the great bar atmosphere AND good drinks! (Crushes at Mama's or Portside and margaritas at Nacho's).

I'm no expert on this subject but I know that if there was some place I could walk to, I probably would go there at least one night a week rather then driving across town for a good meal. On another note, Camden Crossing LOVES a good happy hour so if there was a good deal, you could probably support that $4000 operating budget just from our bar tabs alone!!

50+ comments has to be a good indicator that there is some pent up demand. Enough for a viable business? Hopefully we'll get a chance to prove it with our wallets and our livers soon enough,

Best of luck good sir

There is a need for lots of development in Pigtown, but any place that thinks it is going to cater only to an upscale crowd will need to have loads of financial backing to stay in business. (And BTW, $4000 a month won't begin to cover the costs.) I'm a part owner in Sid's and one of our main objectives is to find a way to create a truly "neighborhood" bar. Both the older locals and the newer residents have to be able to feel comfortable. We plan to offer food, but that will take some time to get up and running. Right now, we started by keeping the Bud line, which the older residents drink, and adding on about 25 other beers, including 5 on tap, as well as a wide range of liquor. In our own short experience, we are surviving on the older locals. While the newer residents come in, they may stop in once a week, drink 2-3 beers and go. This is fine, but the people who stop by every day - on their way home from work, and, yes, many of the older local group are working - are what keep you in business so you can try to expand and develop a new culture over time. Everyone, including the long-time residents, appreciates a place that is clean, free of drugs and stolen goods, and updated, while not dismissing the history of the area and the people who have been there for 20-30-40 years. The biggest difficulty is getting the residents in Pigtown, who are from the university/Camden Crossing/etc to come out and frequent the local businesses. It's much easier and comfortable to go to a bar in Fed. Hill than to come into a "neighborhood" bar and make it your own. That said, the reason we did this is that we are firm believers in the idea that an area is as good as the businesses in it. Economic investment is the basis of social change and neighborhood development.

Reading through the posts...its obviously a hot topic. Had a thought...how about a diner...like Pete's up in the Charles Village/Waverly area. That place does a killing and I know I have driven from Pigtown to get to it on the weekends. Look at how well Blue Moon does. People come from all over Baltimore to get to it and stand in line for an hour. People are probably more inclined to go across town, or at least MLK, for good food. A Blue Moon beer east of MLK tastes the same as a Blue Moon west of MLK. But good food will draw people...and once drawn...then a few nice bars will be more viable. ...My evening's two cents.

We live in Camden Crossing and would definitely support a local pub. In fact, we'd bring in folks from outside the neighborhood for a change of pace.... It's just a matter of time until Pigtown is thriving like Fed hill or Canton. The location has too much to offer...

Carson,

Prove it with your wallet but be considerate liver, very considerate.
A recently buried associate presented in his passing a dramatic example of what happens when you drink and aren't.

Please, please, please come. We need a great neighborhood bar in Pigtown. We're are dead tired of spending our money in Federal Hill. In case you haven't noticed, this area has tons of money to spend and has a great deal of wealth.

Would love a decent bar on that side of MLK. The support is there.

I would love a bar, but would also love a place to get a cup of coffee in the morning. I tried the Etheopian place, but the coffee is sooooo strong. So how about a bar that also serves breakfast?

Do it! I have friends in Pigtown and would love to hit a great spot before walking over to Ravs and O's games. Keep the prices fair, beer cold and celebrate the "Pigness" and I think it would do alright.

Yes, if (and this is a big IF) he can provide something more than just your typical bar experience. I don't know who this guy is or what "He knows what he's doing." means. But he needs to provide an experience that people will, in short, be willing to go to Pigtown for.

People never used to want to go to North Avenue, but now they're going, because places like Joe Squared, Windup etc are providing things they cannot find elsewhere.

Food & music are the two factors to work with here. If he can get fun, delicious food or great music into the space AND get the word out, then people will come. If not, then something like this probably won't make it. Also it would help to get some other bar owners interested in the area, but that's a whole different discussion.

I live on Cross St. and I'm constantly wondering when a great establishment will grace the neighborhood. My block is being rehabed, as are other streets in the vicinity, and I think a new bar would be jammin'. It's a great neighborhood to invest in. If you build it, they will come. Or, at least, I will. And I'll bring friends and spread the word. What's especially intriguing to me is the idea of small business investors and entrepreneurs making their stamp in a society where, as of late, the big corporate dogs and chains are takin' steep hits. Now is a prime time to settle in Pigtown; the neighborhood is only on the "up", the people are nice, the neighborhood security and publicity force (C.O.P.s) do a bang-up job for the area's morale, and I think that's enough reason to take the jump. It's not a scary jump either. The alleged entrepreneur will only land on his feet among a slew of talkative, helpful Balymer folk. And I guarantee folks will make their rounds to keep the streets clean. That's a lovely feature of the neighborhood's collective effort to rebuild. Vote Yes on Prop. Pigtown!

As many have said, a pub fare bar / diner would succeed in Pigtown. Take it back to basics – club sandwiches, burgers, chicken tenders, fries, local brews. I know our household would be there 3-4 times a week if you put Loose Cannon on tap.

Be a laid back owner/bartender – I'd go to the little jazz bar that opened on Paca street but the owner made a big deal about feet on the stool while I was there watching a game once. And don't charge some random amount for a beer – he wanted $4.07. WTF?

And then there's Sobo Sports playing 8 games a Saturday on 5 separate fields at Carroll Park every weekend in the fall and spring. WHY are all their bars in Federal Hill? Get on their sponsorship roster, support the specials, and let the teams play flip cup Saturday afternoons and you'll pull in hundreds of people a weekend.

Kooza / Cirque du Soleil is down the street for the next month – where are those crowds going to go? Pigtown has enough local traffic as well as event-based traffic that a bar prepared to be a BAR not a vegetarian restaurant or uptight jazz spot would succeed.

Pigtown is in fact a National Register Historic District with many possible historic tax incentives that might benefit a nice renovation project like this. Maybe if one succeeds others with follow.

I think its a great idea! And as far as there not being enough foot traffic, the problem in Pigtown has always and will remain business, business, business! We cannot progress like Fedhill and Fells Pt without attractions and not of the "hooker variety"! I will say that if and when a business person knows what the people want ie the downtown feel you will always have good clientel! It only takes one good and sound business to take this neighborhood and attract more like it, and run the remaining bad element OUT!! So with that I encourage you Mr. nameless to join the ranks of a Pigtownian. lol

MLK Jr Boulevard - does every city have one?

Yes, a nice bar/restaurant would do fantastic here. People that live in the area are dying for a good place to go to.

What we don't want:
*A vegan restaurant in PIGTOWN
*A bar that is rehabbed beautifully only to have 2 tiny TVs and below avg food
*A bar that is "reopened"...but not yet completely renovated, sells Mad Dog 20/20 , provides no tables to sit at....and of course, no food.

People here would flock to an establishment that had nice food and a great beer and wine selection. Many don't want to sit next to a guy that comes to a bar every single day to drink Bud Light or Mad Dog without any food.

No one I know would ever go to that area of the city for a bar/restaurant. Pigtown and the MLK area is not somewhere I, as a female, would venture when it starts to get dark. I understand that people want development, but be real do you think the average big spender that goes to Canton or Fed Hill would risk the trek to Pigtown? I doubt it.

Eco... a few years ago, people wouldn't have ventured to the corner of North Avenue and Howard Street, and yet Joe Squared is doing a good business.

I am a single white professional female, as are many of the commenters I recognize here, and we all live in Pigtown and have managed to stay safe.

As for Canton, can you say Zach Sowers? That's not exactly a crime-free area, not is Fells Point or Federal Hill.

Have you ever even been to Pigtown? We're working very hard to make it a nice place for people to live and spend their money.

Let's see, there's Ridgleys Delight, Hollins, Union Square, Pigtown, and the expansion of UM on this side of the city. I think there are enough people to support a bar/restaurant. Yes, bring a decent place to Pigtown! We do get tired of going over to Fed Hill or battling the traffic to Canton.

For years, the community has been dying for a good place to go. I know some developers have or had plans for a few buildings on Wash Blvd. By the way, there have been community survery specifying what Pigtown wants. The prospective owner should research them. He's on target.

For everyone making comparisons to Fed Hill and Canton, don't forget that this is where these neighborhoods started. At one time, no one would think about living or walking around those areas. Guess what, someone opened a bar, a restaurant, rehabbed homes. Now you know the rest of the story. So now its Pigtown's turn.

God, I hope it's not Ron F!!

I have been a resident of Pigtown for a few years after living in Federal Hill for longer. I would love a place to walk to like I do to go to Quigley's. I would absolutely love a place with good food I can pick up on my home from work that wouldn't be completely unhealthy. I know I would frequent a new place, I have money to spend but I want a nice decent place to go to. I would rather go to a more friendly, fun tavern than the bars in Federal Hill that have become more like nightclubs catering to too young of a clientele (some not even 21). Also, I don't mind the mix of older locals and new residents in a crowd, it makes it more fun and entertaining versus too stuffy of a crowd. I think if you brought a new establishment all would feel more welcome versus encroaching on someone's longtime establishment. However, I must agree with the other folks that you have to know how to run a business and be ready to work through the slow times. That was the problem with some of the places that did fail.....they didn't have the right model and didn't provide consistent food/services.

Hey, Pig Guy. Here's the way it works in Baltimore. If you want to add food to a tavern, you have to jump through hoops at the Board of Health and all of that takes time. And why do you need to judge what people drink - are you saying people who drink Mad Dog 20/20 are inherently beneath you? We also sell plenty of high end drinks, but you'd only know that if you came around and watched things develop. As for opening in stages, sorry, but operating costs are well over the $4000 someone suggested and we can't sit around and wait for all the paperwork to be finalized before we begin. As we said, we're trying to find a good fit for everyone in the neighborhood, and people who come in know we are trying to be as open as possible to what many people in the neighborhood want. We order in any beer anyone asks for, as long as they'll come by to drink it. But, hey, the bar is filled every night with a very nice crowd and maybe if you could deign to get out of your comfort zone, you might meet some really interesting people.

It's Pigtowne with an "e." How dare you defame this classy neighborhood by leaving out the "e."

Having dispensed with that, I now move on to my main thought. A gay bar would be particularly nice.

I've driven through the area every morning and evening for the past 5 years as I commute to and from work...and I've never felt safe just driving thru the neighborhood, especially during the winter when darkness sets in at 5:00pm... safety for workers and patrons should be the #2 goal of the investor right behind developing a profitable establishment.

Please come to Pigtown! As you can see from the comments here, we residents are passionate about our community and eager to patronize businesses close to our homes.

If you are opening a spot in Pigtown it the menu should focus on bacon.

Zaphod, That added "e" is a pretensous affectation to confer that British snob appeal. Go join Pig Guy.

A vegan restaurant may be a great addition the selection of restaurants, the variety would be nice, most places are crap with their vegatable side dish offerings to their meat entrees.

A gay bar is nice if you're trying to play to a niche market. How about attracting all people who live there?

It's funny... everyone who lives in Pigtown is saying it's a safe place and everyone who doesn't live here is scared by it. Reality v. perception?

My send me the potential investors contact info. I will give them a personal guarantee that Barre Circle will hold all of their community association events at the bar. We are dying to support a local business. I would guess the surrounding community associations (Camden Crossing, Roundhouse Square, Ridgley's Delight, and Citizens of Pigtown) would do the same. Additionally, the city runs a number of softball league out of Carroll Park, including an advertising association one that I help run, I'm sure those leagues would be interested in having an official post-game hang out in the neighborhood.

And for anyone who questions Pigtown safety, pull-up Baltimore City's crime map. Roll over Fed Hill, Fells Point, Canton and Pigtown, I think you'll be surprised by which neighborhood has less crime icons on it.

I don't know and have no idea if it would work right now.

I have to admit, I have been fairly impressed with the amount of posts on this topic. I asked Sam and Mr. Twain about this a few weeks ago as I consider leasing a spot on Washington Blvd. The location of the spot is 803-807 Washington Blvd at the corner of Scott Street. At the present moment, no deal has been signed as I still don't know what I am going to do.

The concept of the place would be a restaurant with great food at reasonable price, most entrees under $16 and most apps and sandwiches under $10.

The restaurant would seat up to 100 people and the bar would be a horseshoe shaped bar in front of the kitchen that sat up to 30 persons. No outdoor seating but the front would possible be open but would at least be all glass, I wanted garage doors but Pigtown is still historic. The bar would focus on an extensive draft system, hopefully 20 taps with a decent bottle list. The wine list would be nice but nothing too crazy.

The one thing that I wouldn't have, is specials, meaning no 1/2 this, 2 for that, all u can this, $1 that. It would be a place that wouldn't rush to open, but open when it is ready to serve. If I don't have the money to open it, then it won't open. Drinks would be moderately price and would be the same every day and night.

The draw would of course be the quality of food and of course TV's. Nothing to crazy, like an ESPN zone, but enough to view every game from soccer to football, baseball, to ice hockey, and of course basketball for March Madness.

I am not sure if I would open for lunch, but definitely on the weekend for brunch, no mimosa or bloody mary specials, just an extra egg or slice of cheese to make the food that much better.

No, the place doesn't have a liquor license as of yet, but one would have to applied for and we would have to go in front of SF and ask his permission and hopefully be granted one, of course a 7 day/ 2am license with food restrictions would be what we would be seeking.

I am concerned about the parking, not at the present moment but what will happen is that if I come there will be others that follow. We are doing it to make money, which will raise the property values of everybody's house. I just hope that people recognize this when they can't find a parking spot right away when coming home on a Friday or Saturday night for dinner that at least they will have a great place to go eat that they can walk to.

Ryan-feel free to conact me anytime @ jasonzink@hotmail.com. I actually live less that 100 yards away from this location at the present moment. I am a big fan of sponsoring teams as they can truly help a business.

I have an idea why the coffee shop, Evelyn's, went out of business as I used to frequent there back in the day.

I have read all of the negatives and I understand what I could possibly be getting myself into and this isn't a done deal just yet. I value Mr. Twain's comments as well as everybody else. I have done it twice so far and I think I can do it a third time, hopefully it isn't my ego thinking that I can do it but my knowledge of bars and restaurants. I have asked every bar owner in the area and they all say no, but I do think that once one place goes in, then others will follow. I will be risking a lot.

It is not going to be a "megabar" but it will have a big bar where people feel comfortable going to after work or after school. I will not be catering to the kids as they go to Cross Street Market to hang out with the other kids.

The place is huge but by the time you add the kitchen and storage, it will look a lot smaller. I am hoping to have everything on one floor, to be honest with you, I am not even sure if there is a basement.

Once again this is just a possibility and I asked Sam what he thought and he wanted to make it a topic and like I said, I am very surprised about how many postings there are. It's been two years and I am getting that itch again to open something and Mr. Twain, I got to Pier V just a little bit too late, otherwise this would be a non-topic.

I would like to thank everybody who posted on this topic as I have learned a lot and it does seem to me that people do care in Pigtown. Now it just comes down to, if the price is right. Overhead is everything when it comes to the restaurant/ bar business.

Jason

Haha LGood, yours is by far the best comment so far!

Wow Eco, it sounds like you've spent a lot of time in the area. That expert commentary really added value. Let's see "average big spender from Fed Hill or Canton?" Pigtown is not Manhattan and I doubt Cindy Wolf is looking the proprietor looking to invest. It just so happens that people from all over the city go to Hollins Market to visit Pho and Zella's. But I guess no single white females will go there after dark? If you are going to throw around blanket statements, at least make them somewhat intellegent ones.

Hey everybody: The mystery owner has identified himself and laid out his plans for the bar:

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/midnight_sun/blog/2009/03/more_details_about_the_potenti.html

Stebbin, a gay bar plays to a "niche" market, but a vegan restaurant would be a good general-purpose idea??

Also, how is it that "Pigtowne" is pretentious whilst "Joppa-Town" is more pretentious than "Joppatowne?"

My fiancee and I would definitely walk there. We live near Ostend and Washington and walk to Patrick's, Camden Pub, Pickles, and Zellas/Pho without fearing for our safety. We've been waiting patiently for someplace closer.

After reading the above comments I think it will work . Something with a unique twist. Perhaps a lesbian bar that has a weekly Fortified Wine Tasting and features beer pong tournaments.

j/k

Scratch the beer pong and revive shufflebowl.

A Night At Sid's of Pigtown

She's the Reggie Jackson of Shuffle Bowl!

That is crazy cool, tomato head! The good ole days!

jason,
You need not reinvent the wheel for that location. Look hard at the demographics and crunch the numbers. If they work, then take your successful working model already in place and apply it to Washington Blvd.

This vid is a bit dated (2005) but still worth a look: Transforming Pigtown

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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 erik.maza@baltsun.com. 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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