The beginning of this year's Dundalk Bar Crawl: Gattus, Gray Manor Inn, Manny's
Last year, we eased into the Dundalk Bar Crawl by starting at the Hard Yacht Cafe (neutral ground).
This time, there was no holding back.
We plunged headfirst into Dundalk's rich dive bar scene, starting with Gattus Bar (617 S. North Point Road, Dundalk). Gattus is straight-up old school -- wood paneling lines the walls inside, and the sign out front still has Baltimore Colts horseshoes on it.
Same goes for the prices: Five Budweiser bottles cost $7.50. These weren't happy hour prices, either -- this was at 9 p.m. on a Friday.
The bartender asked us all for our IDs, which would be a recurring theme for the night. Just about everywhere we went, the bartenders thought we were a pack of police cadets looking to bust them for serving alcohol to minors. Being 25 (and one of the youngest guys in the group), I couldn't help but chuckle ...
Another recurring theme: At just about all our stops, the regulars were warm and welcoming. A few times, they came over, shook our hands, introduced themselves and struck up conversations with us. Still, yet another recurring theme: Just about every bar had a horseshoe-shaped bar, which I love. So much more inviting than a long, narrow rowhouse bar.
Our second stop was the Gray Manor Inn -- perhaps the least welcoming spot on our tour. It wasn't like a record scratched and everybody stopped what they were doing to look at us when we walked in. But we just got the feeling that we weren't welcome there.
We asked for two pitchers of beer, and again, the bartender asked us all for our IDs. Then he served us two of the smallest pitchers I've ever seen.
Each pitcher came with a few 8-ounce beer glasses, like you see in black-and-white movies. The only other place I've seen such small cups is at the Venice Tavern in Highlandtown.
Sure, each "pitcher" only cost $4. But when we looked around the room, we were the only suckers with small glasses. Everybody else had normal-sized pint glasses. Hmph.
The DJ was all over the place, from Fleetwood Mac to Santana to George Michael to some 1950s tune. The Gray Manor has one of the largest shuffleboard tables I've ever seen (pictured). It looked old but was well-maintained.
In order to get the pucks, we had to give an ID to the bartender as a deposit. We did, but we weren't there long. After downing our two tiny pitchers (it didn't take long), we were outta there.
Next up was Manny's. I'd love to give you the address, but I can't even find this place on Google. But it's right across the street from the Left Field Pub (3813 N. Point Blvd., Dundalk). Manny's was a ghost bar.
Nobody was there. It was us and the bartender, a middle-aged woman. Manny's had Formstone on the outside and inside. The only other place I've seen that is Rafter's (620 E. Fort Ave.). Manny's had this Tom Waits meets Charles Bukowski, kinda ominous vibe. A big photo collage with a drawing of an older gentleman smoking a stoagie (Manny, I presume), hung on a wall.
When the bartender shut the front door, we thought it was going to be a scene out of From Dust Til Dawn. The six of us finished our bottles of beer ($2 each) and bounced ASAP.
Stay tuned for part two, when we witness a true blue country bar and one of the best food and drink deals ever ...
(Photos by Andy Shankman)