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September 21, 2009

What would you want in a new upper Fells Point bar?

Here's a question you don't get asked enough: If you could pick what kind of bar you'd like to see open in Upper Fells Point, what would you say?

Would you want an intimate, low key spot like a Liam's Pint-Size Pub or an Idle Hour? Or would you rather have a sports bar with a few flat screens? Or something in between? Here's a chance to have a say in what a new bar looks and feels like ...

A few days ago, I got this e-mail, from a reader and potential bar owner named Courtney:

I am trying to open a bar in upper fells point. I would like input from your readers as to what they want in a new bar.

Before you respond, take the neighborhood into consideration. Upper Fells has a lot of Latin American spots, and also a fair amount of Hopkins med students, urban pioneers and longtime residents. 

All that taken into consideration, what kind of a new bar would you want to see there?

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:44 AM | | Comments (27)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Serve good beer (lots of variety)... and they will come!

I've gotta be honest - I live in Upper Fells, and I'm not sure you could pay me to go to a bar in Upper Fells. Terrible area to open a new bar. The neighbors will ruin it like they've ruined the rest of the neighborhood, and it will quickly turn into another Honey's Lounge.

A bar that only (or you know about 95%) serves canned beer. From as low shelf as you can get for really reasonable pricing to high as you can get in a can (those huge Sappros, etc...)

Serving only traditional munchies with a spin. i.e. mini corn dogs, duck confit nachoes, etc...

local live music is always a plus too.

This is very important: No groups of non patrons gathered outside. It's probably impossible in Upper Fells.. but it makes you want to walk to your car, not into the bar. Good ambient lighting outside as well; which may not be easy to do, depending.

As a former resident of the Washington Hill neighborhood and a current resident of Riverside - I would put my vote towards a bar in the vein of Idle Hour. Too many bars try to woo the frat boys up Broadway and very few try to pull in the early 30s and up crowd.

The only bar I enjoyed in Upper Fells was Arcos and despite its huge screens in the bar, it is still a place where you can sit and have a quiet conversation.

"A bar that only..serves canned beer.

Hire endowed ladies as the barmaids and call it "Cans".

Anything, please, anything but a Sports Bar. I know for me what makes a bar great is the music. A good jukebox always brings me in the door.

Check out Growlers, Baltimore Taphouse, on Fleet Street. Also check out One Eyed Mikes as well as Idle Hour.

I am a big fan of draft beer, hopefully the place can support between 15-20 draft lines.

Do you have a kitchen?

Best of luck.

Someplace with it own parking lot. Oh yeah forget it!

Anything but Greene Turtle/Max's clone that turns into a fratboy haven.


In Upper Fells you would need to provide off duty police officers to walk you to and from your car and have a pat down at the front door. After that is accomplished you could focus on the interior elements.

1) No TV's
2) An eclectic jukebox like the Mt. Royal Tavern has and the Club Charles USED to have before it became garbage.
3) A parking lot
4) No stupid name
5) None of that retarded "closing early because it's slow" BS.


Here's my way of thinking: They already have too many bars to the south serving excellent beer lists, and too many bars to the south serving drunken frat boys and sports fans on weekends. So to heck with those demographics. Fells Point also has too many upscale, high-end eateries. Enough of that.

What's Upper Fells famous for? Rotisserie chicken. To die for. Peruvian, Salvadorean, whatever.

Give us a place that does not only heavenly rotisserie chicken, but also other stuff on the spit--lamb, gyros, etc. Merge that with an upper-end drink list--doesn't have to be beer, but good beer is one of the ways to go. A nice place to sit and drink while still enjoying that good food as bar food and/or sit-down food.

Or did I just describe El Trovador with a bar attached?

Name it "Unsure" and be a Tampa Bay Rays/Buffalo Bills bar. Watch the cash roll in.

Hahaha Abject Disaster wins comment of the week and it's only Monday.

ADM, hate to break it to ya, but that ain't's Cuy.

[looks at online pictures of cuy........ compares to what he's eaten at Peruvian takeout in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fells Point.....]


I think you can't go wrong with another Butts and Betty's.

How about anything that is opposite of the Horse. Amazing how new owners can ghetto out a bar. Some old bartenders are still there (thank God) but the new kids are a joke and the clientele is not safe to be around.

Fells needs another bar where you can sing, laugh and drink with your friends. Here's hoping that happens.

Thanks everyone for the info! It's been helpful. Keep the ideas rolling. Your input is important to me:)

The Cans concept (sans the well endowed waitresses, so half of it) is alive and well in Charlotte, Chicago and Milwaukee.
I'm not a shill!

I just went to the Cans nightclub website and perused the PHOTOS section of the patrons. I must ask: How many pictures of guys making that "whatever it is stupid sign" with their hand can you possibly post? When is that "whatever it is supposed to mean" hand symbol going to finally die? It really makes a guy look like a retard.

The Red Derby in DC serves only canned beer. Quality ranges from cheap beer like Schlitz and Natty Boh to some pretty good stuff like Ten Fiddy, Sea Hag, and Wittekerke. Sounds similar to what Elena proposed above. No live music, but they do let you plug in your ipod to their speakers and a play 10-15 minute playlist.

But I think if you name a bar "Cans" you shouldn't have any canned beer for at least a couple months after you open.

I'd recommend a good place for live music. Wyatt's 1614 lounge used to have a pretty cool vibe for local bands looking to play out in front of their friends - another place like that would be good...

A lot of hot girls without the typical accompanying D-bags.

In other words, a place for my girlfriend to go without me.

A bar with:

-good beer on tap
-the color palette of Red Star
-vegan & vegetarian food only
-eco-friendly/progressive components, e.g. recycling, recycled construction materials or furniture)

There are places like this in Portland, & they're totally tubular.

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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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