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November 19, 2009

Banners is a surprisingly great neighborhood bar

banners baltimoreI must admit, I did not have high expectations for Banners (1401 Decatur Street).

Going in, I thought the new Locust Point bar would be another one of those middle-of-the-road neighborhood spots. Boy was I wrong.

When a few friends and I dropped by Banners on a recent Saturday night, it was packed tight with people. I think it must have been somebody's birthday party, which explains the big crowd. 

A middle-aged man who I took to be the owner stood inside near the door, looked us in the eye and shook our hands as we walked in. I don't think I've ever had that happen at a bar before ...

Here's another shocker: Despite all the other people there, the bartenders singled us out and asked us what we wanted right off the bat. They were on their game that night. Well, maybe I should put a little asterisk at the end of that sentence.

When one of my friends ordered a vodka soda, she got a glass filled with vodka and Coke. Hee hee. Rather than protest, she ordered something else.

vodka sodaDraft domestics were only a couple bucks, and came in big glass mugs (the best way to drink beer, methinks).

Inside, Banners looks like your average corner bar. It's long and narrow, with a bar that stretches about halfway back along the left side. A few flat screens are affixed to the wall behind the bar.

There are also some beer signs on the wall, as well as a photo of a young soldier, with, oddly enough, a toilet seat hanging over it. The toilet seat appears to be signed by his family and friends.

Since we were in the middle of a bar crawl, we only stayed for one round. But after seeing how surprisingly welcoming Banners was, I'll definitely be back.

(Top photo by me. Bottom photo by Shankman)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:22 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I was a bit sceptical at first too, but it really is a great bar. Rick and Cheryl and everyone else affiliated with the place are super nice, and really want to make sure their patrons have a good time.

They even have free food occasionally during the week. A few weeks ago, they had free tacos - chicken or beef, hard or soft - and they were fresh and really good. Last week it was free spaghetti and meatballs.

I wish them all the best of luck.

hehehehehe look at that jerk in the picture with his pinky out. what a jerk.

it's worth noting that when we walked in, and it was PACKED (i mean to the gills) i thought for sure...oh great, this is gonna take forever to get a beer. thankfully they haven't subscribed to the "i'll get you your beer when i get around to it" mentality of other places in the city and we all got our beers in about 4 minutes (and there were a lot of us).

not only that, but when i was about 4/5th's done with my beer the bartender gestured to me "hey yah need another one?", to which i sadly had to reply "i wish, but we have to meet some people elsewhere"

this was the type of place that seemed genuinely interested in us sticking around (clientele included) and i'm sure the rest of the night was a blast. old-school baltimore was the vibe i got and i was sad to leave for sure.

Well, that didn't last long...

Banners (ironically, a Firemen's bar) just burned down.

I hope the damage isn't too bad and they can salvage the business.

Banners didn't burn down.

The kitchen caught fire, and the Locust Point fire station was closed... so the damage was much worse than it should have been.

Thanks, Mayor!

We literally saw a couple from the neighborhood freak out and attack a patron (they said it was their nephew) and then leave and could not believe the sudden attack...until the next night... for no apparent reason..I became the target of their sudden vitrioic attack! The owner Rick just stood there oblivious. Be aware that when you enter this bar, you are walking into the Twilight zone! and anything goes here..Was a pleasant place until this crazy assault took place and the owner, Rick, just stood by and did nothing to protect his customers. Very, very, scary. Carry your mace

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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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