« Midnight Sun is also in the motel business | Main | Milan has officially crossed the (intercontinental) line »

January 14, 2010

Introducing ... The Captain's Corner

capt. larryLadies and gentlemen, a warm round of applause, please, for Midnight Sun's new guest columnist, Capt. Larry (pictured)!

That's right -- Capt. Larry, the namesake of Capt. Larry's. His real name is Capt. Larry Gross, but let's just call him Capt. Larry or The Captain from now on.

This is the first in a four- or five-part series of weekly essays from The Captain, who sold his bar several years ago (the new owners kept the name).

After abdicating Baltimore for sunny Key West, Fla., Capt. Larry packed up and moved to the hills of West Virginia, where he currently resides. He is 64, a Vietnam veteran and former private detective, government operative and member of the Baltimore Police.

In the coming weeks, Capt. Larry will share some of the wild and crazy stuff that went on at his bar back in the day (aka, the '90s). They include (but are not limited to) the in-house ear-piercings, drunk cage and the true story behind all the bullet holes in the ceiling.

And now, let's turn it over to The Captain, who will give us a little background on the bar. The helm is yours, Captain ...


Capt. Larry's used to be called Pete's American Bar. That particular building was built sometime in the late 1800s. It opened as a candy store, and carries three addresses. It was a little corner store and then two apartments. Pete and his brother bought it and opened it right after Prohibition ended.

I found it unusual, because when I researched it at the liquor board when I applied for my license, I found it was opened on Oct. 10. My birthday's on Oct. 10 -- of course not that same year.

Anyway, when I was a child, my parents would dress up to go to mass every Sunday. After mass, they would go to Pete's American Bar. All us kids would go there, and we'd be in the back room and miss Edna (Pete's wife) would fix us french fries and gravy.

Then, Pete died. The place stayed vacant for about eight years. I was a Baltimore City police officer when he died, I think. Then I had a detective agency, and did a few things after that. I broke up with the second wife and gave her the business I had then. I had to do something, so I went and saw Miss Edna -- Mr. Pete's widow -- and said, 'What the hell are you going to do with the place?'  She said, 'Well, I've got it up for sale.'

To make a long story short, I bought the place.

That bar had the wackiest (bleep) you ever wanted to see. My past is as a government operator and Baltimore City cop and private detective, so those types came into the bar. It was a mixture of Navy Seals, FBI, CIA -- it went from the bottom to the top. It got kind of crazy. It was a release for those kinds of people.

The typical life of a cop is, you're hated at home, the department hates you and the public hates you. You need a release. It's kind of wacky, but that's how that place went.

Stay tuned for next week's column, when Capt. Larry will tell us why there are bullet holes in the ceiling.

(Photo courtesy of The Captain)

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:58 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bar stories


Welcome aboard, Cap'n.

heh, "gangplank". kills me.

This could be epic....


This is going to be redonkulous

you rule this rules


Can't wait to read more!

(Whatever happened to the parrot? I think his name was Joe.)

That was really interesting. But too short! Let's make it a 20 part series.

Wait til he tells the stories about his DAD!

Hey Capin', please smile.

More please, Cap'n.

I, for one, welcome our new grizzled overlord!

I feel like The Captain is our new protector of this blog. If you mess with us, you are messing with The Captain!

I, for one, welcome our new grizzled overlord!

And now I have Led Zep's Immigrant song in my head (especially since he seems to be from the Land of the Ice and Snow).

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "g" in the field below:
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.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected