Brannan's Pub is a hidden gem
Last night, me and a posse of Midnight Sons (that's our biker gang name) squealed wheels from downtown up to Hamilton, looking for a little Harford Road bar crawl action.
One of the things I love about Baltimore is, when you start looking for a little craziness, most times you're gonna find it.
We found our craziness at Brannan's Pub (5516 Harford Road).
Sounds Irish, doesn't it? The green sign out front has a four-leaf clover on it, but the Irishness ends at the door. Nothing inside has even the slightest Irish tint. Heck -- Brannan's doesn't even have Guinness on tap. Take that, Lucky! ...
Brannan's had a big cooler of bottled beers, most -- if not all -- of which were $2, the bartender told me. A few taps offered Yuengling, Budweiser American Ale, Coors Light and such. I was about to order a bottle when the bartender hit me with some knowledge: All the drafts are $1.25. Period. Oh my.
"It's pretty cheap," he said.
The truth never sounded so delicious. I couldn't help but order a draft Yuengling, and my mouth started watering when the bartender whipped out a frozen mug, filled it up and set it on the U-shaped bar in front of me.
I gave the mug a hefty lift, and shockingly, almost splashed beer on my face. The mug was unexpectedly light. Then I realized it was a plastic mug. Brannan's freezes plastic mugs. I love it!
Brannan's is kind of bright inside, due to all the neon lights. Blueish purple neon lights shine down from above the bar, and various neon beer signs adorn the walls. You can get a Dante's pepperoni pizza for $5. There's a full-sized fridge behind the bar (presumably where they keep the pizza), and on it, there's a sticker which reads "If it smells like fish, eat it." No comment.
Perhaps the best part about Brannan's was the karaoke. It was run by Jackie Joyce Glenn, a woman who fronts the hair metal group Scarlet Angel. Jackie can banshee wail with the best of them. What really surprised me was the quality of the other singers. They were great. I mean, really great. I'm not such a bad singer myself, but I wasn't about to go toe-to-toe with some of them. Midnight Son Lieutenant Shankman got up and sang "So Happy Together" by the Turtles, though. It was sweet.
The best part of the best part about Brannan's was when a middle-aged dude in a body-length fur coat, fedora and suit crooned through Engelbert Humperdinck's "After the Loving." He had a wireless mike (why don't more karaoke bars have these?), and strolled around the bar, serenading the crowd. That's what I call a smooooooth operator.
Alas, due to the nature of our expedition, we had to move on to the next spot. But I don't know if any of the other bars we hit lived up to Brannan's. As they might say in "The Big Lebowski":
And they say he ran awaaaaaaay ... BRANNAN'S!
(Photo by me)