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February 27, 2010

Remembering Friends, which closes tonight

friendsFriends (1634 Aliceanna St.) has never let me down.

In my five years of drinking and debauchery in Charm City bars, Friends has always been there for me. It's been one of the few places where I've always been able to relax -- to never worry about getting a table, if I want one, or a beer.

As my colleague Jacques Kelly once said, don't hesitate to patronize your favorite restaurants and bars, because no matter how great they are, they're not going to be around forever.

After something like 10 years in Fells Point (this is just a rough estimate), Friends is closing. The last hurrah is tonight, and you can bet it's going to get crazy.

My friend Evan and I stopped by Friends for a nightcap Thursday, to have one last glass of beer and enjoy Friends' lo-fi charm.

If Hampden has always long been a haven for Baltimore's hipsters and art students, Fells Point has had the punks. The real rockers. The old school tattooed set. And for years, Friends has been their hangout ...

In the '90s, when Reptilian Records called Fells Point home, owner Chris X and his crew would be at Friends. Members of The Jennifers and The Payola Reserve hung out there.

I've never seen Friends stuffed to the gills. At most, it was only ever comfortably full.

But no post about Friends can be complete without mentioning the jukebox, which was one of the best in the city. I'm not even going to list all the great tunes on there, but it was almost impossible to go wrong. You could pick something blindfolded and get the whole place going.

When I went out drinking in Fells Point, Friends was my insurance policy. If every other bar was jammed, I could go to Friends. After tonight, I won't be able to, anymore. With Friends closing, we're losing another piece of Baltimore's storied bar scene.

Thanks, Friends, for everything.

(Baltimore Sun archive photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:33 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Hampden hasn't always been a haven for hipsters and art students. More like a haven for teenage mothers and high school dropouts.

The Chop might have to squeeze in a Friends run before last call tonight. Thanks for the heads up.

Went to Friends last night for one last hurrah. I'm really sad to see this place go, I've been going there for many years and like everyone else seems to say, it never let me down. Goodbye, Friends!

And I will not be patronizing the generic sushi joint that will apparently be taking its place.

Going tonight to pay my respects. Like any wake, let it be a celebration of a "life", albeit bittersweet. Oh Friends, the stories I can't tell in a public forum. Always the backdrop to many of my favorite memories.

So, so sad! Friends has been my favorite bar for 10 years now. I've met soooo many kick ass people there that I'll be sure to keep in touch with. I'm sure we'll find another place to all call home, considering some of us were at friends more than our actual homes. I stopped by on Tuesday and briefly on Wednesday and would love to go tonight for the last night but my liver can't handle it, so everyone... have a drink for me and I'll see you at the next place!

Sad news. Friends was one of my favorite bars, and that chicken sandwich was awesome.

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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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