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March 26, 2010

Review: The Cat's Eye Pub is same as it ever was

this is the cat's eye pub. please take a step back, sir.Today's nightlife column is about the Cat's Eye Pub, one of those institutions that helps define Fells Point.

It's been there for decades. But the bar's future was kind of up in the air when its longtime owner, Tony Cushing, died two years ago.

Cushing's son, also named Tony, took over as a co-owner. Since then, he's kept the Cat's Eye's old school charm while making a few much-needed updates.

He tripled the size of the keg room, hand-washed the big mural inside, and refinished and reinforced the old wood floors. He upped the number of taps from 32 to 41, too.

Young Tony's most ambitious project is up next: Opening the second floor. It will take a new stairwell and some changes to the floor up there, but he plans to have it ready in the next year.

Tony wants to cut out a section of the upstairs floor above the stage and replace it with plexiglass so folks up there can peer down at the band below ...

When finished, the upstairs will also have French doors, which open up onto a small patio. 

The crazy thing is, Tony is only 26. He's had to grow up fast. Can you imagine inheriting a pub and making all these restorations in your early 20s? I mean, I can, sure, but it's still impressive.

Two years later, the Cat's Eye still has the same feel and charm it always did. If anything, it's better now. Good work, Tony.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:22 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


wow - I didn't realize the Cat's Eye had been improved so much. I'll have to check it out.

Cats Eye is ALWAYS a good time....never know what kind of crowd or band your gonna stumble in on

AHH, Sunday afternoons at the Cat's Eye, it's been quite awhile but it was always a great time, definitely the most diverse crowd and great music. maybe it will rain Sunday--always a great excuse to hang out.

If I may hijack this thread for a personal story....

Some of my earliest childhood memories are at the Cat's Eye Pub. No, not in a high chair at the bar. Not quite.

When I was little and living in the city , my mom worked and my dad... was a blues musician. He did a lot of the work raising me and my brother for the first few years of our lives before our parents split. Because it's not like he was doing all that much during the day.

He played Fells Point a lot. He was a regular down at Cat's Eye Pub, playing Delta and Piedmont style blues, the same kind of music he played until the day he died. Every now and then, my little brother and I would tag along. When he was in town after my parents split, we would go down there and hang out as he met up with old buddies.

When he passed away in 2008, I brought some of his ashes back with me from Los Angeles. My brother and I spread them... wow, just over a year ago exactly... on his birthday, off the pier at Fells Point, not far from his old stomping grounds at Cat's Eye. We figured that's what he would have wanted.

Going back and listening to the music he left behind carries so much weight. Emotionally, sure. But I close my eyes and I can almost imagine the smoky atmosphere of that place and the music and the sheer heart he put into it all. It's like he never left. And from Sam's column, it's good to know the place is still the same. I'd love to go back sometime, when I get the chance.

Thanks for sharing the story, Tyler.

Is Kevin Sottak still playing there? I miss my former co-worker!

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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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