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July 30, 2010

Alewife to replace Lucy's Irish Pub

A high-end beer hall with New American cuisine is set to replace Lucy's Irish Pub on the West Side, according to owner Daniel Lanigan.

Alewife, which could open as early as Sept. 5, will have 40 drafts and 100 bottles, as well as craft cocktails and a wine program, Lanigan said.

"We're going to try to be an institution in Baltimore," he said. "I think the West Side needs a good restaurant/bar. That part of town is an opportunity for revitalization, and we want to be a part of that for a long time." ...

Aside from a few cosmetic changes, Lanigan plans to keep the large space mostly the same.

"We're going to modernize it a little bit," he said. "It's a nice looking couple rooms as it is."

Lanigan owns a number of other beer halls, including Lord Hobo in Cambridge, Mass. and Other Side Cafe in Boston. A self-professed beer guy, he said the challenge of running a large space drew him to Baltimore.

Alewife won't offer an obscene amount of beers because it doesn't have to, Lanigan said. What matters is the quality.

"There aren’t 2,000 good beers in the world," he said. "There's not even 1,000. We sell 100 bottles of beer because we think that’s the best 100 bottles you can get. That philosophy dictates how we do our menu."

Formerly Maggie Moore's, the space at 21 N. Eutaw St. became Lucy's in 2008 before closing last year.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:04 PM | | Comments (40)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, News
        

Comments

Is this a cursed spot for bars, I wonder?

Cursed? There's only been one bar there before...Maggie Moore's had multiple owners, one of whom left and owned the name, hence changing to Lucy's.

another arrogant stupid fool from out of town has been sold a bill of goods .

I give him 6 to 9 months ; 12 to 15 should he find others such as himself to invest .

There is no shortage of suckers looking for restaurant scams . They come out and see a crowd on Fri & Sat . They forget about the other 5 days of the week. If the $15 G rent does not put him under then BGE will


You may well be right CRABS. There was an article about Alewife on Beer Advocate a couple weeks back, and there seems to be little doubt the new owner knows a lot about beer and running a beer bar. However, what he doesn't know is Baltimore, and I confess I have my doubts about the current location as well. It's not all that far from the pub Max's was running near the stadium, and if they couldn't make a go of it with their multi-tap establishment, you have to wonder how well this place will do.

I wish the new owner nothing but success, and here's hoping for the best, but...

Actually at that location I think the problem ia a lack of Friday and Saturday business. The Hippodrome doesn't bring in consistant business. About the only customers base you can draw on is happy hour folks from local offices. Which is not a good way to make money because they tend to have a drink or two then go home.

I don't know about Lord Hobo, but the Other Side Cafe is a dingy, hipster hangout with mediocre food. The saving grace is the beer list. I hope Mr. Lanigan has higher expectations for this place.

As a beer lover, I will surely stop in; however, for advocates of the malted elixir, such as myself, the Alewife it must compete with the likes of Max's, Pratt Street and Mahaffey's. Good Luck, though.

While I agree about the spot being a gamble, I can comment that Lanigan knows what he is doing in regards to opening up this kind of establishment. Lord Hobo in Cambridge was one of the most anticipated openings I've read about in the Mass. area for both beer geeks, wine lovers and cocktail nerds. Lord Hobo also isn't located in the most popular stretch of Cambridge. There really is nothing else around except Craigie on Main (amazing restaurant) and Green St Grill yet he is doing great at that location.

I wish him all the best and look forward to his opening.

REVISED OPINION

one year max , if he has to depend on any of the other 7 persons commenting for his livelihood , reduce it to 6 months.

articles written about restaurants by critics tend to over glorify the establishment and the owner talents .

look how many places elizabeth large has hailed as the second coming which barely saw a year of sunsets

I wish him well however he is doomed to failure.

The area is doomed at present- Hippodrome patrons don't hang around because of the crazies from the stadium and the locals by Lexington. The sportsfans don't come up past Lombard. WOW didnt last a year next to Magies/Lucy's and they tried every demographic. Bedrock.. O'Malley's private parties couldn't even keep Lucy's afloat. Lexington Market makes gabillions in drugs, food, and alcohol- that's the only thing that can survive down there.

Lets support local business instead of trashing it before it opens!

CRABS your a very bitter person!

"We're going to try to be an institution in Baltimore," he said.

Icarus, where are you going, Icarus?!?

Openning any business is a crap shoot.
Apparently this guy knows his product and has succeed in Mass. which suggest, if hasn't had mere dumb luck at choosing location, he knows how to successfully advertise and promote his other businesses.

As long as he doesn't get a case CRAB naysayers predicting doom and actively staying away. He seems to have a better than average chance of repeating the success he's had elsewhere previously.

"CRABS" = "REALIST" not a bitter person

based upon 40 years of experience in the Baltimore City food business scene

How many payroll checks have been signed on the front by MK & GDA ,, I bet they have goverment jobs .

or they could be just clueless "young adults" or

old clueless adults

the soon to be owner of "Alewife" awaits your patronage if you do live to far out in the county

good luck to him


Was talking to a buddy of mine at work, who is also into good beer. While he was curious about this place, and is willing to give it a try, he made a comment that pretty much mirrors my own.

“If I can't park cheap/safe/close, I can go somewhere else.”

Close isn't all that important to me (I regularly drive from my home in Owings Mills to Max's and Mahaffey's), but the other two prerequisites are.

Fact is, we do have options in Baltimore when it comes to finding good beer. So unless Alewife can work something out so that parking isn't a complete nightmare for their patrons, I don't think they're going to see a lot of business from people who don't live nearby. Time will tell what effect that will have on their abilty to stay in business.

I agree with John M.

Baltimore: The city that tows

Baltimore tried so hard to get the soccer match this past weekend as they are doing the same for the auto race next year. It tells people that they want them just so when they come down they ticket their cars and then tow them because it's a stadium event.

It's bad enough that you give them a $77 ticket for a stadium event then you call a tow truck company right away to make them pay a couple of hundred dollars more while they are watching the soccer match.

And if you don't get a ticket or towed, somebody will hopefully not break into your car and steal whatever is in plain sight.

Stay classy Baltimore!

@Anon -- Over the course of five years living in South Baltimore, I've seen my share of people scratching their heads, trying to figure out the parking signs. The worst part is, you have no idea if there's a stadium event or not, unless you have an iPhone and can check it real quick. I can't imagine how much money the city makes off it.

Towing in this city is government sanctioned organized crime. It's ridiculous.

Why are they naming it after a fish, anyway?

@AL E Wife -- I asked Daniel about it, but he said there was no significance to the name.

My opinion comes solely as a consumer but I will say this. I was aware of Lucy's and never went there. Alewife is a little more likely to draw my attention because I like good beer, but it has to be a destination. There's no other reason for me to go to that area of the city. Its too far to walk from the stadium and not really near anything and parking will be tough. So if I'm going to go there, its solely to go to Alewife. We'll see if its that good.

Thanks Sam - This is the best news of the Summer - I can't wait for it to open. You can't compare this facility with WOW or Bedrock. Those bars reinvented themselves too often to establish loyal patrons. (WOW had great food but the worst bartenders in the city - its closing was no surprise.) Alewife - be good and consistent with your customers and we'll be there to support you!

he said there was no significance to the name.

Funny way to name a business. Still better than some.

Wiki-wiki says it is bait-fish for the lobster industry. Read into that what you like.

Still better than some.

I don't know. I would have gone with Alewifey's Alewife House.

Xtreme Alewife Arts & Entertainment Center!

Um...there's plenty of parking around there. There are two public garages pretty close, and if there's not a show at the Hippodrome, there's plenty of street parking.

Thanks for pointing that out BC. It is adjacent to a public parking garage and 4 blocks from the stadium - in a perfectly safe area.

I agree with what Balt Res said about WOW and their bartenders. The service was terrible, absolutely terrible.

As for Bedrock, well it was a great place in the beginning but then you never knew what to expect when you went there. Was there going to be a band or was there going to be a DJ. Was it going to be free or was there going to be a cover charge. Could you chill and play pool and the other games downstairs or would you be waiting in line to get in or to order a drink…and so on. You just never knew what was going on on any give night.

I'm definitely looking very forward to checking this new place out.

People obsessed with city parking annoy me- learn it- get over it. Otherwise if I were a business owner I wouldn't want you suburban "I gotta pay for parking and READ signs" folks in my establishment anyways. "What does market price mean?- dunno I'm from the county...?


Glad to hear you don't need my business Tif. I guess downtown Baltimore is just unusally properous, at least as compared to other cities I've visited.

In some of the other unfortunate large cities I've been to, let me tell you just how pathetic the situation is. Downtown garages offer discounts on the weekends, and most businesses validate parking for the first hour or two. What a concept, huh?

The last time I went to PSAH during world cup, I parked in one of those downtown garages. Cost me close to $20 for the couple of hours I was there. Have to say I was kind of struck by how many folks were taking advantage of the great parking deals downtown on the weekend there. Surprise, surprise, the garage was practically empty (maybe there were 15 or 20 cars... maybe). Guess most folks must feel the same way I do/did... there are other places I can go and easily replicate my experience at PSAH, and I won't have to pay an arm and a leg for parking. Not that it matters... because I now see that downtown Baltimore doesn't need my business anyway. I'm happy that's the case.

What and where is "WOW"

I am going through all of my acronyms and can't place it.

@JohnM. I totally agree with you. Unfortunately this city is not the most inviting city in the states.

"come to Baltimore and either pay $20 for parking or we will tow you"

z man,

WOW is a PvE realm only accessed from your parents basement.

@Jason Z -- Heh, while I love Hakkar's answer, the correct answer is, it was World of Wings, a short-lived wingery near the Hippodrome.

dungeons and dragons anyone???

Since when are garages and lots the only place to park a car in the city? Me thinks folks don't quite understand city living

One strike against it is that there's nothing really nearby, except for the Hippodrome. If Bedrock was still open and then Alewife and another place (perhaps another live music venue?) were to open all within a block or so, I've got to believe then that concentration of options will appeal to people. Not specifically for Alewife (nowdays good beer is available in a lot of places), but as a part of options in a neighborhood.

Also, talk of PSAH, I can verify that a couple of times this summer I headed there on a weekend without checking the O's schedule. When present with $10+ parking, I moved on to other options. Have the O's moved from an economic stimulus to an economic drag?

You know, there's an answer to all these parking "nightmares" alleged by the suburbanites:

It's called the MTA........

And, yes, I've ridden the MTA buses and Light Rail to many a dinner or beer event, and lived to tell the tale. Don't believe all those suburbanites that tell you that the buses and Light Rail are jammed full of Molotov-cocktail0-throwing, raping, thieving thugs bent on world destruction.

The location is the only factor here, and always will be. Even if they have a great product. The hippodrome does draw business but it cannot be relied on, it's not consistent. And, the crowd changes with the shows. Maggie's and lucy's had a great product and look what happened. The hospitals and university are no help either. The neighborhood sucks, that's the bottom line. Don't get me wrong, I am definately gonna give alewife a shot and wish them the best, but this is Baltimore folks.
What do I know, I'm just a 32 year old white guy...

I think the difference here as far as location is concerned (and even with Max's, Mahaffey's, etc.), a high end beer bar is more of a destination than an irish bar/restaurant would be. I think, if done right, they should be able to overcome the location factor. Especially with events like this:
http://beerinbaltimore.com/?p=4041

Alewife needs to have a strong identity and aggressively market itself as a destination from day one. Or else they won't last long, even with otherwise good management.

During the summers, when the Hippodrome is shut-down and the nearby campuses are nearly empty, the neighborhood is a ghost town. That's why Maggie Moore's/Lucy's failed as a neighborhood pub. There isn't really a community in the area that is big enough & social enough to support such a large business.

The costs to heat & cool the building alone must be massive!

I hope Alewife takes off...then maybe when Everyman finally opens it could encourage a bit more investment in the area, and hopefully some more business can open, thrive, and it could be a neighborhood worth hanging out in.

Until then it is a risky location for a restaurant or bar. Good luck Alewife! I'll certainly be checking you out, at least.

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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 erik.maza@baltsun.com. 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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