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September 16, 2010

Alewife opens today in West side, testing neighborhood's business health again

A new beer hall will open today in the West side, the city's most punishing neighborhood for new bars.

Alewife, as the bar will be called, will be replace Lucy's Irish Pub -- nee Maggie Moore's -- which was one of a handful of nightlife businesses to shutter last year.

Alewife's success or failure could be a barometer of the area's ability to foster new business.

In July, owner Daniel Lanigan said he was opening the place because "that part of town is an opportunity for revitalization, and we want to be a part of that for a long time."

The West side was in fact primed for development; city officials promoted it as the next Station North. But so far it's nothing but a graveyard of forgotten nightclubs, with most shuttered businesses never making it past their toddler years.

A World of Wings cafe closed there last year. Bedrock opened in 2006 and closed in 2008. And Maggie Moore's opened in 2005, and closed three years later. Lucy's Irish Pub replaced it then, but was out of business by last year.

Lanigan might punt his way forward; he already owns three other beer bars in Massachusetts. But Alewife's soft opening is already a week later than he'd said in July

The bar will be located at the intersection of North Eutaw and West Fayette streets, across from the historic Hippodrome theater.  The building is said to date from the mid 1800s. Lanigan said he's only made cosmetic changes to the interior and facade from the way it was as Lucy's.

The opening is geared towards getting Alewife ready for Baltimore Beer Week and the Baltimore Beer Festival in October.  He's also added a New American cuisine, 40 taps, 100 wines bottled beers, and a wine list. 

Doors open at 4 p.m. Alewife is at 21 N Eutaw Street.

Photo: Beer in Baltimore


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Posted by Erik Maza at 8:21 AM | | Comments (54)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

that's Fayette street. lafayette is way North

Tip for newcomers: don't try to pronounce Fayette Street like Lafayette without the la. Here it's FAY-et. Don't get me started on Thames Street.

dude you should change the article. someone once asked me for directions to Lafayette street and I sent them to the hood when they really wanted to go downtown

It's the west side of downtown Baltimore NOT West Baltimore.

dude you should change the article. someone once asked me for directions to Lafayette street and I sent them to the hood when they really wanted to go downtown

Downtown west side, not West Baltimore. HUGE difference. Also, I would not consider an entire quarter of the city a "neighborhood."

I know Eric's new to Baltimore, but his copy editor shouldn't be! The number of geographical mistakes in this story is laughable! And once they are pointed out by readers (see comments above) why are the mistakes not fixed?

fixed

Wow, I wasn't a fan of Sessa but the writing here is just atrocious.

Also shouldn't you let the new guy explore the city for a month or so before he starts writing articles and misspellings streets and misplacing neighborhoods. Come on Baltimore Sun!

What local beers do they have on tap?
I looked at their website and they seem to

Can you please confirm they will have 100 wines. It's my understanding they will have 40 taps and 100 bottles OF BEER. Alewife, and Mr. Lanigan, is beer focused. I don't think they meant 100 bottles of wine.

Regardless of the shotty reporting, I'm glad to have a beer bar on the westside. It will be nice to have a convenient after work happy hour place with great beer.


After looking over the website, I have a couple of thoughts. While the menu looks pretty interesting, it's hard not to reach the conclusion that prices are on the high side. Beer prices aren't listed, but you have to figure pints are probably going to be in $5 range for local/regional craft brew, with comparably higher prices for imports. I know they have valet parking, but apparently it's not complimentary.

So it sounds to me as if an evening here could be decidedly on the spendy side. I just have to wonder.... is that part of town going to support that kind of thing?

100 wines. haha.

40 taps and 100 bottles.

I assume that means bottles of wine. Yeah gotta be, I'll print it. Assuming is what you do when your too cool to ask a followup question. Just look at me, I am just too frigin cool!

Besides all the errors, this entire post is just written so poorly. Not saying I could do better, but I am not a paid journalist, just someone who expects more out of the biggest newspaper in town when they so desperatley need to stay viable.

According to the very nice folks who originally ran Maggie Moore's, there were some issues with the landlord that created problems with the business. Also, there was a lot of money sunk into renovating the space - which is pretty spectacular. Often, high build-out costs hamper a businesses viability before it even opens. Hopefully, Alewife is in a better financial spot.

As for Bedrock, that place couldn't figure out what it wanted to be and the service there was poor.

I think the neighborhood can support the right bar/pub. Thousands of people live near there, it's across from the Hippodrome, the Everyman is opening right behind it in a year or so, and it's an easy walk to the ballpark.

I know where he'll succeed- RedSox games...

Another twitter post making fun of commentors who disagree with you. Awesome. Why not use that time to actually fix the grammatical errors..

We aren't the ones getting paid to write, however, this is our only major newspaper so it is our duty to keep the standards as high as possible.

In other words, we comment b/c we care. Writing takes practice, we understand that. No reason to get mad at us b/c of the mistakes.

hey guys, if you missed my tweet, this is what i said: "u know, let me just say,i really appreciate watchful commenters.when thr r mistakes on posts,dont be afraid 2 SCREAM in comments 4 fixes." im being entirely sincere. if there are mistakes, comment asking for corrections, and ill update the post.

Mazaa,

Don't let the haters bring you down...

"Ready for Baltimore Beer Festival" ???

Don't you mean Baltimore Beer Week?!

This place has nothing to do with the festival (which takes place during Baltimore Beer Week)

Awesome tweet. You manage to sound both insincere and like a 12 year old girl.

I guess the big question remains unanswered as yet: can it compete with Max's? In any case, I look forward to visiting it.

I forgot - here is the draft list:


victory fest bier
stone smoked porter
allagash white
moinette blond
bastard
spaten okto
nogne pale
haandsbrygerriet odin's tipple
de ranke saison de dottinges
de ranke guldenberg
blaugies darbyste
jolly pumkin calabaza blanca
monchshoff fest bier
buttenheim lager
victory lager
weissenhoe monks fest
kulmbacher pils
youngs double choc
stone ipa
greenflash west coast
60
burton baton
smutty big A
boulder mojo risin
racer 5
stone sublimely self righteous
old rasputin
la rulles triple
smutty shoals pale
st. bernardus 12
weinstephan weisse
bluebird bitter
victory prima
flying dog pale
dales pale
schlenkerla helles
brasserie de la senne zinnibir
crispin cider
reissdorf kolsch

When did so many people that read this blog turn into terrible jerks?

Writing about the Baltimore scene is like writing about the bright new ideas of either political party -- absolutely nothing to cover.

What a ridiculous list of microbrews...talk about making something out of absolutely nothing. Proof that good marketing can separate any chump from his money. Brewing in the modern era... Step 1, make up a clever name and label, Step 2 brew some nondescript beer, Step 3 watch some sucker buy it, Step 4 be rich.

If we're trading recommendations, I prefer the Original Flying Marmot Snout Sucker Punch Maple Leaf Road Tar Late Spring - Early Summer When It's Starting to Get Hot But Not Too Humid Pale Ale Triple T Stout Hut Hut Hike. It tastes a lot like Sam Adams.

The snarky comments are really annoying. You don't look any smarter or cooler by being a jerk to the new guy. If you can't handle change in your nightlife blog, I'd hate to see you try to handle real adversity.

new guy, you can get points from me if you walk over to web dev and tell them to fix this damn message board. I don't repeat myself


@ Jerry

Frist, thanks for posting the current draft list. Furthermore, your initial question regarding Max's raises a legtimate concern for this place in my opinion.

All things being equal, if I want to go to a beer bar with a good selection of beer, I'm going to go to the closest location near my home. In my case that's the Judge's Bench over in EC (I live in Owings Mills). However, in the case of Max's, their selection is so damn good, that I'm willing to drive the extra miles to get over there. I also go to Mahaffey's on occasion, because I like Wayne (the owner), as well as the neighborhood vibe the place has.

So in the case of Alewife, what is it that they bring to the party that would have me going there that I can't find at Max's and Mahaffey's? Sure doesn't sound as if the draft selection is going to give Max's a run for its money.

While I do plan to give them a try, and while I will try to keep an open mind about the place, my guess is that it will probably be "one and done" in terms of my visits to Alewife. I have to think that's generally going to be the response Alewife will encounter from those who don't work or live in the area.

:-) Of course as for the seargeant shultzes of the world, who I assume don't like anything other than Natty Boh, it probably doesn't matter where they go to drink.

Perhaps the reason behind the remarks is Erik's "blue-steel" stare in his pic.

Mer...MAN!!!! Mer...MAN!!!

Poor New Sessa.

Still don't know why he named the place after a damned fish.

Since you really like watchful commntrs here is a mistake that maybe you can fix.

A new beer hall will open today in the West side, the city' most punishing neighborhood for new bars.

I think your missing an S somewhere in that sentence.

victory fest bier
allagash white
bastard
spaten okto
de ranke saison de dottinges
de ranke guldenberg
victory lager
weissenhoe monks fest
stone ipa
greenflash west coast
60
burton baton
smutty big A
boulder mojo risin
old rasputin
smutty shoals pale
st. bernardus 12
weinstephan weisse
bluebird bitter
victory prima
flying dog pale
dales pale
reissdorf kolsch

I've had each of these and all I can say is HELL YA...Green Flash!? Bring it. The ones I deleted that I haven't had I plan on getting through as soon as possible...

I may be hitting this place for happy hour tomorrow after reading this beer list...

best of luck to the operators of this place. My understanding is the Hilton is looking for places to send guests...it also seems like they really need to harness UMD's professional schools and the students who live nearby...

BTW +1 @ kmm...

waaah, my new nightlife blogger didn't grow up in Catonsville and doesn't pronounce it "Saturdee". waaah.

As a fellow hipster doofus, I can't help but try and back up Mr. Maza however, his articles are terrible. I should have known this considering he summed up the "sound" of Baltimore by describing a Dan Deacon concert.

Maybe Mr. Maza should actually go to a bar on the west side of Baltimore and see what the actual west side is.

I actually googled Maza to read some of his other writing, because I figured he was just terrible because he is new to the city. NOPE.

here's a link to just a bunch of my other terrible articles btw, http://bit.ly/bmW1mf, which include a couple of 5,000 word cover stories

Poor new Sessa.

Erik - Just a note here, the West Side of downtown Baltimore and Station North are two totally different animals. The West Side of downtown Baltimore was financed with big corporate dollars and had a grand plan that failed to materialize.

Station North has been a designated arts district and has been mostly a DIY with a little help from the city project.

While I feel somewhat bad that you are receiving such critical comments, you might want to be a little more contrite about writing in a new town with a passionate nightlife scene that is a polar opposite from Miami's.

Good luck!

Someone (Sam?) should have warned you that nothing perturbs the denizens of our fair city like mislabeling their neighborhood. Even our esteemed restaurant critic of however many years felt their wrath.... http://bit.ly/c5EGDt

Good luck to you Eric. As you see... you'll need it.

I stopped by Alewife and my friend was at the bar and there were at least 8 people behind the bar and as many sitting @ the bar. That's like one bartender per customer. Did someone come to serve me- nope I waited 10 minutes. When my drink was empty? Nope maybe 5 this time. The cheapest thing on the menu is the burger at $10 which was good. Oh they have not one but two "doormen"!

Great beer list, draft and bottle.
The Cubano and the Smoke Burger were excellent.

They have way too much staff, even for an opening night.
I saw more waitstaff/hosts/bouncers (seriously? two? why?) than customers.

The place was far from empty, but it seems like they overestimated themselves last night.


Tif. What are prices like for pints there? Do they serve beer in real pint glasses, or do they use "cheater" pint glasses (shaker glasses that look like pint glasses, but because of an extra thick bottom, only hold around 13 ounces)?

I noticed that food and wine by the glass are both kind of expensive, which is why I was wondering what they're asking for a glass of beer.

Thanks!

John, I honestly forgot to look at the prices we were in a rush to get to a show but the beers were in the appropriate glasses, my wife even had a real life pilsner full to the top.

90% of the food has pork in it- that's a blower.

I had a pint of allagash and a pint of moinette blonde.

my check was 14 and some change.

I've been wanting a bar down there ever since I went to the Hippodrome EARLY cause I figured I'd get a drink before the show. To my surprise, NOTHING, but a lame ass titty bar down the street. It didn't make sense. I hope this place is cool and does well.

BTW: Hey haters, there's a whole big Internet out there waiting for you.


Thanks KD.

If the beer was sold in an actual pint glass, then that's not too bad at all. That price is pretty much what I think you'd pay at Max's for those beers (Belgians and Belgian style beers are always more expensive), but they'd be served in one of those heavy 10 ounce chalices. So that's actually a pretty good deal...

@Nickc it's a bar around the corner from the skripper bar- in fact I think you own it- Frank & Nick's

From the draft list, the three I ordered, were $5 each.Green Flash, Stone, Victory.

The prices per bottle were listed on the separate chalk board, ranging in price from $4 to $29.

The $4 I think was Original Sin cider, the $29 was a 25.2 oz bottle from Belgium, a Grand Cru - it was high up on the board, and I was at an odd angle, so I couldn't see the name.

Very little chance of success for this place. Great beers, no doubt. I enjoyed that. But for crissakes, have a bar menu!!! Place like this with no wings or other "while you're drinkin'" food is doomed. Duck-fat herbed fries are nowhere near as good as Brewers Art. And those are the only hopeful menu item. Please reform yourself soon, Alewife. Otherwise, 2 months max.

Farouq-

BA doesn't serve duck fat fries.

Other than that, great point.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the lack of even one local brew. I guess these guys are just too cool.

@LGood- Flying Dog is in Frederick, that's pretty local, but yes, I am surprised that they don't have any Heavy Seas.

doomed to failure. I hope no one from the HILTON is mugged on the way down. They may be gone before the Red Sox come to town unless it is in the next week. It is doubtful they will be there for the Everyman Theatre. of course I could be wrong, maybe pigs do fly

@anon;) - I know Flying Dog is technically in Frederick, but to me they are still a Colorado brewery that just happened to buy a place in Maryland. Makes no sense, I know.

I talked to the chef there the other day, they do have a bar/ late night menu that starts this week. Their grand opening is October 1st. He said that they are going in phases or something. First dinner, then bar, then lunch the following week. I really enjoyed the place.

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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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