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January 14, 2011

Rafters, renamed Barfly's Pub, to open within two months

PX00195_9.JPGRafters, the South Baltimore bar famous for its formstone facade and interiors, will re-open within two months, new owner Michael Leeds said.

It will then be called Barfly's Pub.

Leeds is planning on a full renovation, and a big wine list.

The new bar, he said, will be "an upscale dive bar. "That's why I named it Barfly's."

Leeds started leasing the in November, and is now in the process of renovating the space and acquiring the liquor license.  

After Rafters closed in August, it was supposed to have been taken over by a Red Hill Tavern. But that deal never came to fruition, Leeds said. 

A former partner  at the Federal Hill and Bel Air Sean Bolans, Leeds had been looking for a place of his own. 

He settled on Rafters because he said he sees a future in its location - the Fort Avenue-Riverside neighborhood.

He started the renovation with a couple of friends a month ago, and he suspects it's going to take some time. "We could be open by the end of February, but more realistically early March," he said. 

Rafters, he said, needed a "face lift." He'll redo the bathrooms, add new light fixtures, resurface the bar, and perhaps, most surprisingly, cover up some of the formstone the former owners were so proud of. 

The old Rafters, he said, had a "unique" interior. He wants the new place to look different, but retain a reminder of the old tenants.

"A lot of people make a big deal out of the formstone so I want to keep some of it," he said, adding, however, "it's going to look a lot different."

He'll also expand its beer and wine selection. 

The old Rafters used to serve "Buggy Bombs," its own version of Irish car bombs. Leeds said he'll install eight taps, and carry about 40 wines, to be sold $8-10 by the glass, and $30 by the bottle., between 8 and 10 by the glass, and 30 by the bottle.*

Barfly's Pub will be at 620 E. Fort Ave.

Photo: Rafters in 2005 (Elizabeth Malby/Baltimore Sun) 

*Post updated for clarification

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Posted by Erik Maza at 8:55 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I would like to make one small correction to article. The part about the wine should state 8-10 wines by the glass and 30 by the bottle. The prices will be very reasonable

Is it pronounced "Bar-Fly's" or "Barf-Lee's?" I prefer the latter. Reminds me of Spaceballs.

"Upscale dive" is a lovely oxymoron.

In addition to Buggy Bombs...they used to have "Trash Cans" and "Rafter's Disaasters" too. At least I think they did. My memory usually got a bit fuzzy afterwards though...

Can't wait to see the place! Official open date yet?

this place is going to be awesome!!! can't wait until opens. MIKE LEEDS is always involved in great bars

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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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