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February 3, 2011

Don't Know Tavern, Racers Cafe, Pratt Street Ale House plan expansions

The three Baltimore bars will change their longtime look this year.

The 67-year-old Racers Café in Parkville will serve food for the first time, and add a new bar.

At the 3-year-old Don’t Know tavern in South Baltimore, owner Jason Zink is adding more drafts.

And Pratt Street Ale House, formerly the Wharf Rat, will expand into the building next door.

Food at Racers, which has been owned by the Osenburg family for generations, has been in the works since 2000, when owners bought the property next door with plans to build a kitchen. Beerinbaltimore tipped me to the news.

General manager Donna Preisinger updated me though, and told me Racers will now include not just a kitchen, but a lounge area, and a brand new bar. All and all, it should double Racers’ interior, she said.

The new bar will allow Racers to add seven new draft lines, for a total 20. It should come online no later than this year, Preisinger said, and will be followed by the kitchen. She is not sure yet what the menu will be.

Zink said he wanted to expand his bar to compete with the neighborhood’s new bars. The Park Bench near Riverside Park opened in November, and Barfly’s Pub, formerly Rafters, is set to open in March, according to its owner.

Specifically, Zink wanted to keep up with the new Taps, Delia Foley’s, owned by Chris Reda and Ropewalk Tavern's Marc MacFaul.

That 5,000-square-foot property underwent a two-month renovation late Fall and is now decked out with brand new murals and a vast wings menu.

“I respect [the owners] very much and they have done a great job, but it was also a good time to reinvent Don’t Know,” he said. Starting in March, the bar will add 12 new draft lines of American craft beer, for a total of 30. It will also redo the décor and upgrade its menu.

Zink is bullish on the renovation; he’s been adding new draft lines to No Idea for the past four months, and said it’s been successful there. He also said the resurgence of draft beer is going to work in his favor now that don’t know will also be called an “American Draught Bar.”

In March of last year, Ale House owner Justin Dvorkin said he wanted to take the brand to other locations in Baltimore. But for now, the bar he's settled with expanding next door, beer writer Alexander D. Mitchell IV first reported, and Dvorkin confirmed. 

After the bar there, The Nest, closed recently, Dvorkin and his partner Donald Kelly leased the property with plans to have more space for special events, like their real ale festival, and private parties.

But now, he said he's not sure if that will happen, and they’re also flirting with the idea of making the space into own concept bar.

Dvorkin said he anticipates the renovation to be finished by the last week of March.

Photo: Don't Know Tavern (600block

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Posted by Erik Maza at 3:51 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Racers is a great neighborhood bar.

What's the latest information on Barfly's?

Regarding Barfly's Pub, I don't think any bar name should start with the word "barf". I tend it read it quickly not as Bar-Fly's, but as Barf-ly's... which also sounds like Bar Fleas. "Why are you so itchy? You bring home a bad case of bar fleas from that new Fort Avenue pub you went to last night?"

Grumpies is renovation as well and so is Taverna Corvino. They are expanding next door and upstairs.

You also forgot about Stalking Horse, that place is going to be huge.

Thanks Erik,

Don't Know Tavern is going to have 30 drafts on a rotating basis. As of right now, I need to add 15 more drafts by the end of the month as we are getting rid of the imports on tap. We are trying to stick with American craft beers on tap only.

If anybody has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. We already have
Dales, Evolution, Stone, Gordon Biersch, Dogfish, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog , Sierra, Sam Lancaster and some others that are on the way include 21st Amendment, Rogue, Victory, Troegs, Lagunitas, and Avery

Any suggestions will be appreciated.


@ jason zink - Natty Boh. :X


And then be the first to bring Fat Tire to MD!

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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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