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)