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June 14, 2011

Barfly's, the old Rafters, is finally open

Barfly's, the old Rafters, is finally open, a few months after it was originally supposed to debut.

The bar, located in the Fort Avenue-Riverside neighborhood (620 E. Fort Ave), had a soft opening last Friday and will have its grand opening on Friday. 

The bar carries eight drafts, as owner Mike Leeds had promised, 20 bottled beers, and 12 wines. It is also serving food. 

The old Rafters, known for its formstone interior, closed in August. Leeds took it over and started renovating in late December with an eye towards opening in March

He said he gutted the old bar and made it more upscale. Some of the formstone interiors have been covered up with raised wood panels. 

From the outside, Leeds said the bar stayed the same, "your average neighborhood bar," Leeds said. But inside, "It's a complete transformation," he said. "Anyone who was at Rafters won't recognize it."

Leeds opened as soon as he got his liquor license, which was granted last Thursday.

He has 12 wines by the bottle, evenly split between whites and reds. On draft, he has Guinness, Yuengling, Samuel Adams, Blue Moon, Franziskaner (a wheat beer), Pilsner, Stella Artois, and Dale's Pale Ale.

He has 20 brands by the bottle and can, but plans to expand to about 40. Beer ranges in price from $3-$6.

The bar will also have a full working menu by this weekend, that will include fresh-dough gourmet pizza, salads and sandwiches. Price will range between $7 - $12.

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

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Posted by Erik Maza at 2:48 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Was there last night, it's fairly cute, currently they're running a $3 for any drink special (limited time) so get in while the gettin's good yall. Though the menu is limited it's actually pretty good stuff, a lot of italian-slanted pub grub, really nicely toasted meatball subs and stuff like that.

Mike did a great job on the interior... a tasteful welcoming addition to the neighborhood, for sure!

Haven't lived in Baltimore in 8 years, but I used to be a regular at Mike Leeds' former place Sean Bolan's, which was an awesome locals bar. Gook luck, Mike. Hopefully, I can make it back sometime soon.

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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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