Tucked onto a hard-to-find, one-way street near—but not walking-distance near—the Hopkins medical campus, 2031 E. Fairmount Avenue has always been a challenging location. For years, Simon's Pub managed to lure patrons with its upscale yet reasonably priced New American menu; after the pub closed, new owners never seemed to be able to bring in the needed crowds to their Simon's of Butcher's Hill, despite the delicious New Orleans cuisine and frequent live jazz. Now a new owner, Crosby Healy, has reopened the place, with a much less ambitious concept—but, perhaps, a more successful one. The first floor of The Life of Reilly (410-327-6425), the latest Irish-themed bar to hit Baltimore, was filled to the gills when we visited on a weeknight soon after their December opening. There's Guinness on draught and solid renditions of both Irish and American bar fare on the menu. Many entrées are priced under $15, and the cozy, comfortable atmosphere that has always blessed this space remains intact. Nothing here is fancy, but it's warm and comfortable, like a good neighborhood pub should be. And with the continuing gentrification in the area, that may be enough to make Reilly's luck of the Irish trump the location's checkered past.
Butcher’s Hill gets an Irish pub.
Issue date: February, 2007