As its name suggests, Carlos O'Charlie's Sports Bar and Grill (3508 Eastern Avenue, 410-675-1485) is a mixture of random—but amusing—elements. There's the 1970's-era décor—lots of exposed wood and light fixtures that would have fit in well in the Brady Bunch's rec room—and the Latin-American pop tunes playing on the sound system. There is the Mexican and Salvadoran fare (the pupusas are great) sharing menu space with standard American items like steak and wings. You can order either Budweiser or Dos Equis on draught (though, sadly, the liquor license doesn't extend to margaritas as of yet). Sports dominate the upstairs bar's televisions, while the downstairs ones may be tuned to a Spanish-language channel. Thursdays are set aside for karaoke, except for when a traveling salsa band is in town. The result is a place that can accommodate just about anyone. On one night, we saw old-school Highlandtowners hunkered over the bar, watching the basketball game; artsy types grabbing a quick beer and nosh before heading to a show at the Creative Alliance; large families taking advantage of the place's affordable prices and semi-private rooms; and young Latinos fresh off a construction site, shooting pool in the basement bar. In short, Carlos O'Charlie's seems to have enough flexibility to handle the rapidly developing Highlandtown—no matter which way those changes head next.
A new bar crosses borders.
Issue date: May, 2007