Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
November, 19th 2013

Two openings in North Baltimore

Baltimore magazine

This past week I've been able to attend two exciting openings. The first was Cunngingham's, a farm-to-table restaurant in Towson created by the Bagby Restaurant Group, which opens to the public this Friday. And last night I got to try out The Nickel Taphouse, which is the old Blue Sage/The Falls space in Mt. Washington that was opened by Birroteca owner Robin Haas, and opens tomorrow.

Cunningham's, pictured at top, as a space was stunning, which food and travel editor Suzanne Loudermilk has already written about. I loved the open kitchen, beautiful lighting and decor, and sizeable square-shaped light-up bar (a signature at Bagby restaurants). The three-course meal we got was excellent (stand-outs included the beet salad, short ribs, and apple tart).

I also sampled a few cocktails, my favorite of which was the Pistols for Two, pictured, right, a concoction of Madeira, bourbon, Eastern Shore peach shrub, honey, lemon, and nutmeg sprinkled on top of crushed ice. The drink was bright and tart, with just the right amount of sweetness from the local peaches. While not available the night we went, Cunningham's will also be featuring barrel-aged cocktails, which are sure to have an extra bit of smoky flavor. Also available was a good wine selection (which you choose from an iPad!) and a handful of local beers on tap. 

Another great addition to the local bar/restaurant scene is The Nickel Taphouse, which Haas says is a Buffalo, New York-style tavern. Menu items like smoked whitefish dip with Saltines and beef on weck reflect this. We opted for one of their six varieties of burgers, The Works, which had mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, and a fried egg sandwiched by a perfectly soft brioche bun. We also loved the fries with tarragon aioli and clever deviled eggs with bacon jam on top.

The restaurant also had some cocktails on their menu, but we opted to go with a seasonal beer. Unfortunately, Evolution's Jacques au Lantern wasn't on tap yet, but they will have plenty of the local brewery's selections soon. We tried a Bruery Autumn Maple, which was made with yams and satisfied the fall craving.

The Mt. Washington space, pictured, left, is heavily transformed with very dark woods, romantic lighting, and stone detail. The space feels open, yet intimate, which I'm sure was not an easy task to achieve. It will be nice for neighborhood residents to have another tavern to go to for a change.

Both spots are a welcome addition to the North Baltimore landscape.

Danielle Moore's picture
November, 15th 2013

A New Comedy Series at Little Havana

Baltimore magazine

Monday nights in Baltimore just got a little less boring: Little Havana Restaurante y Cantina will be featuring free comedy shows on Mondays starting at 8 p.m.

The restaurant has partnered with the comedic duo of Baltimore native Jon Yeager and Fairfax-based John Coulter of J+J Productions to feature up-and-coming comedians paired with open mic performances.

“I want to give opportunities to all in the area who aspire to make others laugh,” Yeager said. “I am excited to bring up-and-coming comics, as well as established veterans to this stage.” 

This Monday, November 18, will host the Three Headed Monster featuring Danny Charnley, Dylan Meyer, and Alexx Star. 

Charnley, dubbed “Twitter’s sweetheart,” dishes out snarky commentary and theatrical performances that translate his comedic punch lines both on stage and in 140 characters. Meyer, the runner up for Magooby’s Joke House New Comedian of the Year award, brings hype to his shows with fill-in-the-blank punch lines, clever wordplay, and gregarious wit. Starr, runner up in the “So You Think You’re Funny” competition, crafts his jokes around topical events in the entertainment world through vocal impressions mimicking Denzel Washington. 

Donations are collected at every show and, this month, the proceeds will benefit typhoon relief in the Philippines.

The shows are scheduled to frequent weekly for the foreseeable future, providing the ultimate cure for a case of the Mondays.

Danielle Moore's picture
November, 8th 2013

Full Tilt Brewing Releases Berger Cookie Beer

Baltimore magazine

From the guys at Full Tilt Brewing (FTB), who brought you Fleet Street Raspberry Wheat and Patterson Pumpkin, comes their winter brew—Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout.

The Baltimore brewery has partnered with DeBaufre Bakeries to produce a rich, creamy sweet stout balancing two guilty pleasures of alcohol and cookies in one glass. 

“When it came time for winter beer, it made sense to make something so iconic to Baltimore. I just can’t believe that it hasn’t been done before,” said FTB co-owner Nick Fertig. 

The process begins in the garage of Fertig’s cousin and FTB co-owner Dan Baumiller. The two test and sample flavors before sending the recipe to Peabody Heights Brewery in Waverly for mass production. Their latest creation is a chocolate stout base infused with vanilla to dilute the bitterness for a balanced flavor. 

The Admiral’s Cup is hosting the launch with a keg tapping ceremony on Friday, November 15. The first pint will pour at 7 p.m. with $5 drafts garnished with a Berger Cookie flowing the rest of the night. 

Bars across the region will sell the craft beer throughout the winter. If demand is high enough during the season, Charm City can expect the brew to be year-round.

Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
October, 28th 2013

Hallow's Eve at the Maryland Science Center

Baltimore magazine

Halloween was kicked off a little bit early this year with the Hallow's Eve party on Saturday night at the Maryland Science Center. The craft beer party/costume ball/live music event made me wonder why the Science Center doesn't host more concerts because it makes an awesome venue.

There were five stages of live music: the main stage complete with a T. Rex display (featuring Psycho Killers and Cris Jacobs and Kenny Liner's New Mistake), the rooftop stage (with bluegrass bands Cara Kelly & the Tell Tale and The Manly Deeds), the planetarium that featured five different DJs, the cafeteria where they were live broadcasting WTMD's Dirty Soul Party, and the IMAX theater that was showing movies with a soundtrack performed by Deltanine.

Besides the myriad options of live music on hand, $5 drink tickets also bought you access to some of the best local craft beer from Union Craft Brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, Stillwater Artisanal Ales, and The Brewer's Art. There were the usual options from the breweries, but they also debuted Black Market Baby, a hoppy black ale and Baltimore Beer Week collaboration between all four brewhouses.

This was in addition to all of the fun, interactive displays at the Maryland Science Center, including admission to their current "Mummies of the World" exhibition—doesn't get much spookier than that. Some of our favorite costumes we spotted included many crazy Ace Venturas, an impeccable Beetlejuice, a deviled egg, a Walter White or two, and even a whacky inflatable flailing arm man. All the fun also had a serious benefit—event proceeds went to the music education nonprofit Believe in Music.

Next Thursday, the Science Center will also be hosting a class called "Science on Tap: Beer-ology 101," where those 21 and over can learn about various beer styles and the scientific roles ingredients play in the brewing process from Fordham and Dominion Brewing Co. representative Casey Hollingsworth. Tickets are $45 and available at

Check out our round-up for more Halloween events—including a fun one tonight!

Danielle Moore's picture
October, 18th 2013

Baltimore Beer Week is Back on Tap

Baltimore magazine

You don’t have to wait any longer: Baltimore Beer Week returns for its fifth year. The 10-day festival begins today, October 18, when the official mallet dubbed The Star Spangled Banger is sounded. It closes on Sunday, October 27.

Charm City is hosting one of its grandest years to date with more than 50 sponsors, Heavy Seas Beer as the flagship sponsor, and over 360 events featuring all things beer in the Chesapeake region.

Saturday’s Opening Tap Celebration is already sold out, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy.

Here are five events we recommend:

Third annual Tri-State Tap Takeover
It’s a battle of the tri-state titans at Hudson Street Stackhouse. Starting today, October 18, through Sunday, October 20—or until the beer runs out—12 drafts each from the breweries Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas, and Tröegs Brewing Company will be featured. Admittance is free, but the beer and food are pay as you go. There will be special discounts on food as well at $2 off all drafts during happy hour.

2013 OktoBEARfest at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
The zoo will be hosting an outdoor beer festival from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, at the Waterfowl Lake Pavilion. It will feature traditional Oktoberfest foods and over 30 fall-flavored local and national brews to wash it down. Tickets range from $12 to $50 and include admission to the zoo, unlimited beer tastings, live music, and access to food and artisan vendors. 

Flying Dog Oyster Shucking
James Joyce and Flying Dog Brewery are partnering to raise money for Maryland’s Oyster Recovery Partnership on October 24 from 4-7 p.m. at James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant. Pay as you go for a happy hour of local oyster shucking, live music, and Flying Dog’s Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout on draft and cask. All shells will be recycled and last year’s proceeds were able to replant over one million oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

Rare Beer Night
Sample global brews at Victoria Gastro Pub from 5 p.m. until close on October 24. Pay as you go to fill up your glass with imported beers from around the world including Harviestoun, Pripps Carnegie Porter, and LoverBeer Madamin. 

Haunted Pub Crawl
Meet at Alexander’s Tavern on October 27 to join Heavy Seas as they embark on a guided ghost walk and pub crawl in Fells Point. Arrive at the tavern at 5:30 p.m. for pints and appetizers until the crawl leaves at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include the first Heavy Seas beer for free, the ghost tour, and discounts on all Heavy Seas brews at the stops, including Bertha’s, The Wharf Rat, and ending at Cat’s Eye Pub.

—Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore's picture
October, 4th 2013

Hard Rock Cafe Revamps Itself

Baltimore magazine

The grand re-opening of the 16-year-old Baltimore location showcases the completely renovated interior and exterior that is sure to draw a crowd.

The venue has called Power Plant home since 1997. Now the transformed 10,000-square-foot space boasts an updated bar, remodeled stage for live events, an outdoor terrace, and a restored Rock Shop. Be sure to grab a bite or drink on the new 140-guest outdoor seating area on the restaurant’s pier overlooking the harbor.

The menu features classic Americana dishes. Select from nachos, wings, and tenders for appetizers before following up with either a fajita entree or grilled steak. We recommend the slightly spicy three-cheese twisted mac, chicken, and cheese. Legendary burgers hold popularity on the menu as well as their smokehouse pulled pork sandwiches. Try to save room for a hot fudge brownie sundae or apple cobbler, paired with a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. 

Adding to its extensive collection of musical keepsakes is a rare outfit worn by Prince, a pair of John Varvatos designer jeans, John Bon Jovi’s Diesel jacket from his Lost Highway tour, and a tribute wall featuring Maryland rock band O.A.R.

Additional collectables can be viewed through the latest in Hard Rock technology, the Rock Wall Solo, a 52-inch interactive touch wall that blasts fans to the past through a virtual exploration of the world’s greatest collection of memorabilia.

All of these changes were unveiled when the red carpet was rolled out on October 1 for local celebrities, Baltimore Ravens players, and the special act of the night, Imagine Dragons.

In return, Hard Rock Cafe teamed with Maryland-based Paul Reed Smith Guitars to donate 16 new acoustic guitars to Frederick Douglass High School’s music department. In addition, the event benefited the Casey Cares Foundation, an organization that focuses on providing uplifting programs for critically ill children and their families. 

Head down to the Pratt Street site with family and friends for a meal fit for a rock star.  

—Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore's picture
October, 1st 2013

Fells Point Fun Festival preview

Baltimore magazine

UPDATED: Musicians are rehearsing, beer is brewing, and food trucks are gassing up for the 47th annual Fells Point Fun Festival this weekend.

The Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization, first began hosting the event to raise funds to fight against building an elevated highway along the north shore of the Inner Harbor. Now, this outdoor street festival attracts more than 200,000 “funlubbers” for festivities that run along Thames Street on the water between Caroline and Wolfe Streets and north on Broadway to Eastern Avenue.

For the first time in decades, the overseeing organization has relaxed the policy on open containers. Alcohol is no longer confined to the borders of the four beer gardens that will be present this year.

The festival will be full sail ahead with four stages for music, street performers, more than 100 vendors (think art, photography, and crafts), a food-truck alley, more than 30 food vendors, a crab-picking block party, and plenty of kid-friendly activities that include magic shows and hula hooping competitions.

The festival kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 4, with an opening party on the Square, featuring live music. On Sunday, visitors can also pursue adventure by sailing aboard the Pride of Baltimore II. Tickets are $45 for adult and $35 for children under 12 years old.

The complete schedule for the weekend can be found here.

Danielle Moore's picture
September, 20th 2013

FreeFest Returns to Rock Merriweather

Why would any music festival give tickets, parking, and attractions away for free? Because you deserve it! Gates will open at 11 a.m. to a crowd of 50,00 concertgoers attending the Virgin Mobile FreeFest this Saturday, September 21 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia.

After three previous years of hosting the event, Merriweather has the logistics down to the penniless nitty gritty. Gates will open for parking at 9 a.m. Additional overflow parking has been reserved off of Brokenland Parkway where shuttle services will transport between sites.  

While the event is not BYOB, micro-brewed beer, wine, and cocktails will be available for purchase. A smorgasbord of greasy finger-licking crowd favorites will be sold including falafel, burgers, fresh sushi, chicken fingers, veggie wraps, vegetarian options, and Maryland’s own boardwalk fries.

Three main stages will be set up to host chart-topping musicians throughout the day. Ghost Beach is scheduled to launch the day in the Dance Forest at 12 p.m. Icona Pop, City and Colour, Kaskade, MGMT, and Robin Thicke will all make appearances. Headlining the event is Pretty Lights and Vampire Weekend, concluding festivities at 11 p.m. A detailed schedule of the line-up is posted here

Attractions will be sprawled across the 40 acres of grounds for some whimsical entertainment between sets ranging from the Samsung Funhouse to the water swing, to the Ferris Wheel of Fortune.

We will be covering the event the entire day via Twitter and Instagram. For all you social media magnets, trending #FreeFest can potentially win you extra free swag! 

—Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore's picture
September, 13th 2013

Boordy Vineyards opens new facility

Yesterday, we attended the opening of Boordy Vineyards’s new winery facility in Glen Arm. 

Politicians, members of the community, wine connoisseurs, and local media were all present for grand opening of the 11,500-square-foot facility, as glasses of Boordy chardonnay and appetizers from Clementine were passed.

Speakers included Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, State Senator J.B. Jennings, and Boordy’s owner Robert Deford who all introduced the new winery with raised glasses, bundles of grapes, and large clippers to cut the vine at the grand opening.

“This state-of-the-art facility is cleverly disguised as a 19th-century barn,” Deford said. “We hope this helps raise the tides for everyone in the Maryland wine industry.”

The new winery gives Boordy Vineyards a 57 percent increase in capacity with approximately 62,000 more gallons of wine. The $2.8-million project features a new fermentation cellar, lab for wine analysis, bottling room, temperature controlled warehouse, cold room for grape storage, and Internet shipping room.

The new facility is intended to improve control over every step of the winemaking process, as well as provide energy efficient technologies—like a bio-retention area for winery wastewater and future solar installation.  

To tour the new 300-barrel cellar is free, but samples are an additional cost. Bottles can also be purchased through Boordy’s website.

11:11 am Comment Count Tags: community, wine
Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
September, 12th 2013

Bond Street Social owners to take over Shuckers space

Baltimore magazine

Earlier this summer, news broke that Shuckers of Fells Point was closing due to an excessive debt of back taxes and rent. The waterfront spot, located next to the Broadway Pier, closed its doors June 29.

Yesterday, the owners of Mad River in Federal Hill and Bond Street Social confirmed to us that they signed a lease at the Shuckers space, pending the approval of a liquor license. They have met with Fells Point Main Street and are waiting to meet with the Fells Point community group, as well.

"We are super excited about the space," co-owner Mike Mastellone said in an email. "We believe it is a premier waterfront location that has huge potential. Our plan is to 100-percent gut [and] renovate the space and bring something new, fresh, and exciting."

Mastellone said they are working with Chuck Patterson of SMG Architects (which, most notably, designed Woodberry Kitchen). According to a Baltimore Business Journal article, Mastellone and his partners are seeking to offer a full restaurant menu, live music, and outdoor seating.

While it's always sad to see a restaurant/bar close its doors, we felt that Shuckers' food and atmosphere were lackluster at times. With such an amazing waterfront location, we're excited to see what the new owners have in store.

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