Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
January, 16th 2013

Traveling to the AFC Championship

For anyone that is super pumped to travel up to New England for the AFC Championship game on Sunday, there are a few options.

Jimmy's Famous Seafood in Dundalk, a common hang out for Ravens players and fans, set up buses to travel up to a Ravens tailgate outside Gillette Stadium. Additionally, they'll be throwing an "Unfinished Business" party at Jimmy's with a full bull and oyster roast and an open bar for $39/person, starting Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

Local radio station WNST is offering a Miller Lite Roadtrip travel package that includes an upper deck game ticket, bus transportation from White Marsh to Foxboro and back, a one night stay at the Providence Marriott, and a tailgate lunch at Gillette Stadium. Tickets go up to $625/person and, currently, WNST is filling its fifth and final bus.

If you book a bus through Towson Travel, a ticket is $175 for a bus from Timonium up to Gillette Stadium and that includes a Ravens tailgate party. Of course, that does not include game tickets, which are running anywhere from $200-$1,500 on StubHub. 

Rohrbaugh's Charter Service is also offering travel up to Gillette Stadium, with pickups in Timonium and White Marsh early Sunday morning. The price per person is $90.

And if you do happen to travel to Foxboro this weekend and want to visit nearby watering hole The Raven's Nest, it might be hard to find. That's because owner Mark McAullife has temporarily changed the name of the bar to The Patriot's Nest and has even hung mock Ravens in nooses. No one is messing around this weekend!

[Image: Ravens fans in New England, courtesy of Jimmy's Famous Seafood]

5:28 pm Comment Count Tags: ravens, travel
Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
January, 11th 2013

Best Ravens bar in Denver

A college friend of mine let me know about the best Ravens bar in Denver, where our hometown football team will take on the Broncos tomorrow afternoon in the AFC Divisional Playoff game. 

Chopper's Sports Grill is the place where every Denver-based Baltimore fan convenes. Many patrons have created events at the bar through Meetup.com, like tomorrow's game, which they're calling "Caw Caw vs. Hee Haw."

For any Ravens fans that have traveled to Denver for the game, Chopper's will be hosting a Ravens tailgating party tonight at 6 p.m.

[Image courtesy of Meetup.com]

5:03 pm Comment Count Tags: ravens, travel
Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
January, 4th 2013

Best bars for Ravens/Colts game

When the Indianapolis Colts come to town we tend to get a little riled up—and for good reason. Whether you want revenge, cheap deals, or just a good time, here are the five best spots to watch Sunday's Ravens/Colts game.

Nacho Mama’s
We can’t think of a better place to watch the Ravens stomp the Indianapolis Colts than Nacho Mama’s in Canton. This bar is a virtual museum to the old Baltimore Colts and Johnny U—with jerseys, black-and white photographs, and the like. And this is our pick for the best bar with Colts vengeance, as they put a Bob Irsay dummy in a freakin’ coffin. Specials include $2 bottled Bohs and a happy hour from 4-7 p.m.

Johnny Dee’s Lounge
This Parkville basement lounge is a perfect blend of the old (Colts) and the new (Ravens). Many years ago, owner Johnny Appell would run buses from the bar to Memorial Stadium for games. On the lounge's walls, here are autographed photographs of Jonny and Gino alongside Ravens team photos. This Sunday, they’ll put out free food (think wings and meatballs) at halftime, as well as offer $2 16-ounce Boh cans.

Mother's Federal Hill Grille
Mother’s and its Purple Patio is always an ideal spot to check out Ravens games—especially when they play at home. The patio has a painted football field on the lot, two bars, a grill, and a DJ. Mother’s has 20 flat screens inside and portable radios at the tables to listen to the game. Festivities start at 8 a.m. for breakfast and bloody marys, and 98 Rock broadcasts a post-game show from the patio.

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood
This Dundalk seafood restaurant seems like an unlikely spot to catch the game, but the truth is Ravens players are in and out of here all the time. In fact, Ray Rice, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Torrey Smith were all at Jimmy’s Christmas party. Currently, the restaurant is in the works for a Ray Lewis retirement event. Until then, you can celebrate Sunday with 50-cent shrimp and wings, $2 crabs, and $3 Bud Lite aluminum bottles.

Kooper’s North
The new Mays Chapel bar will be commemorating Ray Lewis’s retirement all day Sunday. Starting at 7:30 a.m., Kooper’s North will offer a breakfast buffer for $5.20 with 52-cent oysters on the half shell and $5.20 Passion 52’s (champagne and Chambord). Two Miller Lites will be $5 until 10 a.m. Additionally, 52 percent of the profits (noticing a theme here?) will go to the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation.

The bar’s sister establishments—Kooper’s Tavern, Slainte Irish Pub, and Woody’s Rum Bar in Fells Point—will also feature 52-cent oysters starting at 11 a.m.

During the game, there will be plenty of Ray-themed specials, like $5.20 sliders and Ravens bombs at Kooper’s North and Kooper’s Tavern, as well as $5.20 Guinness pints at Slainte, and $5 for two Red Stripes at Woody’s. Lewis would surely be proud of all this sendoff. 

3:09 pm Comment Count Tags: ravens, sports
Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
December, 21st 2012

New Year's Eve roundup!

There are plenty of ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve—attend a giant hotel party downtown, buy an all-inclusive package at your neighborhood bar, catch one of your favorite bands (or comedians) live, or spend it with your family. No matter your scene, we have the event for you!

Big-Box Parties:

• Once again, the Sheraton Baltimore City Center hosts Big Night Baltimore with buffets and open bars from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. There will be nine themed party areas and eight bands and DJs (including Burnt Sienna and DJ Q). At midnight, revelers can enjoy a champagne toast and a balloon drop. Currently, tickets are $105 for general admission and $175 for VIP. 

• If it’s as bar-crawl atmosphere you’re after, then 2013 Live! at Power Plant Live is right up your alley. From 9 p.m.-1 a.m., you can have access to the nine bars inside the complex. Of course, there will be open bar and food and, in true Power Plant style, DJ entertainment, laser shows, confetti cannons, and the Times Square ball drop will be featured on 20-foot LED screens. Currently, tickets are $95 for general admission and $150 for VIP.

• Sponsored by Miller Lite and Baltimore Fashion Week, the Charm City Countdown has expanded this year into two events: one at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson and one at the 1840s Ballroom downtown. Both events will feature DJs, bands, food from Zagat-rated restaurants, multiple open bars, and casino games. Tickets start at $99 for general admission and $139 for VIP.

• The Hyatt Regency on Light Street will host Downtown Countdown Baltimore, which features a full dinner buffet and open bar from 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Entertainment includes DJ Kopec, Beatles cover band Yellow Dubmarine, and four local comedians. Midnight includes a balloon drop and champagne toast. Tickets are $104 for general admission and $139 for VIP.

Concerts/comedy:

• Everyone’s favorite curmudgeon Louis CK comes to town to do two shows at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The early show starts at 7 p.m. and the late show is at 10 p.m. Tickets were originally $35, but have long been sold out.

• Magooby’s Jokehouse in Timonium will feature stand-up comedy with Robert Kelly and Dan Soder, as well as a DJ, dancing, and midnight toast. The event goes from 6 p.m.- 2 a.m. and offers various packages, featuring dinner and hotel accommodations, ranging from $35-$265.

• We give you a worthwhile reason to travel down to D.C. on New Year’s—The Drive-By Truckers are playing at 9:30 Club. The southern rock night gets started at 7:30 p.m. when North Mississippi Allstars Duo open. Tickets are $55.

• Lotus is bringing their dance rock to Rams Head Live on New Year’s. Doors are at 8 p.m., show at 9. Tickets range from $42.50-50.

• Local band Shook will bring their electro-funk sound to The Point in Fells starting at 9 p.m.

• The New Year’s Eve party at the Windup Space features multiple acts including local staples the All Mighty Senators, the soulful Bellevederes, and DJ Landis Expandis. Things get started at 10 p.m. and cover is $15 at the door.

Bar/club specials:

• The great minds at The Fork & Wrench and Union Craft Brewing are hosting a New Year’s Eve party at the Canton restaurant, complete with a four-course meal, beer pairings, craft holiday cocktails, and a champagne toast. First seating is at 5 p.m. and second seating is at 8:30 p.m. Cost ranges from $65-95 and can be reserved on OpenTable.

• If you want to go down the dance club route, celebrate New Year’s Eve at The Get Down. There will be four hours of open bar from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. and a champagne toast at midnight. DJ Harry Hotter spins most of the event, with a special late-night set from DJ Mic L. The bar stays open until 4 a.m. and tickets are $55.

• The Depot always has fun dance parties on the weekend and New Year’s Eve is no exception. Starting at 9 p.m., DJs Fun Billy, Doug, and Charlie will be spinning and the bar will provide free food and a champagne toast.

• In true Ottobar style, a dance party will last from 8 p.m.-4 a.m. DJ Craig Boarman will be spin a “girls rule” set featuring Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, M.I.A. and more. Starting at midnight, TaxLo DJs Simon Phoenix and Stereo Faith Spin will mix indie, electro, hip-hip, and Baltimore club tunes. Cover is $15 and an open bar package is available in advance for $40.

Family-friendly events:

• The Baltimore Orioles-sponsored New Year’s Eve Spectacular is a tradition for more than 30 years now. Starting at 9 p.m., visitors can enjoy live music at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater. The main show is at midnight, when a choreographed fireworks show can be seen throughout the city.

• To avoid the crowds, you can sip champagne and watch the Inner Harbor fireworks from the deck of the U.S.S. Constellation. There will be an all-inclusive menu served with local beer, wine, and cider. Plus, there will be special tours and cannon firing demonstrations all night. Adults are $75 and kids under 17 are $25.

• For the fifth year in a row, the Maryland Science Center is hosting Midnight Noon. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, kids can make their own party hats and noisemakers, while the local band Milkshake provides live music. The event is free with paid admission.

[Image: courtesy of Etsy]

3:12 pm Comment Count Tags: holidays, parties
Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
December, 19th 2012

End of the World Party at Max's Taphouse

As most people know by now, the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, aka this Friday, which some people think signifies an apocolypse (you can read more on that here). Because of this, several places are throwing "end of the world" parties, but this one looks like the most fun.

On Friday, Flying Dog Brewery is taking over Max's Taphouse and will have 56 of their beers on tap, including vintage Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout, all six 2012 Single Hop Imperial IPAs, the premeire of Flying Dog's first (and last, they joke) 2013 Brewhouse Rarities, and four experimental ales never released to the public.

In addition, they're holding a Rapture Raffle every hour from 5 p.m. to midnight. Prizes will all be survivor tools for people to ride out the apocolypse (a case of Spam, copious amounts of toilet paper, etc.).

Everything gets started at 5 p.m. on Friday. I can't think of a better way to go out. 

Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
December, 7th 2012

41st annual monument lighting

Thousands of revelers packed into Mt. Vernon Place last night to witness the 41st annual lighting of the Washington Monument.

Tons of local vendors lined the street selling slices of pizza, spicy apple sauce, hot cider, wassail, and plenty of other items to keep people warm in the 30-degree weather. The crowds made their way as close to the monument as possible, while choirs from Morgan State, City College, Heart of Maryland, and Harbor City Music Company sang traditional Christmas songs. 

Right on schedule, at 7:45 p.m., Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb counted down from 10 and the monument lit up with blue stringed lights. The laser show began and bright fireworks came booming into the sky.

Like every year, the tradition signified the real beginning of the holiday season in Baltimore.

[Photo by Ben Singer]

Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
November, 27th 2012

Drinks at Birroteca

Ever since Birroteca opened in Hampden this past October, people haven't stopped talking about the artisanal pizza and craft-beer spot. Located in a beautiful two-story stone mill building (that once housed The Mill Steakhouse and Tavern), the spot has been so popular that it's been hard to get a table or even a seat at the bar.

But we tried our luck this past Thanksgiving weekend, hoping that most people would be stuffed with enough food and drink. While the place was still crowded, we were able to find a couple seats at the bar. The building itself is rustic and beautiful—all stone interior, accented with dark wood, twinkling candles, and chalkboard walls. I love how the space is split almost exactly in half, with a white-tablecloth dining area on one side and a huge rectangular bar on the other.

It was immediately apparent that the service here is topnotch. Our bartender Gary—dressed in plaid like the rest of the servers—took our drink order right away despite the crowd. I had one of their 24 craft beers on draft, an Evolution Rise Up Stout. (Birroteca's owner is close with Evolution's founders, so the Salisbury brewery is heavily featured). Many of the selections on tap were seasonal (stouts, porters, ESBs) and local (Union, Brewer's Art, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog).

The great service continued as we were curious about a bottle of wine and Gary gave us a sample, no questions asked. The ten craft cocktails—exemplifying vintage trends like the use of egg whites and plenty of bitters—also looked impressive. And, while I'm no food critic, all of the dishes we tried (including the butternut squash ravioli and pesto pizza) were impeccable. We also started out with a seven-selection charcuterie plate that looked like a work of art, and tasted even better. 

All in all, Birroteca lived up to the overwhelming buzz with its thoughtful drink selection, delicious food, and above-and-beyond service. A full review of the restaurant will be published in our January issue.

[Image: courtesy of Birroteca]

Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
November, 16th 2012

Yelpy-Con at Geppi's Entertainment Museum

Last weekend I attended my first Yelper party, which is a free event put on by Yelp, the social networking site that uses customer reviews to rate local businesses. This was called Yelpy-Con, a play on the popular comic-book convention and was held at Geppi's Entertainment Museum (owned by Baltimore publisher Steve Geppi).

The party featured more than 25 local businesses giving out food, drink, and information about their companies. I love that these parties feature a mix of off-the-beaten-path places like Nalley Fresh (loved the spicy rice bowls), as well as new spots (Gordon Biersch Brewery) and old stalwarts (Chaps Pit Beef).

Bartending was provided by John Reusing, owner of Bad Decisions in Fells Point. I had an addictive punch concoction made with Jim Beam's Black Cherry Red Stag bourbon and a sparkling wine. Very delicious.

People certainly got into the theme, as there were superheroes and Stormtroopers walking around among us. Towards the end of the night, the place got packed with hundreds of people, which made sense since the event was open to anyone with a Yelp account who RSVP'd. Though the party was free, donations were being accepted to Cool Kids Campaign, a nonprofit fighting childhood cancer.

The whole idea is a win-win, as party go-ers got free food and drink, businesses got those sometimes critical Yelpers on their good side, and a good cause was being supported. To check out future events, visit Yelp Baltimore's site.

[Photo by me]

12:22 pm Comment Count Tags: charity, parties
Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
November, 8th 2012

Opening of Gordon Biersch Brewery

The new Gordon Biersch Brewery in Harbor East has been open since last Monday (even despite Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast that day). We got a chance to check out the spot at one of its grand opening receptions. 

The space—adjacent to Charleston on Lancaster Street—is pretty massive, with a 279-seat dining room and bar area, as well as a 50-seat patio across from the water. The layout is unique, in that everything is exposed: There's an open kitchen, you can see through to the six beer tanks, and, during warmer weather, the doors open out onto the patio. 

The bar has a specific tap system dedicated to Gordon Biersch's signature brews, the Golden Export, Marzen, Hefeweizen, Czech Pilsner, Schwarzbier, and a rotated seasonal selection. Our favorite was probably the Marzen, which is a well-balanced lager with a brown-sugary start and malty finish. We also enjoyed the Hefeweizen, a traditional and unfiltered German wheat beer.

These are all crafted by head brewer Chris Cashell, formerly of The Brewer's Art, who is well-known for creating the dark, winter favorite Proletary Ale. It's also interesting to note that GB's signature beers follow the German Beer Purity Law, which states they can only be brewed with water, hops, barley, and yeast. Besides their own beers, there was a lot of local selections on tap, including Union's Duckpin Pale Ale, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, and Resurrection Ale.

Additionally, there is a list of 14 delicious sounding cocktails, like the Veev Mule (Veev Açaí Liqueur, lime, mint and ginger ale), as well as nine martinis, and three "skinny" cocktails (under 150 calories). We did get to sample some complimentary appetizers, a favorite being the California cobb flatbread with bacon, avocado, tomato, baby greens, and balsamic vinaigrette. We also tried the restaurant's famous garlic fries and were not disappointed. 

Though Gordon Biersch is a chain restaurant (with nearly 200 restaurants nationwide), its beer is more thoughtfully brewed than most franchised restaurants. And the open design and waterfront view will surely make the newest location a prime destination. 

[Image: courtesy of beerinbaltimore.blogspot.com]

Jess Blumberg Mayhugh's picture
October, 30th 2012

Ocean City bars suffer hurricane damage

Though we feel extremely lucky and blessed that Hurricane Sandy spared Baltimore the brunt of her damage, bar owners in Ocean City can't say the same.

Photos like this one have been going around showing the desturction caused to Ocean City bars, clockwise from left: Fager's Island, Macky's Bayside Bar & Grill, Seacrets, and Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill.

Around 6 p.m. last night, proprietors at Fager's Island posted on their Facebook page that their pier and gazebo had been destroyed. Similarly, bayside bars Macky's, Seacrets, and the Lazy Lizrard were all pounded with 7-foot storm surges. Ocean City officials, who closed the Route 90 bridge to non-emergency vehicles at 5 p.m. yesterday, called the storm the worst since Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

However, the bar owners remain optimistic. This morning Seacrets reassured their customers on Facebook, saying, "Just walked through Seacrets and we have a couple trees leaning and some sand missing, but other than that Sandy was nice to us. We open tomorrow at 4 for our Halloween party. See you then!" Fager's posted earlier today, "Other than some water and a few missing boards, we are ok and will reopen tomorrow."

Half-an-hour ago, Macky's posted a photo of some clean-up efforts and said, "Rest easy fans and wonderful patrons, the strong survive!" and the Lazy Lizard posted, "We are planning to have crews in to start the clean up as soon as the city allows vehicles to enter the downtown area."

While some landmarks, like the famous downtown pier, have been destroyed in Ocean City, we in this area have fared much better than some other states up north. Our thoughts are with them as they recover from the hurricane's devastation.

[Photo courtesy of Instagram]

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