Tag Archives: Cheap Beer

House Rules: Bring the Bum’s Cooler to Baltimore!

Over the summer, when we were in the Middle East, one of the other Americans we were working with happened to be from South Florida. Now, we know some of you are probably rolling your eyes and groaning just at the mention of South Florida, but hear us out on this one.

This guy, who we’ll call Broward, was kind of an anomaly in that he was actually from South Florida, and was neither a Miami clubfuck or a retired New Yorker. In fact, he probably would have got along quite well in Baltimore.

Broward was about our age, and with the world being as small as it is, we’d actually met him before this trip. Anyway, we got to talking one day, and the conversation had turned to beer and bars and so on, when he told us of a certain bar in his home town which had hit on an absolutely genius idea.

Being down and out is no reason to go thirsty.

This particular bar was located directly across from a greyhound racing track. So when he described it as a dive, you can believe it was a real, genuine dive. It was the kind of place that was open from 6 am until last call every day; where trucker hats are worn without irony and people go to cure the shakes. It was the kind of place where people who lose bets on dog races hang out, and where the bartender would sometimes do customers the favor of cashing their social security checks for them.

But this bar had one thing going for it: The Bum’s Cooler.

Here’s how it works- the Bum’s Cooler sits behind the bar and is stocked with 3 types of canned beer; PBR, Milwaukee’s Best, and Icehouse. For one American Dollar ($1), the bartender will reach into the Bum’s Cooler and grab a can at random to serve you. No happy hour, no specials, just random one dollar swill beers, every day, all day. Don’t like Icehouse? Drink it fast and hope for a PBR next time. Don’t like PBR? Spend two more bucks for a good beer, you bum.

Needless to say, the Bum’s Cooler must be brought to Baltimore as soon as possible. We’ve already imported some of South Florida’s worst ideas, and we say it’s high time we brought in a good one.

If any local bar owner will fill a cooler full of Boh, PBR, and High Life, we promise to sit in there from open to close playing keno and piling up as many empty cans as possible.

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Chop on the Spot: iBar

We probably shouldn’t tell you about iBar. We should probably keep our big mouth shut for once and leave well enough alone. Or maybe we should use some reverse psychology. Don’t go to iBar. It’s not very cool.

There. That ought to insure that iBar remains one of the best kept open secrets in Baltimore. If you’re anything like us, you’ve driven by iBar 10,000 times and always meant to go in, but never quite did. When you say to your friend ‘Where do you want to go?’ they probably never told you iBar. We were guilty of this for quite a long time. It’s so close to Club Charles, Joe Squared, Ottobar, etc that it’s always just been easier to go with the familiar.

Photo from the iBar Website.

Of course, sometimes you just don’t feel like dealing with the Club Charles. Sometimes you just want to have a cheap beer and watch a few innings of baseball and chitchat with people who are cool, but yet don’t know or care about design aesthetics, electronic music, or bicycles. That’s when you go to iBar.

True to the name they offer free wi-fi, as well as a public internet connected PC at the end of the bar. That’s where the technology connection ends though. The rest of iBar is just a good old fashioned corner place (although it’s not on a corner) with cheap cold beer, pretty and nice bartenders, an awesome pub grub menu, and a decent jukebox well stocked with solid un-ironic 80’s pop. There’s also one nice sized flatscreen which has been tuned to baseball every time we’ve been in.

Next time you’re driving by and idly wondering about the place, do yourself a favor and stop in. You’ll be glad you did.

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iBar is at 2118 Maryland Ave in Old Goucher/Charles North/Charles Village South/Whatever the hell you want to call it.

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