Tag Archives: Happy Hour

Tomorrow: Charles Street Friday Market @ Charles & Lanvale

The Chop has always has decidedly mixed feelings about farmers’ markets. We’re certainly glad they’re there… no doubt about that. At the same time though, we don’t actually go out to them and buy produce as often as we probably ought to.

We like the Waverly market quite a lot, but it ends at noon and quite frankly if we’re waking up at 10:30, getting dressed and running out to buy vegetables isn’t always at the top of our priorities list, especially if we’ve still got to go into Giant for items not available outside. That’s the reason it took us so long to get to the JFX Farmers’ Market, and now that we’ve been, well, we’re in no rush to go back. The JFX market is just the right mix of dirty hippies, snotty yuppies, oblivious children, and a 30-deep line for coffee to make it equal to about the 5th level of hell.

Charles Street Friday Market combines two classic Baltimore pastimes: buying produce and drinking in the street.

The new Charles Street Friday Market might be a little more up our alley. First of all, we don’t have to roll our ass out of bed at the crack of 9 am to get there on time. The Lanvale Street location is just about perfect for being close to home and central, but not blocking up Friday rush hour traffic, and being in Station North (we suspect) will draw a better mix of people than some other area markets.

We were out of town last Friday for the inaugural setup of the Friday Market, but we expect it will have everything the JFX offers, only on a decreased scale. We’re looking for tomatoes and corn and spinach and asparagus… the hula hoops and baubles and scented soap are none of our concern.

But perhaps the best thing going for the Friday market is that they’ve got the one thing we may love more than coffee… beer. The market is sponsored by Frederick’s Flying Dog Brewery, and you can even sip on an Old Scratch or a Snake Dog while you’re shopping. In addition, the Metro Gallery will open its doors at 3 pm with happy hour specials, and is also now featuring a carry out license for beer and wine.

The combination of a farmers’ market and a happy hour isn’t just clever, it’s one of those ideas that’s so ingenious that we didn’t even know we needed it in our lives until someone invented it. As if you weren’t doing enough good by supporting local farms and brewers, a portion of the market’s sales will go to benefit League of Dreams, which helps children with developmental disabilities get involved with baseball and softball throughout the area. It’s not just win-win, it’s win-win-win.

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Charles Street Friday Market runs from 3-8 pm every Friday in the unit block of Lanvale Street.

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House Rules: 2 for 1 Happy Hour and the New Math

In many ways, there’s no better bar special out there than the two for one happy hour. Unless you’re going to feed us some free tasty food, getting twice the drink and half the check is pretty hard to beat.

Perhaps the greatest thing about it though, is the new math. When you buy a drink for a friend, sometimes the 2 for 1 actually pays the dividends of a 3 for 1. Bear with us here: what we’re about to say might not make much sense, or it might blow your mind.

Have your beer, drink it too, and get another one into the bargain. The new happy hour math.

One of the recurring themes in our personal life this year has been the notion of trying to have your cake and eat it too. We’re convinced that with careful study and attention to detail that this is often possible, and that it’s one of the great keys to a life well lived. We’ve spent the better part of this year really concentrating on how to avoid making trade-offs in life, and so far it’s been working out pretty well for us.

A two for one happy hour is obviously one of the easiest ways to have your cake and eat it too. You can literally sip one drink while the other one sits on the bar. Giving it to your friend though, or anyone nearby, is a much better move. When you do this you’re actually buying 3 drinks: yours, your friend’s, and the one your friend will give you on the next round.

Granted, he’s technically purchasing that last one, but he is obligated. During a non-happy hour, the obligation might still be there, but it wouldn’t be quite so strong. There are plenty of situations in which you can accept a drink with polite thanks and not be on the hook to respond in kind, but during happy hour, when they’re pouring them two at a time, there’s no excuse for not giving back that second drink.

For just the price of a single drink, you’ve received your first drink, bought your friend a drink, and put him on the hook for your next round. That’s three drinks. It’s even better than having your cake and eating it too, and it works both ways. Your buddy is also getting three for one, after a fashion. It’s something to keep in mind the next time you’re in one of our favorite bars with a two for one happy hour, like George’s or the CVP.

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Pratt Contemporaries Happy Hour @ Central Library Branch Tonight

Remember the first time you saw Ghostbusters? If you’re like us you were about 5 or 6 and you were riveted to the screen right from the opening credits. You could not wait for them to catch a ghost. And the first legitimate ghost hunt they went on in that movie was at the main branch of the New York Public Library.

Little five year old Chop was standing on the couch at that point, action figures in hand and yelling “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” And when they made their way down into the depths of the basement and all those stacks where nobody ever gets to go- where the whole of human wisdom is collected and gathering dust, we just kept thinking: Damn that’s cool.

You never know what you might find in the sealed off parts of a library.

Ever since then we’ve been waiting for our chance to poke around in the cavernous recesses of a giant municipal library. Tonight, that chance has arrived. The Pratt’s Central Branch is hosting a happy hour and tour this evening from 6-8 pm.

We’ve always been of the opinion that pound-for-pound, Baltimore stacks up quite favorably to NYC. That’s true of central library branches as well. There are hours upon hours of exploration at the Cathedral Street branch as just an ordinary visitor. Tonight’s tour will be guided by the people who know the Pratt best- its librarians, and represents a chance for a rare behind-the-scenes look at some of the most interesting and historic materials in their collection.

Plus, there’s FREE BEER. They don’t call it happy hour for nothing, and beer and wine will be made available to visitors during the tour. Perhaps as rare as some of the materials on view is the chance to talk in a library, and there will be some of that too. A great chance to mix and mingle with fellow readers, tonight’s event is courtesy of the Pratt Contemporaries. Not your grandma’s library boosters, the Pratt Contemps are the same group of book lovers who’ve brought you events like the Black and White Ball and Brunch with Ira Glass. You can even follow them on Twitter.

Of course, if you want to take it a step further you can join for yourself, too.

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House Rules: Free Food for Happy Hour

The Chop is jumping on the Bolt Bus and heading up to New York for a party tonight. As much as we’re loathe to admit that any city anywhere has some advantage over Baltimore, and especially New York City, we can’t deny that there is one aspect in which the Big Apple is thoroughly and completely superior: free food at happy hour.

The tradition of free food at happy hour traces back to some time of yore in some place that we don’t really feel like Googling right now. However it is mentioned in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906) in a scene in which Jurgis is low on money and chooses to go to the bar and buy whiskey in order to enjoy the free meal being served with it.

Rudy's in Hell's kitchen has been giving away hot dogs for decades and hasn't gone broke yet. Baltimore bar owners, please take note.

The Jungle is set in Chicago, of course, but we believe the tradition of free food to have originated in Manhattan, probably in bars with specific ethnic clienteles who all enjoyed specific ethnic foods. Rudy’s Bar in Hell’s Kitchen has made itself famous nationwide as ‘the place that gives away free hot dogs all day every day’, and any New Yorker who is hungry or broke or both can easily pull up many lists of plenty of bars which are more than happy to feed customers for free during happy hour. And we’re not just talking wieners here; these bars are serving up everything from dogs and burgers to wings, hummus, cheese plates, pasta dishes and even bagels and brunch spreads on Sundays.

In an era when people are as thirsty as ever and still feeling the lingering effects of the Bush Economy, free food at happy hour makes perfect sense. Baltimoreans are always quick to embrace a deal, and a local bar scene in which taverns compete not on the basis of who can throw the best dance party or tap the most microbrews, but who gives away the best and most food is a winning situation for everyone.

If Baltimore wishes to hold onto its claim of being The Greatest City in America, we need to get our act together on the happy hour food giveaways.

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Tomorrow: On The Block Screening @ Windup Space

Okay, okay. Simmer down a little. We know you’re excited because you feel like it’s Friday, even though it’s only Tuesday, and instead of spending the rest of the week at work you get to spend it stuffing your maw with turkey or tofurkey, or good tawny port, and starting your Christmas shopping and laying around in sweatpants watching movies.

All of that is preferable to your job where you’re underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated. We get it. We know. But come tomorrow when it’s time to wash away the cares of the workweek with whiskey and gin, you’re not going to want to do it in just any bar. You’ll want to do it at the Windup Space.

On The Block screens at the Windup Space tomorrow night. 9 pm.

You already know that the Windup Space is the go-to spot for the very best in awful movies, and tonight the crew from Gutter Magazine has dug up a true cinematic gem for your viewing pleasure.

They managed to track down a VHS copy of On The Block, shot and released right here in Baltimore 20 years ago, and largely forgotten since. One look at this incredible trailer will convince you that this is something you need to see. Sex, drugs, vice, cops, drama, politics, depravity; On the Block gives the whole family something to be thankful for.

And that’s not all. Poppin’ Pietro spins for happy hour before Nikki Le Faye heats up the crowd with a burlesque routine from 8 o’clock until the feature begins at 9. Throw in drink specials and no cover for the night, and this is bound to go down as one of the highlights of the entire holiday season.

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Windup Space is located at 12 W. North Ave. in Station North.

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Tim Barry, Josh Small @ the Ottobar Tonight

When Tim Barry played with Drag the River at Fletcher’s on Memorial Day Weekend of 2008, it was easily the best show in the history of that venue, and one of the best Baltimore shows of the decade. This is no hyperbole. The crowd consisted entirely of a who’s-who of local record collectors, musicians, indie media critics and other such arbiters of taste, and these two acts did not disappoint.

Even the most aloof and elite of scene types made no bones about being in a full on transport of musical reverie. It sort of felt like Christmas in the Rockefeller house in there. That’s how happy and excited everyone was.

Tim Barry and Josh Small play the Ottobar Upstairs today. 6 pm Doors.

For fans of stuff like Lucero, the Gaslight Anthem, and Paul Westerburg, the former Avail frontman, along with Suburban Home labelmate and sometimes collaborator Josh Small should definitely be worth sneaking out of work early for. And you might have to do just that, since their show at the Ottobar tonight is a happy hour set in the upstairs bar, very acoustic and intimate-like.

After all, there’s nothing better than some low-down, southern-fried songs about drinking heavily to start off the first full weekend back in town.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Doors at 6, Show at 6:30. $10, all ages.

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Chop on the Spot: George’s of Mount Vernon

You might be surprised to hear it, but the Chop fully approves of hotel bars.

Most often we find ourselves in one when we’re overseas. Many times hotel bars are the cream of the crop, and some countries’ bars are found to be so wanting that the hotel bar with the western visitors is the only place you can count on getting a decent drink poured and not have to put up with a lot of the unsavory things that are prone to happen overseas.

The clientele in a hotel bar is, obviously, mostly out-of-towners. They seem to be of a few certain types, which are easy to identify at the hotel, but are fairly rare away from it. There’s business travelers, who are pretty straight-laced, and then there are people who travel a lot for work, who aren’t what you’d call “businesspeople” and pretty much drink from the time the trade show closes until it opens again. There’s cougars and hospitality employees and tourists and even the Chop.

Geroge's is located inside the Peabody Court Hotel at the west end of Mount Vernon Square.

Sometimes the Chop needs a break. Sometimes we just get tired of Brewer’s Art and Dionysus. Sometimes we want to drink in a place that’s actually not a basement, and be served by someone in a tie and not a Dead Boys T-shirt. It’s times like this when we hie down to one of Midtown’s best kept secrets, George’s of Mount Vernon.

We’ve been to George’s a few times for dinner, and are never disappointed. The ambiance is hard to beat, the food is delicious and without pretense, and the service is much more personal and friendly than you’d expect in such a place. It also doesn’t hurt that the prices are set so that one can easily pick up the check on date night.

We didn’t get the full benefit of George’s though until we went there for happy hour. The bar in there feels more like home than any bar in the city. But not like your fixer-upper Hampden rowhouse… like a really, really nice home.

The 12′ ceilings, crown molding, 10 foot windows, chandeliers, and posh leather furniture all give the impression that you’re in the sort of place that Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein drank when they lived in Baltimore, and hell, maybe they did. There’s something nice about stepping back into the jazz age for an hour, and a stiff old-fashioned in this place will set you right. It’s just the thing to brace you up for the travails of modern life.

Best of all? George’s happy hour is Sunday- Friday, and all beer, glass wines and rail drinks are 2-for-1.

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George’s is in the Peabody Court Hotel, 101 W. Monument Street in Mount Vernon. (410) 727-1314.

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