Tag Archives: Hiding in plain sight

Chop on the Spot: Griffith’s Tavern

Part of the appeal of any neighborhood bar is being in a spot where “everybody knows your name,” but as we discussed in a previous post, a little anonymity can go a long way sometimes. There are times when a man wants a little solitude; not too much, just an hour or so to sit in the dark, not be bothered, have a drink and be alone with his thoughts.

It’s at times like these- these blessed, quiet hours, that you might find the Chop in Griffith’s Tavern with a cold draft and our phone turned off, hiding in plain sight. Griffith’s is truly the best of both worlds- the place where the bartender will learn your name and your drink, but where you’re guaranteed not to run into anyone you’d rather not run into.

Griffith's Tavern... the bar that time forgot.

In a way, hiding in plain sight is what Griffith’s does best. It sits there right on Hickory, just a block up from the Avenue smack in the dead-center of Hampden proper. It’s still pretty easy to miss though, being as non-descript as a bar can be. There’s comparatively little traffic passing that corner, and even some of the Hampden locals who pass the place on foot mistake it for being either a private club of some sort, or being closed down entirely. The small sign with business hours posted is the only clue that it’s actually a functional bar. Being attached to the back of a rowhouse, with solid steel doors and tiny, barred windows the place is willingly uninviting from the exterior.

On the interior, it’s nothing less than the bar that time forgot. Stepping inside the door is literally like stepping back in time. Wood paneling is the predominant theme, accented by a nicotine-stained drop ceiling, an ancient, never-refinished wooden bar, and a Bud Light clock over the video poker machine which looks to date from about 1985. One flatscreen TV jammed up in the corner is the only nod to modernity.

The flashback continues behind the bar, where you’ll see a few things that are tough to find in some bars these days; glass-door coolers with cans of Busch, pints and half pints of liquor for carry-out, snack food and a “medicine cabinet” stocked with singles of Tylenol, Advil, and Bayer, which come in handy in the kind of bar that opens at 9 am and has no food menu. There’s even an old coffee pot behind the bar.

Of course, the regulars at Griffith’s don’t notice anything being out of date, because that’s just the way things have always been. Griffith’s caters to Hampden’s last genuine Hons. We’re not talking about the neck-tattooed, Newport-breath, recovery program ‘Hons’ you find in Zissimo’s or Dmitri’s either. Griffith’s is like the beauty parlor; the place your mom and your aunt get together to gossip about the neighbor’s kids. A $2.50 draft is cheaper than a perm. Much like a salon or a barbershop, the conversation here is general. Anyone can take the floor and put in their two cents at any time, and not be thought rude for doing so. Or you can just sit back and listen. You don’t even have to listen that long before you hear a few good digs at the expense of a certain Hampden restaurateur.

Griffith’s may not be the best choice for Saturday night. It’s not the bar you pick to meet a friend for dinner. If you’re looking to flirt or meet someone, you’re definitely in the wrong place. But if what you seek is a cold beer and a peaceful hour, enjoyably spent then there may be no better bar in Baltimore.

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There Goes the Neighborhood…

Hey, you all know by now that we’re pretty liberal. We’re all about Human Rights and respecting sovereignty and due process and all that jazz. But our country just shot Osama bin Laden in the face and you know what? We couldn’t be more pleased about it. Cause seriously, fuck that guy. He may have been a human being and all, but he was literally the worst person in the world. If he had a grave, we’d gladly dance on it. We’d piss on it. We’d dance in piss- even though that’s pretty gross. Yes, we’re laughing at dead-Laden, and we’re the good guys.

Because when you think about it, it’s quite funny. He was buried at sea which is funny in and of itself. It’s especially funny since he was not cremated first, so it’s entirely possible that he could turn up in a fishing net sometime, or wash up on the beach a la Weekend at Bernie’s. Osama might even get eaten by a shark. Imagine that… a shark chomping on bin Laden, with the turban getting stuck in its teeth. Hi-larious.

The funniest part though is that he was just chilling in the suburbs. It got us thinking… Who else is just hanging out in Suburbia?

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa. When people think of mob-related activity and big time union bosses, they usually just assume everyone involved is Italian, but Hoffa’s people were actually Pennsylvania Dutch. When the shit hit the fan, old Jimmy probably just fucked off to Amish Country. It’s a little more believable than being buried under the end zone at Giants Stadium, isn’t it? No telephones, no electricity, no nothing. It’s the easiest place in the world to hide. Sure, he’d be 98 years old by now, but clean living agrees with a man. Brother Jimmy’s probably hanging out in Lancaster County, eating shoefly pie and raising barns yet.

DB Cooper

DB Cooper. DB Cooper was hijacking planes way back when bin Laden was a beardless pip in a madrasa somewhere. Cooper boarded a plane with a bomb at PDX in 1971 and received a $200,000 ransom before parachuting to the ground and evading detection for evermore. Cooper landed somewhere in the woods of the Pacific Northwest and hasn’t been seen since. While he never achieved the notoriety of Ronnie Biggs, we doubt he’s been living in a Unabomber-style shack for all these years. The man knew his airplanes, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was hiding in the plainest sight of all with a second career as a TSA agent at Sea-Tac. After all, $200k isn’t much to retire on.

Elvis Presley

Elvis. Yes, Virginia, there is an Elvis Claus. Of Course Elvis is still alive. Of course he is. People see him all the time. The King has been sighted in every state in the union since his supposed “death” in 1977. The only possible explanation for this is that for whatever reason he turned into an RV enthusiast. We’re not saying that all those Elvis sightings are legit, but, you know, most of them probably are. Keep your eyes open next time you’re at a highway rest stop, a hokey campground or a NASCAR race. That crusty old loner with the sideburns just might be one true King of Rock and Roll.

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