When it comes to seafood preparation, its seems like the culinary minds at Fifer’s Seafood have thought of just about everything. Every cooking method is fair game—broiling, deep-frying, steaming, and serving it up raw—as long as it enhances the natural sweetness and subtle flavor of each ingredient. They pile platters to the rafters with hand-peeled shrimp, flaky filets of haddock, and quarter-pound crab cakes, and they shuck fresh oysters and clams to pair with classic accoutrements and a squirt of lemon. Seafood even adds an extra punch to some of Fifer’s other options, such as Angus beef burgers crowned with housemade crab dip.
To complement these maritime feasts, bartenders serve pours of liquor and wine behind a tiki-style bar, which also features more than 15 beers on tap. Drinks in hand, diners gather around the dining room’s solid-oak tables, which are surrounded by aquatic décor and high-definition televisions broadcasting sports.
Though it has only been open since February 2013, Firehouse Pub has already established itself as a place with its own traditions. Free plays on the jukebox ring throughout the bar every Monday; on Wednesday and Friday, karaoke brings in the dulcet tones of patrons belting out their favorite songs. Each Thursday, corner pockets consume stripes and solids during free pool games in the billiards corner, where hanging flat-screen TVs keep players abreast of the latest sports and competitive woodworking coverage. The same goes for the TVs hanging above the bar, where bartenders pour wine, mixed drinks, shots, and domestic and imported beers. The rest of the time, Firehouse Pub welcomes an ever-changing lineup of live DJs and musicians to its main stage.
The allure of Bill Bateman's Bistro increases exponentially with a glance at the wide-ranging menu. Locally lauded for its superlative wings, Bill Bateman's Bistro's offers glazed poultry in a variety of sizes and sauces. Combine cuisines with 10 ($8.49) of the Sweet Thai Chili Wings, or firmly uphold winged tradition with 30 original buffalo wings ($22.99). Fifty Wings from Hell ($36.99) will sate the fire-deprived tongues of fearless wing devourers and can be ordered via a Ouija board that until recently was just a game. The shrimp-melt wrap ($10.99), jalapeñoed Heat Wave Burger ($8.99), and grilled-chicken-topped California Salad ($10.99) are but a few of the numerous bites capable of complementing the various cold draft beers. For the full rundown of possible palate pleasers, see the complete menu for each participating location: Parkville, Severna Park, Glen Burnie, and Reisterstown.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
Lisa Markiewicz lends more than her zen-like surname to the wine bar and lounge she recently opened in Mount Vernon. Her extensive knowledge of pan-Mediterranean cuisine—including grecian tapas and grecian lamb chops—informs the menu at Waterstone Bar & Grille, and her love of the region’s signature libation shines through in a drink menu that features more than 100 wines sold at retail price.
The restaurant’s chic lounge space, recently opened for lunch in addition to dinner, strikes a balance between Old-World elegance and the hipness of the Mount Vernon neighborhood that surrounds it. Exposed-brick walls give way to plum pastels—a contrast mediated by the gauzy black curtains draped over windows and doorways, and the restaurant's prime location puts theaters such as the Hippodrome, Lyric, and Centerstage within close walking distance.
The Life of Reilly Irish Pub & Restaurant recreates the feel of an Emerald Isle public house. Framed jerseys decorate an exposed brick wall opposite the bar, above which flat-screen TVs showcase the latest international rugby matches. The bar itself stocks an extensive selection of Irish whiskeys, and its 10 drafts spotlight classic Irish brews such as Guinness and Magners Irish Cider.
But the kitchen's head chef, Dale Fields Jr., hasn't forgotten he lives in Baltimore. Alongside fish and chips and shepherd's pie, he underscores regional classics including a melt comprised of two mini crab cakes served on toasted english muffins. He rounds out his menu with other pub staples such as chicken quesadillas, beer-battered buffalo shrimp, and steak fries smothered with cheese and bacon.