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.
Only one person's musical taste matters to DJs Rich Scott and Tina Bussey: yours. Whether spinning at weddings or bar and bat mitzvahs, Rich and Tina lure partygoers to the dance floor with whatever music you want, be it '50s bee-bop or contemporary hip-hop.
While grooving among Progressive DJ & Karaoke's bubble and fog machines, backlit by vivacious light shows, or brandishing Elvis-inspired props, karaoke participants croon their favorite songs. Customized touches can even precede events thanks to Progressive's design imprint, which can generate personalized invitations, flyers, and signs for each soiree.
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.
Towering above the already-imposing 14-screen multiplex of Hoyts West Nursery Cinemas 14 is a luminescent globe encircled by a giant strip of film. It’s a sign of the theater’s mission to create an all-encompassing movie experience. Stadium seating inside every theater gives even the littlest family members undisturbed views of new releases, and digital sound systems broadcast musical numbers, high-tech explosions, and intercom requests to share your Skittles in crystal clarity. At the snack bar, traditional concessions are supplemented by made-to-order Uno pizzas.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
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.