Great News From the Liquor Board for North Baltimore

If you’re not on Twitter, you probably should be. It’s as fun as Facebook is tedious and in terms of functionality it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to the Web since email. Twitter is a great tool for making friends, reaching out to people who might otherwise be out of reach, and especially for knowing about things well before the non-tweeting public knows about them. Anything that’s worth repeating hits Twitter before it hits the news, which is part of the reason that most in the media are so obsessed with it. Everything from major world news events to baseball scores is reported on Twitter first.

If you are on Twitter you should click one of those little follow buttons below to follow @BaltoBeerBaron. From his seat as the chairman of the Baltimore City liquor board, Steve Fogelman has long been in the habit of tweeting both liquor board dockets as well as the results of hearings in real time. Many of these hearings tend toward the ordinary: an extension request here, a request for outdoor seating there. But on Thursday last week The Beer Baron announced two pieces of very good news for North Baltimore.

By way of background: Meet 27 was formerly the 1.7th Generation karaoke bar. In 2010 Richard D’Souza reinvented the space as a restaurant (and an excellent one at that, if we may say so) but was forced to manage the dining room as a BYOB operation while undergoing a three year legal battle with the Remington Neighborhood Alliance who protested Meet 27’s liquor license transfer on some very dubious grounds. More information in this post from 2012 on North Baltimore Patch.

The RNA, and its vice president Joan Floyd should probably just move out of Remington. They don’t seem to like it there very much and are little more than a small cadre of paranoid NIMBY’s with outsized influence and a history of baseless opposition to positive neighborhood development. This blog has nothing but contempt for Floyd and her ilk, and short of moving out of Remington they should all just drop dead.

It’s a small miracle that Richard D’Souza was able to stay in business for three years not only without a liquor license, but with the added strain of fighting busybodies in the special appeals court. It’s a testament to the quality of Meet 27’s food, service and ambiance that they were able to stay afloat while fighting for the license that is rightfully theirs. We have no doubt that what’s already a great restaurant will only improve going forward.

Meet 27 is great, but if we’re being honest we haven’t eaten there as often as we’d like. That’s going to change very soon.

While we like the idea of BYOB restaurants in theory, in practice we just don’t patronize them as often as places with a full bar. While it’s easy and fine to bring along a bottle of wine or a six pack on a dinner date, BYOB places are less than ideal for meeting friends or for popping into the bar for a quick bite. Given the choice between Meet 27 and nearby spots like One World Cafe, the Dizz or Rocket to Venus, we haven’t been choosing 27 because you can’t get a beer with dinner. Now that you can, it’s bound to become one of the best neighborhood bars in the city, in addition to being among the best restaurants.

If you’ve never been inside Meet 27, it’s mostly unchanged architecturally from 1.7th Generation, which was more bar than restaurant. So they have a very nice, big physical bar in a distinct space from the dining room, a picture of which can be seen in the Patch article. Finally stocking that bar with bottles is truly cause for celebration.

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In other news, our own neighborhood of Waverly is about to receive a major improvement. The Peabody Heights brewery which is home to craft beers such as the Raven and Full Tilt has been operating very quietly since it set up shop at 30th and Barclay. Unlike Woodberry’s Union Brewing, which regularly opens its doors for tours, growler fills and events ranging from parties to movie nights complete with music and food trucks, the brewery at Peabody rarely hosts any sort of visitors at all.

It’s been somewhat frustrating to walk by so often and see an entrance marked ‘Tasting Room’ and know that it’s not open to the public.

Except now, presumably, it will be. The grant of a brewery license allows for a bar on the site, meaning Peabody Heights can finally take its rightful place among other great Waverly weekend attractions like the farmers’ market, Pete’s Grille and Normal’s Books and Records. We’re looking forward to it.