Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.
Print Email

Eat Feature

P is for Pub Grub

Peter's Inn · Simon's Pub · Duda's · Sobo Café · Koco's Pub · Kisling's · McCabe's · Dougherty's Pub · Charles Village Pub

Michelle Gienow

Eat Special Issue 1999

Alphabet Soup We know where we like to go for a good burger--and we'll bet you do too. Or a good omelet. Or a good...

A is for Appetizers The Helmand · Café Madrid · Henninger's Tavern · Café Zen · Grand Palace · Morgan Millard · Al Pacino Café · Sarah's Café · Iola Café

B is for Breakfast Jimmy's · Blue Moon Café · Golden West Café · Morning Edition Café · Helen's Garden Café · Hull Street Blues Café · Loco Hombre · Weber's on Boston · Suburban House

C is for Carry-out DiPasquale's · Cosmos · Rotisseria · Chow Mein Charlie's · Chokchai · Thairish · Caribbean Kitchen · Viccino's · Michaelangelo's · The Roost

D is for Dessert Vaccaro's · Cheesecake Factory · Adrian's Book Café · Moxley's · Louie's Bookstore Café · Coney Island

E is for Expensive Charleston · The Black Olive · Milton Inn · Polo Grill · Chart House · Oregon Grille

F is for Frugal Pete's Grill · Trolley Stop · Fazzini's Italian Kitchen · jr. · Rallo's · Mamie's Café · Caribbean Food Carry Out · Silk Road Café · Frisco Burritos · Winterling's · Valley View Inn · Fresh

G is for Guilty Pleasures Anne's Dari-Creme · Howard's Delly · Maria D's · Johnny Rockets · Thrasher's · Steak Out Express · New System Bakery · Krispy Kreme

H is for Happy Hour The Brewer's Art · Mick O'Shea's · Brass Elephant · Speakeasy Saloon · Calvert House · Nick's Inner Harbor Seafood Co.

I is for Incendiary Sushi Café · Ko Hyang · Joung Kak · Thai Landing · Sisson's · Café Tattoo · Austin Grill

J is for Java Needful Things · The Hidden Bean · City Café · Donna's · Empire Café · Xando · The Daily Grind

K is for Kids Friendly Farm · Hacienda Mexican Restaurant · Fuddruckers · Overlea Diner · Funk's Democratic Coffee House and Bistro · Mount Vernon Stable and Saloon

L is for Lunch Women's Industrial Exchange · Sascha's Daily · Mughal Garden · Akbar · Bombay Grill · Nate's and Leon's · Snyder's Cafe and Deli

M is for Meat Prime Rib · Shula's Steakhouse · Ruth's Chris Steak House · Alonso's · The Crease · Bill Bateman's · Lenny's · Attman's · Boomerang Pub

N is for New School Joy America Café · Spike and Charlie's · Sotta Sopra · La Tavola · Opa! · Viccino Bistro · Café Pangea

O is for Old School Haussner's · Tio Pepe's · Ikaros · Acropolis · Bo Brooks · Forest Diner · Angelina's · Kawasaki · Thai Restaurant · Perring Place Restaurant · Sanders Corner · Sabatino's · Matthew's Pizzaria 

P is for Pub Grub Peter's Inn · Simon's Pub · Duda's · Sobo Café · Koco's Pub · Kisling's · McCabe's · Dougherty's Pub · Charles Village Pub

Q is for Quirks Holy Frijoles · Ye Olde Malt Shoppe/Earl's Beauty Inn · Tamber's Nifty Fifties Dining · Captain James Landing

R is for Romantic Corks · Pierpoint · Banjara · Ambassador Dining Room · Tersiguel's

S is for Seafood Gunning's Crab House · Gunning's Seafood Restaurant · Faidley's Seafood · Legal Sea Foods · John Steven Ltd. · Anne Arundel Seafood · G&M Restaurant · Mo's Fisherman's Exchange · Bill's Terrace Inn · Bay Caf

T is for Tourists Waterfront · Hollywood Diner · Café Hon · Obrycki's · Bertha's · Lista's · McCormick and Schmick's · Wharf Rat · Gallery Sandwich Shoppe · Hard Rock Café · Planet Hollywood · ESPN Zone

U is for United Nations Restaurant · Silk Road · Braznell's Caribbean Kitchen · Orchard Market and Café · Ze Mean Bean Café · Saigon · House of Kabob · Desert Café · Restaurante San Luis · Little Havana · Café

V is for Vegetarian Golden Temple · Liquid Earth · One World Café · Wild Mushroom · Puffins · Sin Carne · Village Market

W is for Worth the Drive Captain Billy's · Captain John's · Cantler's Riverside Inn · Gabler's · Baugher's Family Restaurant · Rudy's 2900 · Olney Ale House

X is for XXL New No Da Ji · The Yellow Bowl · Micah's Cafeteria · Cactus Willie's

Y is for Yeast Baltimore Brewing Company · Big Sky Bread Co. · Stone Mill Bakery · Ellicott Mills Brewing Company · Capitol City Brewing Co.

Z is for ZZZ Sip & Bite · Double T Diner · Valentino's · Star Light Diner · Bel-Loc Diner · Gampy's · Nam Kang

Posted 2/24/1999

These days, when even the most humble watering holes are getting it together in the kitchen, it seems almost like damning with faint praise to characterize the cuisine at a bar--ahem, bar/restaurant--as "pub grub." But as fancy as the food gets, we still like the connotation of consuming it at a small table with a view of the taps and the TV. In a neighborhood-bar kind of town, we're glad so many neighborhood bars can not only serve up solid standards--your beef, your spuds--to soak up those drafts, but can get all gourmet on you and your microbrew-swilling self.

Tiny Peter's Inn (504 S. Ann St., [410] 675-7313) thinks big with its ambitious and expertly realized (and constantly changing) "world food" menu. Terrific atmosphere--dimly, romantically lit--and a hip but friendly crowd make this a place to linger, but come first for the food, which is fresh, delicious, and reasonably priced. Peter's menu cannot be predicted, but the filet mignon is always terrific, and there's generally some garlicky, ambrosial seafood over pasta offered, as well as chicken cooked in some interesting fashion, such as Jamaican jerk-style. Peter's Inn is sensitive to vegetarians and vegans as well, with entrées suitable to both diets always available; we like the Moroccan vegetable stew or anything with pesto. Whatever you get, don't miss the house special garlic bread.

Every neighborhood should have a pub like Simon's Pub (2031 E. Fairmount Ave. [410] 522-4477) in Butcher's Hill: low-key, inviting, and friendly, with terrific food at terrific prices. Standard pub grub (jalapeño poppers, fried calamari) is very good, but the menu really shines with such offerings as deliciously inventive quesadillas (the sweet-potato-and-corn version was to die for) and creative pasta dishes. In true pub fashion there is, of course, an extensive selection of beers on tap, including local brews.

Your surroundings need never be the limit of your experience, as a meal at Duda's (Thames and Bond streets, [410] 276-9719) proves. This hideaway looks to be your standard Fells Point bar, but a glance at the menu welcomes you to the world of a hearty, Mediterranean-style Greek salad, a blackened chicken breast robed in melted blue cheese, and enormous crab cakes that can hold their own against any served in those "seafood" restaurants. The fare may be haute but the prices aren't, and Duda's is thankfully devoid of attitude. That's why everyone eats here, from the most jaded locals to the most starry-eyed tourists.

OK, OK, Sobo Café (6 W. Cross St., [410] 752-1518) is more restaurant than pub. Though there is an actual bar where patrons can hang out and drink, Sobo's focus is more the warm, funky dining room and intelligent menu consisting of equal parts comfort food (mac 'n' cheese, chili, pot pie) and world cuisine (tropical fruit salsas, innovative pasta dishes). We understand how the arty but unpretentious vibe of the place gives a publike feel, though, since the Sobo is a spot for musicians and other creative citizens of South Baltimore to gather and hang out.

If Hamlet had dined at Koco's Pub (4301 Harford Road, [410] 426-3519), he'd have said, "Is it a crab cake or a softball? That is the question." Don't ask us how Koco's can afford to serve such a shell-free, lump-heavy specimen for what they charge. The taste is amazing too, spicy but creamy. This tiny bar barely has a kitchen, yet the gals therein turn out steaks, wings, sandwiches, steamed shrimp--all of it soul-satisfying and cheap. If you're not a regular, they'll make you feel like one after a couple of visits.

Pub lobster? Kisling's (2100 Fleet St. [410]327-5477), at the confluence of Canton and Fells Point, offers just that, with an affordable Thursday-night special on the tasty high-end decapod. When we visit, though, we usually stick to the less-ambitious (but no less tasty) stuff from the steamer, such as the top-notch shrimp, or the big burgers and outstanding fries. And they give you malt vinegar for your spuds at the table, which we appreciate.

We also appreciate a place where the chef takes a moment to walk through and ask if your dinner is all right. At McCabe's (3845 Falls Road, [410] 467-1000), we're always happy and we say so. The chef smiles gallantly, inclining his head, and murmurs, "Thank you." This Hampden hangout dishes up soups, sandwiches, salads, and daily specials that show ambition. The humble fried-fish sandwich is elevated here, and even the burgers taste special. Come early on weekend nights: The regulars pack the place, for camaraderie and bar food that's a cut above.

Dougherty's Pub (223 W. Chase St., [410] 752-4059) in Mount Vernon is notable for its relatively inexpensive drafts, but it's also got an extensive menu of cheaply priced burgers, sandwiches, salads, and heart-stopping appetizers (including such popular booze companions as potato skins, fried mozzarella, and chicken wings). Sample the fat, fresh-cut fries and daily specials; when it's available, try their crispy golden fish 'n' chips with your Bass or Guinness, for that authentic pub feel.

You'll find your share of college types at the Charles Village Pub (3107 St. Paul St., [410] 243-1611); after all, it's just a couple of blocks from Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus. But the CVP is first and foremost a neighborhood bar, populated by the diverse people who live in Charles Village. For eons, we've come here to down a few brews with friends and to soak up the suds with solid pub grub: burgers, ribs, and damn good steamed shrimp. You won't find anything fancy--the walls, tables, and benches have obviously seen the passage of time and so have many of the patrons--but it's comfortable. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Related stories

Eat Feature archives

More Stories

Price Point (3/3/2010)
EAT: City Paper's annual dining guide

Central (3/3/2010)

Harbor Area (3/3/2010)

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter