Tag Archives: Federal Hill

N is for Nick’s Fish House

I am an advertiser’s dream — short attention span and highly suggestible. So when I see a sign advertising half-price burger night and another for $1.50 Miller Lite, that is what I will order, even if I am in a fish place with lots of deliciousness on tap. Le sigh.

That said, my burger at Nick’s Fish House was delightful, cooked perfectly rare and served by the friendliest bartender I’ve met in a while, and all for $5.50. (That’s including the beer.)

Nick’s Web site hilariously describes the location as “the beautiful Middle Branch adjacent to the historic Hanover Street Bridge and just south of the Inner Harbor. ” I would call it a waterfront bar on the edge of the industrial section of South Baltimore, wedged between I-95 and the Port Covington Wal-Mart. Of course, if you want a place where you can dock your boat, I guess that’s where your bar has to be. (There are slips outside of Nick’s.)

The decor is beachy, stopping just shy of Jimmy Buffet-esque escapism, with pretty palm-frond looking fans circulating overhead and nice wood gleaming everywhere. This time of year, they have a great-looking Christmas tree, but obviously Nick’s is a summertime place. I scurried past the outer deck to get inside, but even so, there are precious few places in Baltimore with good outdoor dining and the sunsets out there in nice weather must be beautiful.

Because I was so overeager to order a burger, I had to ask for the menu after I ordered to check it out. I actually really like oysters, so I was disappointed in myself for obeying my cruel overlords, the Monday Night Specials signs, and not getting some briny goodness. Everything else was pretty typical bar food with a slant toward seafood. Prices skewed a touch high, but there are lots of daily specials, so if you choose judiciously, you’ll probably get out without too much damage. If a summertime kinda place left me this pleased in December, I’m sure I’d be floating on air


L is for Lime

Lime, a Federal Hill tequila bar, was hopping on Tuesday night. Annie and I snagged the last table in this tiny wedge of a restaurant. Table service meant backless stools and no free shot and a lime presented to bar patrons. Oh well, it’s Federal Hill, so small spaces are de rigeur. (Exception: the new oversized townhomes on Fort Avenue down the street from Lime. WTF? That block looks like a mouthful of oversized veneers ready to chomp away its teeny neighbors.) Voices and loud music bounce off the hard green walls so loudly that Annie and I had to shout across the table to hear each other. Perhaps I’m just too old for Federal Hill. Dumb kids and their rock and roll.

After perusing Lime’s enormous margarita and tequila list, Annie got a Hometown Girl, a pink concoction with passionfruit juice that she loves. I am a margarita purist who wants only lime, salt and tequila singing across my tongue. Lime’s Horny Frog was just that, silly name notwithstanding. I had two Horny Frogs since it was two-for-one night. (Nice service note: Annie, who is a very good girl, had only one drink and the server gave her half off.) Lime has great specials every night, so it’s never a splurge, which is nice in these economic end times.

While Lime’s drink menu goes on for pages, the food menu is about half a dozen items, a smart move for a small kitchen. Skip chips and salsa (nice but not special) and nachos (individual nachos carefully layered with toppings, not a big fun mess of condiments – really, what is the point of an elegant nacho plate?) and go straight for the chicken tacos (soft torillas and tender, juicy meat).

Wednesday is flip a coin night, where the bartender will flip a coin and patrons who correctly call it in the air get a $1 drink. That’s a fun promotion, and Lime is a fun place. If they just hung some rugs on the walls or glued foam rubber to the bottom of the tables to get the decibel level down, I’d be sold.

Now you whippersnappers get off my damn lawn. My damn e-lawn, anyhow.

C is NOT for Carlyle Club, Charlotte’s, Coburn’s

According to Dining@Large, the Carlyle Club on University Parkway and its sister restaurant Spices in The Colonnade have been shuttered. (Both are supposed to reopen — Spices under a different name — but in the Economic End Times, I’ll believe it when I see it.) I’m sad because both these places figured prominently in my birthday 2007. My dad’s birthday is just a few days away from mine, so we usually do a big family dinner out. At Spices, my mom had a very strong drink, I had two very strong drinks and my dad had very strong three drinks. My dad was pleasantly and hilariously buzzed throughout the meal at Carlyle Club while my mom acted like a put-upon sitcom wife the whole time. They were pissed and pissy, respectively. It was like having dinner with Karen Walker and Deborah Barone.

According to Midnight Sun, Charlotte’s in Federal Hill is a) defunct and b) changing hands. Way behind on that one — how can all these wine bars in Fed Hill go haywire? The Vine, Junior’s, Charlotte’s? Yuppies love them some wine on weeknights! It allows them to believe they are more removed from college than they actually are. And some of the deals were phenomenal.

According to my friend Polly who lives in Canton, Coburn’s on the Square has closed. The greatest thing that ever happened to me there is that once I was seating in the picture window in the front and a bar fight (well, bar-adjacent fight) occurred on the sidewalk immediately in front of me. It was sort of like this. And then on the way out, a guy I knew walked into a parking sign. So I will miss Coburn’s not for its beer or its horrible crowding, but for the slapsticky sidewalk hijinks.