Beginning to Explore
“Have I ever told you about the story of Dread Pirate George? No!? Well it goes something like this: a long time ago there was a man named George who lived in Baltimore. One day as he walked around the small port city of Baltimore, pirates invaded. They raped, killed, pillaged, and burned the town until they arrived at George’s house. George’s wife had already died, but his young daughter still lived with him. The pirates were intent on bringing her on board the pirate ship, but George intervened and told the pirates to take him instead. In order to protect his daughter’s virtue, George became a pirate. Over the years he traveled around the seven seas plundering, sailing through uncharted waters, and performing menial ship chores. He quickly rose through the pirate ranks to one day become a most fearsome pirate named Dread Pirate George. Twenty years later, he returns back to Baltimore and is reunited with his daughter. He then dies shortly thereafter, and his ghost is what makes the creaking noises in this apartment on Portugal Street.”
~Ariel Begun’s Origin Story of the Ghost in her Apartment
Last Thursday I went out to several bars and cafes in Station North, the area north of Penn Station. My roommates and I visited The Secret Bar in the back area of Charles Restaurant & Carry Out (2500 St. Paul Street). They had a special for Natty Bohs (Maryland’s very own National Bohemian Beer) and a shot of fireball whiskey for $5 or just $3 for the Bohs. It very much felt like a dive bar, and the man and cooks behind the counters seemed like they had some stories to tell whether it was about the Tikka Masala Pizza or how a bar came to exist in the back of a Indian Take-Out shop.
After a beer, we headed to The Crown (1910 N. Charles Street), which is a small bar and performance venue for shows. I really enjoyed how genuinely kind the bartender interacted with us as he squeezed lemon juice into a bowl. I enjoyed how the clientele seemed more hip and open, rather than the high-powered bro and young-working professionals scene in Fed Hill and Fells Point, like Max’s Taphouse (737 S Broadway) on a Friday night.
For some reason, I feel as if there’s a bit more character to an area beyond the exposed brick walls, counters, and cliched demographics who frequent these places. There’s something to be said that as people get comfortable, they tend to stop challenging themselves. This can lead to someone establishing a routine and visiting the same old bars, restaurants, venues, cafes, and streets because they make sense and seem familiar. It sometimes astounds me when visitors to my home area inform me about places that they explored simply they went out of their way to see them due to their limited amount of time here. I know some people who go directly from their homes to their work places and seldom venture anywhere else.
I’m not going to be able to find a community by staying in my workplace or in my house, but I can begin to build one in those places and then integrate those into pre-existing communities that are already established here.