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New CIA number two was once a Fells Point fixture

June 13, 2013
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CIA.svgYesterday, President Obama nominated Avril Haines to be deputy director of the CIA. Most people who have heard of Haines know her as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office who has often served as a bridge between the president and the intelligence community.

Here in Baltimore, we know her as the founder and co-owner of the once-awesome Fells Point bookstore, Adrian’s Book Cafe, which was located at 714 S. Broadway, where CapitolMac is now. The place won City Paper‘s “Best Independent Bookstore” in 1997. Here’s an excerpt of what we said then (sadly, not online):

This gem on Broadway is the antithesis of all those megabookstores taking over the burbs. Instead of thousands of titles, Adrian’s offers a small number of literary and eccentric offerings. Instead of a hip coffee bar staffed by surly art students, Adrian’s offers a full menu with pleasant table service.

As a story in the Daily Beast today points out, Adrian’s also held a regular “Erotica Night,” hosted by Haines, which included dinner, readings, and red candles.

Adrian’s and Haines were mentioned several times in City Paper. The deserts at Adrian’s were praised in our 1999 edition of EAT. And in a 1998 feature about onetime Fells fixture Steven Bunker, Haines was flagged as a potential local leader.

Bunker, for his part, seems eager to weigh anchor and shrugs off suggestions that he will be greatly missed. Fells Point has no shortage of good leaders, he says, naming Avril Haines, the former owner of Adrian’s Book Café, as an up-and-comer. (Haines, currently living in Washington, D.C., and attending Georgetown Law School, says she plans to return to Fells Point.)

She hasn’t returned to Baltimore yet, at least , as far as we know (she does work for the CIA), but maybe she’ll come back when she’s done with the cloak-and-dagger gig and reopen Adrian’s. Fells could use a good bookstore.