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Beatnik Bar and Restaurant opens with great deals for Artscape

July 19, 2013

beatnik2I saw the best minds of my generation wandering through the angry streets at 10 P.M. looking for a drink and a bite to eat. Now all the angel-headed hipsters have another place to hang.

We noted in this week’s Comings & Goings that the Beatnik Bar and Restaurant (2101 Maryland Ave., [410]  400-0022, has opened up beside Club K. As we were making our pre-Artscape rounds last night (Thursday night is actually the best night of Artscape as artists frantically try to get their shit set up), we decided to stop in for a cold one, and let me tell you, for a place which just opened its doors and is called Beatnik, they had their shit massively together.

First, it’s a surprisingly cool looking (and cool, at least last night) space that a companion described as “downstairs Brewer’s Art mixed with W.C. Harlans.” That’s not a bad initial descriptor but it has more of a gritty downtown feel than either of those joints, in a good way.

There are a few different beers on tap and an impressive lists of cocktails. In the cheap beer category, they decided to do something other than Boh and Yuengling and settled on Heinnieweisse, a New York beer that tastes a lot like Genesee, and Session (during Artscape both are only $2 each from 6-10 P.M.–a hard deal to beat).

“We wanted it to be a bar in the neighborhood that is not a venue, where you can just hang out,” Grant Shprintz, one of the managers said. And it is that kind of place. There are half a dozen seats at the bar, a couple loveseats by the door, and a back room with a few tables. Conversation came easy and patrons at the bar discussed food and drinks with one another. They’ve got a jukebox, but at the moment there are no cards, so it would be like playing Russian Roulette with your quarters. Shprintz says that Friends records is going to supply their whole catalog and they plan to fill it up with a lot of other local music.

photo(15)After a couple Heinnieweisse, we decided to try the food. We normally give restaurants a couple weeks before we review them, so this is not a review (besides, these are the guys who run Bohemian and I’ve written about art there and they recognized me when I walked in, so I wouldn’t be a fair reviewer, but I was hungry). And, in a non-formal review kind of way, I have to say the food was fucking incredible. The pork belly tacos with kimchi and a fresh cucumber on house made tortillas were the perfect snack, with the right balance of crisp, smooth, heat and cool. The lychee fruit was a great palate cleanser (and yo, Chris La Martina, if you need it to look like somebody’s eating eyeballs in one of your flicks, lychee is the fruit for you!). There were also chicken wings, but my drinking buddy got to those before I ever got to try them. Which was a fair enough trade for me, because that meant I got the sublime quail egg. They also have chicken feet.

During Artscape all individual plates of food are $4 and the the chef’s plate, which contained all of the above, which is normally $12 will be discounted. Chef Gerri Mak can make the chef’s plate to order–if you want it all vegetarian, he can do it up for you, for instance (and everything is gluten free)–but it’s best to let him bring you what he’s feeling. At least that worked for us.

Beatnik is a serious place and in a perfect location as Station North begins to extend up towards Remington and Charles Village. It’s likely where we’ll be spending a lot of our Artscape downtime.