Leadbetter's retains its scruffy, funky atmosphere in Fell's Point

NIGHT LIFE

March 08, 1991|By Mike Giuliano

Leadbetter's Tavern

Where: 1639 Thames St., Fell's Point.

Hours: 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, noon-2 a.m. Wednesdays to Sundays.

Menu: Steamed shrimp, pit beef and ham sandwiches on weekends.

Credit cards: AE, MC, V.

Call: 675-4794.

Although the original atmosphere down in Fell's Point came frothose decades-old sailor bars and the bred-in-Baltimore eccentrics who graced the waterfront neighborhood, there was a later infusion of funkiness in the hippie era.

Leadbetter's Tevern, a Thames Street bar, founded in the '60s, is an example of the latter: Named for the legendary blues guitarist Huddie Leadbetter back when the folk music revival was booming, it has a shaggy pedigree that nobody who has entered the bar would doubt. Step inside nowadays, and you'll ** walk right past acoustic guitarists playing some of the same songs you would have heard here back in longhair days.

Scruffiness is a virtue in such a bar. If the floor seems well worn, then the bar stools make a perfect accompaniment. Metal-studded blue jeans take their toll on bar stool seats, that's for sure.

Bars in Fell's Point are casual by definition, but Leadbetter's manages to be even more casual than the norm. That means nobody will look askance if your jeans have a rip or your flannel shirt is worn at the elbow.

And once you've elbowed up to the bar, you'll find an adequate selection of domestic and imported beers that won't overwhelm you the way name-dropping beer listings can at some of the neighboring pubs; tap selections include a house lager.

The spirit of vintage rock, folk and bluegrass seems to fill this place. Solo and duo acoustic guitarists play here most nights of the week, dutifully responding to requests for tunes by the likes of Jim Croce and Neil Young. Surely Jim Morrison's spirit must be hanging about, too.

On tap tonight is solo guitarist Kevin Scott, and tomorrow night the duo Protege performs.

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