John Steven Ltd. is like many other Fells Point bars in some ways. True to its neighborhood, the bar itself is a massive affair that must have kept a wood carver busy for weeks. Overhead, the pressed tin ceiling and gently whirring fans are also remiJohn Steven Ltd. is like many other Fells Point bars in some ways. True to its neighborhood, the bar itself is a massive affair that must have kept a wood carver busy for weeks. Overhead, the pressed tin ceiling and gently whirring fans are also reminders of just how old this waterfront community is. Add in the requisite antique and just plain odd bric-a-brac covering the walls and you immediately get that funky Fells Point feeling.
But if this place has been funkier than most in its 13-years-going-on-forever, it goes beyond having all the right elements for any self-respecting bar with an address on Thames Street. It also helped that John Steven Ltd. usually seemed to be a trend ahead of the other guys, as when the raw bar was done over as a sushi bar, or when they went CD here with a classical and jazz repertoire rather than the usual Fells Point mix of folk, blues and rock.
And they're not stopping with their Mozart-and-mussels strategy. Now this popular bar has added a restaurant and an outdoor patio to give us a bit more elbow room.
The bar bought a private residence next door and has just finished turning it into a small restaurant with a fireplace and other homey touches. John Steven, which has always known what to do with seafood, now gets a chance to show how it will deal with sandwiches, salads, pasta and soups. The restaurant portion also contains a modest bar, which should prove useful when the main barroom is hosting a convention of regulars.
Earlier this summer, John Steven transformed what had been the Federal-era private residence's side yard into a brick-walled outdoor patio. It's a secluded and relaxing spot that you'll really appreciate on those nights when every narrow bar in Fells Point seems packed and the streets are full of boisterous bar hoppers.
Hidden on this patio, you can sit with your friends around an umbrella-topped table and actually hear what they're saying. What with a waitress at your beck and call, you could easily settle in here for a few months.
John Steven Ltd.
Where: 1800 Thames St., Fells Point.
Hours: 10 a.m.- 2 a.m. daily.
Menu: sushi bar, seafood, sandwiches, soup, salads, pasta.
Credit cards: not accepted.