There are so many pubs on East Cross Street opposite the South Baltimore municipal market that club-goers could literally crawl between them. And now there's a new kid on the block, Turner's, which, in the last five months, has tried to make a name for itself with a wacky assortment of theme parties and a neo-'60s ambience.
It has been a live-and-learn experience so far, bar owner Jim Turner concedes readily, as with the bar's recent pajama party: "People would not wear pajamas," he notes.
Nonetheless, that party gets a B for effort, what with the stuffed animals adorning the bar, the paper stars affixed to the ceiling and all the nursery-themed pillows and blankets hanging from the walls.
Although Turner's offers the usual inducements -- happy hour specials, Tuesday ladies night, Sunday night for the hospitality trade -- Mr. Turner gets most enthusiastic about his Thursday-night theme parties. Whether it's a beach party with sand dumped on the front sidewalk or a party honoring Elvis, he is an equal-opportunity theme party sponsor.
"We even did a drag show here," he says. "South Baltimore people who'd never been north of Montgomery Street came to see that drag show and their mouths were agape at the sight of guys dressed as women. And some of the guys dressed up as Marilyn Monroe or Barbra Streisand were local South Baltimore boys they never knew about."
He obviously means it when he adds that "all sexes and races" are welcome in his bar.
"During the day, people who hang out at the market drift over here. They come in to use the bathroom all day long. Later the crowd changes somewhat. It's a very strange mix of people -- old South Baltimore types and the newer Federal Hill crowd."
The purple neon sign in the bar's front window is a tip-off to the vaguely '60s feeling inside. Aural reinforcement is provided by a CD jukebox from which float strains of the Fifth Dimension proclaiming the "Age of Aquarius" and the Beatles indulging in their mind-altering "Sgt. Pepper" phase.
And while you're here don't forget to check out the back of the room, where local artists hang their work.
Where: 12 E. Cross St., Federal Hill.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.
Menu: mussels and steamed shrimp to be available in near future.
Credit cards: AE.