If happy hour marks a release from the 9-to-5 office routine, what happens when seemingly the whole office shifts over to the same bar?
You can get a pretty good idea over at Michael's Cafe in Timonium, which in recent months has attained CEO rank among happy-hour watering holes.
This is very much a white-shirt-and-tie crowd at happy hour, with many of these prosperous people comfortably into their 40s and 50s. And the happy hour itself stretches out to accommodate their varied and busy schedules, running as it does weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The layout -- a central bar island ringed by booths -- gives you plenty of meet, greet or just-glance options. Your eyes also will no doubt scan the walls covered with autographed photographs and memorabilia of sports and entertainment celebrities collected by owner Michael Dellis. Heck, he's even got Roberto Duran's robe and a Tyson/Spinks jacket framed under glass. The mildly sporting ambience is enhanced by several TV sets that will soon see much Monday night use for football games.
But nobody would ever mistake this place for a sports bar. The clientele is typified more by the workaholic trying to relax than by adrenalin-pumped youths. Dress code-wise, this means jeans are OK, but about as casual as one would dare get. Even as the midnight hour approaches, expect to see plenty of guys still in ties. Do they wear their red ones to bed, or what?
Michael's Cafe has long been around, but an extensive renovation late last year virtually turned it into a new place. It is neatly divided into a restaurant on one side of the building and a bar on the other. In fact, the quasi-sports bar is a completely new addition built on the site of an open-air pit-beef operation.
In keeping with the design makeover, the cafe has gone from a blue-collar customer base to yupscale professionals who would not even consider visiting the prize pigs and farm queens at the Maryland State Fair currently under way just across York Road.
Where: 2119 York Road, Timonium.
Hours: 10 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.
Menu: crab cakes, steaks, pasta, raw bar.
Credit cards: AE, MC, V.