If anybody has the right to unwind after work, it's all those under-stress medical professionals affiliated with the University of Maryland at Baltimore.
So don't be startled if someone wearing a white uniform pulls up the bar stool next to yours at the nearby Campus Inn. Instead, consider it an opportunity for free medical advice. This is, after all, the bar whose official motto is: "Where Professionals Make Conversation!"
The Campus Inn makes no bones about going for the UMAB crowd. There are even a mortarboard and diploma depicted on its bright yellow bar sign above West Pratt Street. And as if there were any doubt as to the bar's proximity to the campus, just look directly across the street to a monolithic parking garage that typifies the campus architectural style.
But don't assume the Campus Inn is only a place for people who talk about IV fluids while drinking beer. Construction workers from Oriole Park at Camden Yards drop in to soothe throats parched from having to repeat that lengthy stadium name. Local office workers and area residents also come to a place that is unpretentious to the point of plainness.
In that average-Joe spirit, there is a no-nonsense sandwich, sub, pizza and burger menu and basic brew selections. There are price breaks on Monday nights during football season, when draft beer specials and free hors d'oeuvres are featured. Wednesday nights are also a cost-saver, what with two-for-one drinks from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., free oysters while they last, and a DJ to spark the mid-week party spirit.
A further lure is the array of games, including a "Phantom of the Opera" pinball machine playing to the renewed popular interest in that story. Considering the recent Abell Foundation report about the biggest Broadway shows bypassing Baltimore, you may have to content yourself with this pinball version for now.
Where: 647 W. Pratt St.
Hours: 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday to Friday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Menu: sandwiches, subs, pizza, burgers.
Credit cards: AE, MC, V.
Call: (410) 547-1280.