Not that The Crease has official landmark status or anything, but this Towson restaurant-bar was the Ur-Yup bar when it opened in 1972. While there's no denying that the local courthouse, public library and nearby university gave some daytime value to the community, the night belonged to The Crease.
So imagine the shock waves that rumbled through the Baltimore County seat when The Crease was shut down by the Internal Revenue Service for non-payment of back taxes last April. Was this yet another sign that the upscale '80s had truly ended?
An up and mostly down saga ensued. The bar had a teasingly brief reopening in an attempt to pay some of the bills. Then The Crease folded, being completely shut down from July until its new owners brought it back to nightlife in October.
Those new owners -- David Rugolo, 23, and his 24-year-old brother Nathaniel -- have also brought their own youthful enthusiasm to the venture. And it doesn't hurt that their nursery was a barroom, Jerry's Belvedere Tavern, which is owned by their parents.
"You don't let something like The Crease go down the tubes," says David. Other than some refurbished woodwork and other sprucing-up jobs, he and his brother have kept The Crease looking almost exactly the same. "It's like the place was never closed down. We want to capitalize on what the place was and add to it."
The barroom is still that long, narrow, high-ceilinged room with just enough by way of old photos, stained glass and ceiling fans to make for a quasi-old fashioned setting for the youngish crowd. The DJs spinning a mix of Top 40 and progressive music still know that this gang wants to be hip, but not too far out. The parallel restaurant still has what David describes as a "New Orleans alley bistro look." And the enclosed patio out back still offers ample seating and a raw bar, but almost no character.
Although the menu has seafood and burgers similar to what was offered before, a menu overhaul has added lamb, veal and prime rib dishes.
The brothers' agreeable strategy of mixing the tried and true with the slightly unfamiliar makes you understand why they put so much stock in their motto: "Try us again for the very first time!"
Where: 523 York Road, Towson.
Hours: Dining room open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, bar open 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Menu: soups, salads, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, prime rib, raw bar.
Credit cards: AE, MC, V.
Call: (410) 823-0395.