If The American Revolution Tavern and Rugby Pub ever held a slogan contest, an appropriate entry would be: "Give me rugby or give me death!"
Make what you will of the unusual merger of history and sports, but this upstairs-downstairs operation features a first-floor tavern evoking the colonial period and a sportier second-floor pub that also serves as a meeting room for the 75-member Chesapeake Bay Rugby Club.
Frankly confused, I called the manager of this new midtown bar, Gonzalo Jouan, for a sporting explanation. Himself a rugby player from Argentina, Mr. Jouan said that rugby-associated bars are actually quite common in other countries, though he knows of only a few similar set-ups in America. Home teams and their visiting opponents gather at such places for sudsy post-match analysis.
Easier to figure out is the bar name, The American Revolution, which the new ownership adopted from an earlier pub at the site. Most recently, this was a post-punk bar called The Rev, which picked up some of the late night flotsam drifting over from The Depot and Club Charles.
As you'd expect from the locale, there is still eclectic traffic in and out of here. But the place has already become a magnet for a sporty prep crowd that looks like it has kicking acquaintance with rugby, football and soccer.
What really does seem odd for a bar in this ripped denim, hipper-than-thou midtown bar zone is the colonial treatment given the first-floor restaurant and main bar. What with all the Revolutionary War-evocative decor hanging against exposed brick walls, shouldn't this tavern be in Fells Point?
Upstairs, the rugby trophies, photographs and uniforms are clustered around a bar. It's a game start, but more is needed by way of memorabilia. Also on the sporting front, the dart boards up here see Wednesday night league use. And rock and jazz bands play here Friday and Saturday nights.
Other targeted nights are the Tuesday ladies night with two-for-one drinks, a Thursday Rugby Night with all you can drink draft beer for $7 from 9 p.m. to midnight, and a Sunday Bloody Mary Day with a 16 oz. drink for $1.25. Ah, so that's what the movie "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" was all about.
The American Revolution Tavern and Rugby Pub
Where: 1818 Maryland Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday.
Menu: appetizers, salads, sandwiches.
Credit cards: Diners, MC, V.
Call: (410) 685-4665.