Well-named Pint-Size Pub is a nice addition to Mount Vernon

ON NIGHTLIFE

January 11, 2007|By SAM SESSA

The name says it all. The trick with Liam's Pint-Size Pub is where to look for it.

Nestled underneath Kumari Restaurant on Charles Street, this cozy new Mount Vernon bar is a laid-back alternative to the bumping Red Maple nearby.

Owner Liam Flynn, a member of the Red Emma's collective, opened the bar last June. Originally from St. Louis, Flynn's a former merchant seaman with a faint Irish accent he picked up as a fisherman overseas.

FOR THE RECORD - Correction
Wanted to clear something up -- in a previous column, I identified Liam Flynn as the owner of Liam's Pint Size Pub. He's actually the bar manager.

The pub was a photography development business that begot Hal's Down Under, a karaoke joint with a counter instead of a bar, Flynn said.

When Flynn took over, he gutted the place and started fresh. He installed a new five-tap system, and another collective member built the bar from salvaged parts.

"People comment that it's like somebody's basement bar -- a nice one," Flynn said. "A lot of people that come in like it because it's a little more mellow than all the lounges and clubs and bars [near] here."

Small tables with metal legs and white marble tops sit in a side room. Flynn's fellow collective member David Scheper, who also has ironwork on display in Red Emma's, made them. In another bar -- maybe even another city -- they might have seemed out of place. But here? Why not!

The main space has a low drop ceiling with those freckly white tiles you might remember from middle school. Natty Boh memorabilia and other beer signs decorate the faux brick walls, and a poster with pictures of commodes titled "The Bogs of Ireland" hangs in the men's bathroom. (I'm told that "bog" is Irish slang for "toilet.")

One of the pub's main selling points is its great selection of cheap beer and liquor. Last week, Stella Artois, two Oliver ales, Yuengling and Bare Knuckle Stout were all on tap.

Side note: Made by Anheuser-Busch, Bare Knuckle Stout is a light, smooth beer with less character than most stouts. Flynn claims his pub sells more of it than any other Baltimore bar. Considering only a handful of places around town actually serve the stuff, he's probably right.

Three draft Yuenglings came to about $8, which is a rare find on a Friday night in Mount Vernon.

"I try and keep it pretty cheap because there's not much overhead," Flynn said.

The pub also favors whiskey over most other liquors. It stocks Pikesville Rye, a whiskey also served in Club Charles and the Mount Royal Tavern. My co-worker Gadi Dechter has a theory that only good bars stock Pikesville Rye, and so far, he's three for three.

Liam's also draws a friendly, forward crowd. When some friends and I went last week, we sat at one of the marble-topped tables in the side room at first. After about an hour, a half-dozen people at a larger table nearby hollered at us to join them. We grabbed a couple of empty chairs at their table and started trading drink tips.

Flynn said a large portion of his crowd works at other city bars and clubs and comes to his place to kick back after work or when they get a day off. That's the mark of a good pub.

Flynn also said he might consider moving to a different location with more space if the opportunity arises, but I hope he doesn't. I can't think of a cozier spot for a Pint-Size Pub.

Liam's Pint-Size Pub is beneath Kumari, at 911 N. Charles St. The bar is open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily. Call 443-742-2790 or go to pintsizepub.com.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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