It isn't all about tradition


July 23, 2008|By Elizabeth Large

Harbor East's Teavolve (1401 Aliceanna St., 410-522-1907) has opened, and it's so much not a traditional tearoom. First of all, by the time you read this, Teavolve should have a liquor license. Co-owner Sunni Gilliam says she applied for one because she wanted to serve tea-infused and fresh-fruit-puree cocktails.

"We have to have it by Friday," she adds. "We have a party of 200 coming in for cocktails."

The new place is more of a lounge and much bigger than the first location, which is now open only for private parties of 20 or more. Features like the wall of windows and exposed pipes give Teavolve 2 a modern industrial feel, but it still has the Zen-like quality of the original space.

The teahouse offers 48 loose-leaf teas, both hot and iced. There are more coffee drinks, and tea as well as coffee lattes. The menu has been expanded to include small plates such as hummus and caprese salad to go with cocktails, as well as the sandwiches and salads of the original place.

There's still a bit of a traditional tearoom left. Afternoon tea with all the bells and whistles is available by reservation only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hours are 8-ish to 8-ish (a bit later on the weekends), seven days a week.

THE GRAPEVINE Wine Me Up (61 1/2 E. Main St., 410-857-1511) in Westminster is an unusual combination: It calls itself a retail wine shop and tavern. You can buy a bottle of wine to go, or you can drink it on the premises with something from the light-fare menu such as a cheese platter, gourmet pizza, baked brie or one of four different kinds of bruschetta. Wines by the glass and a small selection of beer are also available. The small space can seat about 35 people.

MORE ALCOHOL As long as we're talking bars, Neel Kamal, owner of Sizzling Bombay (2108 Emmorton Road, 410-569-0148), the Indian restaurant in Abingdon, has opened a martini bar in the back of his restaurant called the Flames Lounge. (OK, there's a fire theme going here.) It has leather furniture and low tables, and "adult" martinis, which means, I gather, that they aren't too sticky sweet. There's a Key Lime Martini, for instance, that's billed as "tart and refreshing."

GOOD MORNING, IRENE People keep asking me what's happening with Miss Irene's, the Fells Point bar at 1738 Thames St. that was supposed to become a 200-seat Mediterranean bistro. If it seems to be taking forever (I first wrote about it here last August), it is. But the partners involved got an extension on the transfer of the liquor license this month, and it looks now as if Miss Irene's actually will open - perhaps as early as September.

COMPUTER TROUBLE If you had a hard time getting to the list of restaurants participating in Howard County's Restaurant Weeks (until Aug. 3) through the county's official Web site, the Howard County Tourism Board has sent me the address of an easier-to-navigate site: These are the places offering a three-course, fixed-price meal for $20.08 (lunch) and $30.08 (for dinner).


Check out restaurant critic Elizabeth Large's daily blog ( for restaurant news and notes and reader feedback. Don't miss Top 10 Tuesdays.

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