Uninviting outside, snazzy inside

ON NIGHTLIFE

August 14, 2008|By SAM SESSA

So many brand-new bars look "meh" on the outside.

This is especially true in South Baltimore, where bar owners sink all kinds of money into renovating the interior but can't put a proper sign on the place.

It's a big turn off for potential patrons. If a corner bar doesn't look good from the street, why would you go inside?

That's going to be an issue for Boomer's on the Hill, a new watering hole near the end of Belt Street by Riverside Park. There's only a lo-fi sign fixed to the brick facade and a couple new flowerpots on the sidewalk. It's a shame, because Boomer's has so much going for it.

If you're in the neighborhood and want a place to hunker down on a weeknight, Boomer's should be on your radar. The inside, with its brick and wood, looks classic but feels new. And for a corner bar, Boomer's has some pretty snazzy bells and whistles.

There's a Nintendo Wii video-game console in a back corner, with a large projection screen by the wall. If you've been in a cave for the past couple of years, Wii is one of the most interactive, accessible consoles out there. Playing it on a big screen at a bar is double-plus awesome. My buddy Justin and I played Wii tennis when we were there.

The tap system suprised me, too. There are about 10 beers to choose from. Here's the cool part: When I ordered a beer a couple weeks ago, the bartender held the glass upside down over this hole below the taps. She flipped a switch or pressed a button, and a plume of ice-cold water shot up inside of the glass, rinsing and chilling it in seconds.

I've never seen anything like this, and I don't know what it's called, but I want more bars to get it. Pronto.

When I went, the Boomer's crew was toying with the idea of getting a kitchen up and running. They just had pre-packaged goods like frozen pizzas for sale. I tried one; it was nothing special, but hit the spot late at night.

Not many people have heard about Boomer's, which comes as no surprise considering the sign out front. It doesn't have a Web site either.

Don't get me wrong - it's possible for a bar to succeed with a less-than-pristine exterior. Nearby Idle Hour, with stickers plastered all over its door, looks like a punk dive. But it's my favorite Federal Hill bar.

On the other hand, Charlotte's had an impressive interior but hung a dumpy banner out front. It went under earlier this year.

Inside, Boomer's is a step up from a lot of the bars around it. But people will never know that unless Boomer's promotes itself better. People fawn over hidden gems, but if a bar stays a hidden gem too long, it might go belly up.

The selfish side of me wants Boomer's to stay unknown. But I honestly hope more people hear about it, because Boomer's is worth a walk-in.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

Boomer's on the Hill is at 1749 Belt St.

Online

Read Sam Sessa's blog on nightlife and local music at baltimore sun.com/ midnightsun

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