Complete Rehab For The Reserve Is Impressive

Midnight Sun

August 06, 2009|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,sam.sessa@baltsun.com

If you ever went to Charlotte's or The Royal, you'd barely recognize the space now.

The new owners of The Reserve have made improvements to the building at 1542 Light St., inside and out. They opened up the bricked-in windows, added a new sign out front and built a wood facade on the front of the corner building. But the most striking renovations happened inside. From the looks of it, everything except the floor, rafters and a couple of walls is new.

There are two cement-topped bars inside The Reserve, one long one as you walk in and another at the back of the building. The taps at the main bar are built into the stone wall. 13.5%, the new wine bar in Hampden, has a similar stone wall. It's a tasteful nod to the Formstone you (still) see on so many of the nearby rowhouses.

Last week, when my buddy CJ and I went, we ordered one of the specials, a pitcher of Yuengling for $10. Since you get four beers in a pitcher, give or take, that's $2.50 for a draft Yuengling. Not bad.

The service wasn't bad, either - there were a bunch of bartenders on duty, and they were pretty attentive.

The one aspect of the decor I didn't like was the floor plan. There is a raised platform by the front bar - a carry-over from the Charlotte's days, I believe - and if you aren't careful, you will trip on it. There are only a couple of pillars at the corners to mark the platform, which is a few inches higher than the floor around it. If people haven't tripped and eaten floor just yet, I'm sure they will.

Back when I first blogged about The Reserve, co-owner Andrew Dunlap said even though the building has a live entertainment license, the owners weren't going to go crazy with it. Live music has long been an issue with the building's neighbors.

While there wasn't any live music last week, the addition of a DJ booth makes me wonder if they're going to do the Stalking Horse/Nobles thing and hold mini-dance parties on Friday and Saturday nights.

All in all, I'm impressed with the turnaround. Dunlap and the other owners did a thorough rehab, and I think The Reserve is going to fare much better than Charlotte's.

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