The hundred-plus year old roots of the interior of the Owl Bar merit visiting even if it just to have a drink at the bar – the casual bar food fare is reasonably priced and worth checking out even if you’re not a Baltimore history buff! The main bar/dining room is 25+ foot tall with complexly designed brick walls (which date back to its opening in 1903). There’s the a 50 foot long bar and about 20 tables in the main bar with another dozen or so tables in a couple of equally historic and interesting ante-rooms. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our separate post with a brief history of the Owl Bar.
The menu offers mostly reasonably priced bar fare for both lunch and dinner and includes about ten appetizers (most $8 – $10), several entree salads ($9 – $12), soups (Maryland Crab, Turkey Chili, French Onion & Cream of Tomato – $7-$8 for a good sized bowl), five variations of Pizza ($9 – $15), paninis, sandwiches & burgers (Most $10-$12 and include chips and pickle – $1 extra for some darn good fries) and there’s five entrees (only available after 5 pm and ranging from “Fish & Chips” at $15 to “Steak Frites at $24).
We started by sharing an order of Nachos ($9) with our drinks (FYI – “house” wines and draught beers are just $3 during “Happy Hour” from 5 to 7pm). The nachos arrive in 12″ big bowl and the portion size was generous and more than big enough for five of us to share.
We got around to ordering our main course. Marty spotted a genuine pizza oven in one corner of the bar and opted for a plain cheese and sauce “American Pizza” ($9 – plus $1 more to add mushrooms), John ordered the Spicy Turkey Burger ($10 plus $1 extra for fries), Bill asked for a Club Sandwich ($9) but added duck fat fries ($3 extra), Ed got both a bowl of Maryland Crab ($7) plus a Reuban panini ($10) while JT, our friend and opinionist, went with the Cobb Salad ($11).
Marty’s pizza was not only a great choice but a bargain for $10! The almost 10″+ pizza looked and tasted delicious and was generously topped with cheese and mushrooms. Despite asserting that it was by far the best pizza that he’s had in awhile, it proved so filling that Marty took half home (and that’s even after giving John some to taste!)
John’s Spicy Turkey sandwich was intriguingly spicy and served on a great pretzel roll (which really tasted like a soft pretzel!). The “Thumbs Up!” standout though was his fries which arrived hot and delicious. Marty snatched some of the fries as well as some of Bill’s pricey duck fat fries and declared that John’s plain fries clearly tasted the best (and were a bargain to boot!)
Bill’s Club sandwich was huge and filled a big plate. He enjoyed it but there was just too much and he took more than half of it home with him.
Ed’s bowl of Maryland Crab was spicy and delicious and full of veggies and pieces of crab. Combined with some of the nachos that preceded it, it proved to be a meal unto itself. Marty and John both got a taste, liked it and made a mental note to get some the next time that they eat at the Owl Bar!
Ed just never got around to eating his Reuben (despite how temptingly delicious it looked) and ended up taking all of it home with him!
JT’s Cobb Salad was an oversized and impressive entree salad. He fully enjoyed it and somehow managed to make “All Gone!”<Wink>.
The service that Michael, the young man who waited on us, was first rate. Busy as he was, he discretely checked in on us refilling water and getting more drinks and making sure that we were happy campers. Regretfully, portion sizes were so generous that none of us could even considered dessert.
Marty and I were darn impressed with Owl Bar’s food, service and historic atmosphere – it got a “Thumbs Up!” from both of us and suggest that if you’re in Mt. Vernon and looking for some bar food with a side of history, you won’t go wrong at the Owl Bar!
FACTS: The Owl Bar; Mt. Vernon; 1 E. Chase Street; 410.347.0888; http://www.theowlbar.com/ ; Full Bar; Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner; brunch on weekends; paid street parking or paid garages; no valet parking.