Best New Bar
Published: September 22, 2010
2108 Eastern Ave., (443) 759-6464, johnnyrads.com
Sometime you walk into a bar and you can just tell immediately that you are in some other person’s dream bar, a guest in their vision. Like, a place sketched out on drink napkins over the years, with maybe even a few aborted attempts behind it, and all-in-all has that kind of palpable heart and soul such that you may as well be chilling in the owner’s den. That’s Johnny Rad’s. There are the well-scuffed skateboards adorning absolutely everything, the nice touches such as skate wheels on the bathroom doors, and the well-manicured beer selection based on what people might actually like to drink—a whole lot of quality canned beers, like Porkslap and Dales—and not a beer snob’s idea of what they should like to drink. And pizza, very good pizza. And creative bar food you can afford, like a basket of hush puppies (“huf puppies,” here) that do just fine as a stand-alone snack. There are a lot of places that open in Baltimore based on some calculation of trendiness—food-y, beer-y, sports-y, Miami—and not many based on personality. Johnny Rad’s will do well.