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City That Drinks

The Life of Reilly

Weathering the storm in Butchers Hill

Photo: Tristan Gilbert, License: N/A

Tristan Gilbert


Life of Reilly

2031 E. Fairmount Ave., [410] 327-6425

thelifeofreilly.com

Figure skating, followed by a winter weather forecast, preceded the Ravens game on the flat-screens during Sunday brunch at the Life of Reilly (2031 E. Fairmount Ave., [410] 327-6425, thelifeofreilly.com), CP 2013 winner for “Best Irish Whiskey Bar.” We weren’t there for Redbreast 12, though, but rather for the Bloody Marys ($2 with brunch), fragrant with celery seed, and the Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout ($5.50). A full complement of patrons had posted up at the copper bar by 1 p.m., and the whole first floor grew chilly whenever new customers swung open the front door, stomping boots loudly on the doormat. The snow seemed to rouse the Reilly’s crowd. “I’m just sayin’, snowman during halftime,” said one bargoer coming in from shoveling. The girls sitting next to us at the bar, sipping on Irish coffees, told us they had a friend who plays clarinet in the Ravens’ marching band. One received a picture message from the stadium: “Everybody’s sitting up because they don’t want to sit on snow,” she laughed. The football players looked like ghosts on the screen, charging through sheets of white fuzz; when yard-line markers were transposed onto the snowy field, the bar cheered. “We love technology!” someone shouted. There was a moment of total silence when referees grouped to consult on the Vikings’ first-quarter fumble—many thought it would end in Minnesota’s favor—and an eruption of applause when the refs called it our way. “His knee wasn’t on the ground, it was on the snow!” one man jested of the Vikings’ Toby Gerhart. Everyone’s eyes were on the screen when Flacco darted 22 yards, except for the jersey-clad bartender, delivering plates of Chesapeake eggs benedict, checking tables in the back. She took a beat to watch a possible interception on the TV above her, then shuffled cheerfully back into gear.

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