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Mar 23, 2009 01:54 PM

B'more: ISO Bar/Pub for Business Reception - Near the Marriott Waterfront

The Marriott's at 700 Aliceanna Street

DC Hound in need of recommendations for a local watering hole with decent food - ideally where we can rent a room for a small reception. Or with a large enough bar that we can bring 20 - 30 people and congregate in the same area.

Not froo-froo, nor a dump...something with atmosphere and local character that will entice conference goers to get out of the hotel after a long day at a trade show.

Preferrably within walking distance of the Marriott, or a short cab ride.
Fells Point might qualify. My first choice would have been the Wharf Rat (the only bar I know in the area) but I don't think my boss would approve ; )

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  1. The concierge at the Marriott recommended the James Joyce Pub (possibly the patio) and Pazo for tapas. Thoughts?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Meg

      Pazo would certainly fill the bill -- beautiful space, great food, nearby. James Joyce was probably selected bc it is part of the Marriott complex there (and so nearby) but otherwise is nothing special.

      1. re: Meg

        James Joyce is a typical Irish pub -- not awesome but not remarkable either. Pazo has great food and a beautiful setting, but get a private room. It would be awkward and loud to accomodate a group of 20-30.

        Cinghale can skew frou-frou (I am a poet who didn't know it!), but they have really pretty private rooms. At the other end of the spectrum, you might be able to take over Taco Fiesta, which is super casual but fun. They have a second floor; it might be available for rental.

        Lebanese Taverna is also really nice, but if the people are in town from DC, they can just go to the LTs down there.

        I don't know that any of those places have "local character." Inner Harbor East is a really new neighborhood, so there hasn't been much time for character to develop. If you want something more "local," you'll have to go to Fell's Point, which is a bit of a walk and/or cab ride.

        1. re: pomme de terre

          Most of these folks will be from NY. So LT is an option. How long of a walk is it from the Marriott?

          I'm waiting on pricing from Pazo, but would like to have a back-up.

          Thanks for all the feedback on James Joyce. It looked great online, but I've since ruled it out.

          1. re: Meg

            To paraphrase my father, you can spit and you'd be able to hit the Lebanese Taverna from the Marriott.

            ...their hummus is really good. I've never been blown away by anything else from there, but I could sit and eat the hummus with a spoon.

            1. re: Meg

              Then I vote LT. Pretty setting, good food, not too stuffy. Pazo is definitely fancier but LT is much closer (just across the circle). They have lots of group dining choices too.


              1. re: Meg

                Roy's, Flemings, Oceannaire, and LT are all in the same complex. and would be able to support your group. You won't get any "local flavor", but it will be nicely done. Pazo is by far the best choice, though those tapas plates add up after a while.

                If you really want some local aspect, you are smack dab in the middle between Fells Point and the Inner Harbor. People could stroll the promonade in either direction. You could have a reception at any of the IH restaurants to meet that need, most notably J Pauls, Windows, or even Phillips. You'd have a water view and all the tourist crap that you can handle.

                DuClaw is a couple blocks away in Fells. They have a separate area for a party and have water views. Heck, you could rent out the second floor of Max's and have a great time. They are also within stumbling distance of a few great pubs.

          2. Roy's has a separate dining room. I've attended some events there and have enjoyed it. I'm sure they can put together a menu for you. Walking distance fr. waterfront Marriott. Also Lebanese Taverna might have something to accomodate you guys too. Don't know how much local character either of these places have but they are both good. I, too, would skip James Joyce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: amaebi

              As for local color -- Roy's is a Hawaii-originated chain. A very good one, mind you, but chain nonetheless.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I'm talking with Pazo and like the look of their menu. But one important question, what's the noise level there? Our group would be downstairs in the lounge area, which is adjacent to their dining room. I see from photos that the ceilings are high. If the noise level is ridiculous, it may not be the ideal spot for wooing prospects.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Meg

                  Yes, the central lounge area (where the couches and chairs are) gets pretty noisy, but with your size group, don't you want to ask for a room off to the side? That should be quiet(er).

                  1. re: bordeauxfan

                    Don't want a closed in private room. Want the atmosphere of the restaurant. So the only option is the lounge, which they'll section off so we can have to ourselves.

                    The other alternative is Lebanese Taverna. The section of the dining room that they'll provide is no where near the bar, so I suspect noise will be less of an issue.

                    Really would rather go with Pazo, but don't know if it's worth the risk.

                    1. re: Meg

                      Meg, what night of the week and what time of evening are you considering? I've had happy hours with 12-20 people at Pazo before, on weeknights starting around 5:30, and we've had no problem with the noise level. And I really like the ambience of the lounge.

                      The other thing to consider is that Pazo is a short cab ride or a 3-4 block walk from the hotel -- which might be a good thing!

                      1. re: bordeauxfan

                        You'd take a cab for a three block distance in one of the safest areas of the city, with security on the corners and blue light cameras throughout? That area is like Fort Knox, as long as you aren't one of those folks who leave their cell phone and GPS sitting on their front seat.

                        1. re: thecheeseisblue

                          Agreed -- the walk is safe, and would do most of CHers good both before and after the revelry! :-)

                        2. re: bordeauxfan

                          Thursday night from 7 - 8:30. So probably prime time.

                          I'm curious bordeauxfan, if you've been on a Thursday night and have any insight to share. I so want this to happen at Pazo's, but want to have complete info. before making a final call. Thanks.

                          1. re: Meg

                            I find Pazo pretty noisy, especially during prime time. It's not deafening noisy, just sort of fun-bustling-noisy. But if you're trying to close deals, I don't think it's the right spot.

                            I know Cinghiale gets mixed reviews 'round these parts, but it's owned by the same folks as Pazo and has nice private rooms.

                            1. re: pomme de terre

                              I think I've been there on a Thursday around 8pm, but my memory is cloudy...

                              I really like Pazo, and I think the vibe is fun, which adds to the spirit of revelry. And if two in conversation need to duck into a quieter space for more privacy, then I think that's a small sacrifice. I personally wouldn't want to be in a separate, cloistered room. But that's just MHO...

                              P.S. I'm a fan of Cinghiale as well, but the price will probably be higher.

                              1. re: bordeauxfan

                                Cinghiale may well be a bit pricier, but sometimes if you're organizing a group event, you can get a discount.

                                I also meant (and this wasn't clear) that since they are both owned by the same group, you might be able to say, "Look, this event can't be any noisier than XYZ. Will Pazo work for that? Or would Cinghiale be a better fit?"

                                If you were trying to decide between Pazo and a competitor, rather than a sister restaurant, they'd probably tell you, "Oh, no, it's fine, it'll be awesome, it's not that loud, we swear" no matter what the truth was. This way you'll get a straight answer out of Pazo about its suitability, since they aren't really losing the business. (Maybe Pazo and Cinghiale don't play that nicely together, I don't know. But it's worth a try.)

                  2. Consider the Waterfront in Fells Point, which has a lovely second-floor private room for receptions. (see the History page on the Website)