Monday, March 18, 2013

Gone too Soon: Dionysus

If I were any good at poetry, an art form I admire but lack the patience to create, I'd compose an Ode to Dionysus.

You'll be sorely missed, Dionysus.

For those of you unfamiliar with both the bar and the chain of events, allow me to explain.

Dionysus, nestled in between that pizza/liquor shop and a rowhouse at 8 E Preston St in Mt. Vernon/Midtown-Belvedere was a cozy little bar.  It was no frills - some questionable looking sofas lived in the lower level, hard whiskey, good beers on tap, and staff that would strike up a bitingly sarcastic and lively conversation.  For you House of Cards fans, if you look ever so slightly to the right of Zoe's apartment entrance, you'll note an orange awning.  That orange awning was Dionysus.

Today, I discovered that Dionysus has closed.  The Sun acknowledged this on March 11th, but I just caught wind of the news today.   It seems odd to be so glum about the closing of an otherwise forgettable bar, but Dionysus had so many things going for it.  It wasn't trying to be a certain "type" of bar.  It let Club Charles hold the trophy for quirky, and graciously bowed out so Brewer's could have the title of "brewpub."

Home is just a few blocks from Dionysus, and when I first moved, I often walked by with Bubba in a feeble attempt to socialize him with the clientele seated outside.  I would go there by myself to have a drink and chat up a bartender - because when you're new to a city, you have no one else to talk to.  My first friends, though they were short lived friendships that consisted solely of conversation over one drink, were at Dionysus.  My first and only 'Boh on tap was at Dionysus, before discovering my gluten intolerance.  The first terrible pick up line used on me in Baltimore was in front of Dionysus while walking Bubba; "Your fluttering lashes are derailing my train of thought."  I had some awful dates there - one guy kept referring to me as "kid" because I was all of four years younger than him.  I had some incredible laid-back weeknights of drinks with friends there.  In less than two years, I have accumulated so many memories of a cozy hole-in-the-wall.  In reading people's posts on their Facebook page expressing sadness about their closing, I learned that Dionysus had other levels.  I never had any reason to go anywhere but downstairs, into the basement bar, where a friend for a night (in a non-suggestive way) always awaited.

Thank you, Dionysus, for being my first friend in the city.  Thank you socializing my dog, for introducing me to terrible men, for always making my whisky-gingers and gin and tonics potent, and for chatting with a lonely Virginia transplant for her first few months in Baltimore.  I'll miss you dearly.  I'm so sad I was never able to have a farewell whiskey-ginger with you.


1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that you posted this. When I started grad school at UB, this was my go-to bar. I've drank a LOT of beer here, had the best mac & cheese in Baltimore that I've ever had, played old Trivial Pursuit on those "questionable couches" downstairs and been to tons of literary readings in the attic. I will wholly miss Dio and I hope that maybe it will come back someday. If not, someone PLEASE send me that mac & cheese recipe.