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.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Mondo Baltimore

Everyone needs some Mr. T on a big screen in their life
There are few things more irritating to me than bloggers who go long lengths of time without posting, and then come back to apologize incessantly.  The one thing that may irk me more are hypocrites  and tonight, I am both.  I'm so sorry.  I could make excuses about poor time management, about working too many jobs in too little time, about my toilet exploding like a fountain yesterday, but it doesn't change the fact that I have dropped the ball.

Hell, indeed, comes to Frogtown
In one of my other lives, I highlight events for the Baltimore Fishbowl.  Because of this, I am perpetually aware of the ongoings in the city, no matter how bizarre.  Let me tell you, though, that many of them are quite bizarre.  One of my favorite finds in scouring local calendars and creeping on people's Facebook events has been Mondo Baltimore.  On the first Thursday of each month, Mondo Baltimore commandeers the Wind Up Space and screens a particularly painful movie.  Since my discovery of this wonderful concept, they've shown "Cool as Ice," Vanilla Ice's "Rebel Without a Cause" 1991 remake, Mr. T's "Greatest Man in the World," and just last week I was lucky enough to catch the incredibly atrocious "Hell Comes to Frogtown."
There was much, "YOU'RE DRUNK MOM, GO HOME"
Not only are the movies so bad they're wonderful, the commentary is top-notch.  It's like a live version of MST3K with quality heckling and mocking.  Drinking game rules are placed around the bar, so you can follow along should you choose.  For $2, you get unlimited popcorn and are entered into the nightly raffle.  Gifts are often related to the movie, or are sometime just $25 to your bar tab.  Trust me, if you go just once, it will instantly become tradition.