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The Baltimore Sun from Baltimore, Maryland • Page T11

The Baltimore Suni
Baltimore, Maryland
Issue Date:
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11 LIVE! BALTIMORE SUN NIGHTLIFE The Tiki Barge might be best new summer spot, but certainly not the only one. Here are a few options to help take the heat off summer. BOURBON STREET 316 Guilford 410-528-8377, bourbonstreetbaltimo- This sprawling megaclub is topped off with a wooden deck, complete with palm trees. not down by the water, but a fun place to hang out.

Miller Lites might be the beverage of choice for many of the patrons, but you can also get an ice-cold mixed drink. Or two. JOE SQUARED 133 W. North Ave. 410-545-0444,

Not only does Joe Squared have a funky outdoor patio in front, it also has a new drink list chock-full of rum drinks. Crowd favorites so far, according to owner Joe Edwardsen, are the Ginger Basil Mojito and the Rum Fizzle. BAY CAFE 2809 Boston 410-5223377, A long-standing party zone, the Bay Cafe seems constantly packed on Friday and Saturday nights in the summertime. The sand is real, and so are the palm trees.

The gin and tonics bad either. RUM BAR AND ISLAND GRILL 1700 Thames 410-5636600, This past winter, the management at Fells favorite deck bar decided to bring in new furniture and keep the third-story bar open during the cold weather. Now that warm outside again, is back to its open-air self. The bar is a little small, and the service can be so-so, but the view is one of the best.

Sessa BARS AND BREEZES The city skyline forms a perfect summer backdrop for patrons of the Tiki Barge at Harborview. GENE SWEENEY SUN PHOTO very once in a while, a bar comes along that you know is going to be an instant hit. Though only been open less than a month, willing to bet the new Tiki Barge is going to go down as one of the best things to happen to nightlife scene this summer. The Tiki Barge is just that: a barge with a swimming pool, palm trees and two bars, floating at the end of a pier in Harborview Marine Center, just off Key Highway in South Baltimore. It sounds random, but once you see it, you get it.

Every waterside neighborhood could use a Tiki Barge. Tiki Barge is the new project of Bud Craven, who designed the tiki bar at Bo Brooks and, about 20 years ago, was one of the original owners of the Bay Cafe in Canton. Craven knows how to build an oasis in the middle of the city, which is just what he did with Tiki Barge. Before it was Tiki Barge, it was just a barge with a swimming pool and an upper sundeck, where marina patrons could go for a dip or work on their tans. When new owners took over the marina several months ago, they let Craven revamp the pool barge.

He planted a half-dozen palm trees and built a wood tiki hut with a rectangular bar upstairs and a second bar down by the pool. After nearly two months of work, Tiki Barge officially opened Memorial Day weekend. To get to Tiki Barge, you enter the marina and walk down a long pier, past rows of docked boats. From a distance, it looks like a ship complete with a Jolly Roger pirate flag (and, for the record, an American flag). Drop by Tiki Barge and you have two options: Pay $10 for a pool pass, which includes a free drink of your choice, or hang out at the upper tiki bar, which have a cover charge.

Since I forgot my bathing suit (and my six-pack abs), I opted for the latter when I went last Saturday afternoon. It was hot and sweaty outside, and both levels of Tiki Barge were loaded with people, mostly aged 25-35. I climbed the wood stairs to the second level, which has a sweeping view of the Inner Harbor. TIki Barge is almost directly across the water from the new Legg Mason high-rise in Harbor East. The upstairs bar stocks beers and mixed drinks, as well as your standard array of frozen drinks, such as pina coladas and daiquiris.

Beers cost about $3.50 and rail mixed drinks are about $4. I went with astrawberry daiquiri, which cost $7 and was made with Bacardi, daiquiri mixer and ice. The bartender used a mixer with strawberry seeds and pulp, which, combined with chopped ice and liquor, was one sweet summer sipper. I took it slow, so get brain freeze. If you stand perfectly still, you can feel the barge gently swaying beneath your feet.

After a few of those daiquiris, you start to sway along with it. Standing there under the palm leaf roof, daiquiri in hand, listening to a Bob Marley song play overhead, I closed my eyes and it hard to picture the islands. Unfortunately, when I opened them, I was in Baltimore, not the Bahamas. But take what I can get. The pool deep enough to dive in, but fine for cooling off, or floating around in an inflatable chair.

Last weekend, a vendor was selling burgers and hot dogs at the end of the pool. Baltimore have nearly enough options for poolside drinking let alone full-fledged tiki bars right on the harbor. bet Tiki Barge is making a mint, as well it should be. With the first week of summer upon us, I think of a better Baltimore bar in which to spend weekend afternoons. The barge scene Go all tropical at Harborview with a floating pool, palm trees and two (count bars Sam Sessa Midnight Sun The Tiki Barge floats at the end of a pier in Harborview Marine Center, just off Key Highway in South Baltimore.

It has been open less than a month. GENE SWEENEY SUN PHOTO More online Tap into after-hours scene with Sam daily nightlife blog at

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