Introducing ... The Captain's Corner

Ladies and gentlemen, a warm round of applause, please, for Midnight Sun's new guest columnist, Capt. Larry (pictured)!

That's right -- Capt. Larry, the namesake of Capt. Larry's. His real name is Capt. Larry Gross, but let's just call him Capt. Larry or The Captain from now on.

This is the first in a four- or five-part series of weekly essays from The Captain, who sold his bar several years ago (the new owners kept the name).

After abdicating Baltimore for sunny Key West, Fla., Capt. Larry packed up and moved to the hills of West Virginia, where he currently resides. He is 64, a Vietnam veteran and former private detective, government operative and member of the Baltimore Police.

In the coming weeks, Capt. Larry will share some of the wild and crazy stuff that went on at his bar back in the day (aka, the '90s). They include (but are not limited to) the in-house ear-piercings, drunk cage and the true story behind all the bullet holes in the ceiling.

And now, let's turn it over to The Captain, who will give us a little background on the bar. The helm is yours, Captain ...


Capt. Larry's used to be called Pete's American Bar. That particular building was built sometime in the late 1800s. It opened as a candy store, and carries three addresses. It was a little corner store and then two apartments. Pete and his brother bought it and opened it right after Prohibition ended.

I found it unusual, because when I researched it at the liquor board when I applied for my license, I found it was opened on Oct. 10. My birthday's on Oct. 10 -- of course not that same year.

Anyway, when I was a child, my parents would dress up to go to mass every Sunday. After mass, they would go to Pete's American Bar. All us kids would go there, and we'd be in the back room and miss Edna (Pete's wife) would fix us french fries and gravy.

Then, Pete died. The place stayed vacant for about eight years. I was a Baltimore City police officer when he died, I think. Then I had a detective agency, and did a few things after that. I broke up with the second wife and gave her the business I had then. I had to do something, so I went and saw Miss Edna -- Mr. Pete's widow -- and said, 'What the hell are you going to do with the place?'  She said, 'Well, I've got it up for sale.'

To make a long story short, I bought the place.

That bar had the wackiest (bleep) you ever wanted to see. My past is as a government operator and Baltimore City cop and private detective, so those types came into the bar. It was a mixture of Navy Seals, FBI, CIA -- it went from the bottom to the top. It got kind of crazy. It was a release for those kinds of people.

The typical life of a cop is, you're hated at home, the department hates you and the public hates you. You need a release. It's kind of wacky, but that's how that place went.

Stay tuned for next week's column, when Capt. Larry will tell us why there are bullet holes in the ceiling.

(Photo courtesy of The Captain)

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