Rafters, renamed Barfly's Pub, to open within two months

Rafters, the South Baltimore bar famous for its formstone facade and interiors, will re-open within two months, new owner Michael Leeds said.

It will then be called Barfly's Pub.

Leeds is planning on a full renovation, and a big wine list.

The new bar, he said, will be "an upscale dive bar. "That's why I named it Barfly's."

Leeds started leasing the in November, and is now in the process of renovating the space and acquiring the liquor license.  

After Rafters closed in August, it was supposed to have been taken over by a Red Hill Tavern. But that deal never came to fruition, Leeds said. 

A former partner  at the Federal Hill and Bel Air Sean Bolans, Leeds had been looking for a place of his own. 

He settled on Rafters because he said he sees a future in its location - the Fort Avenue-Riverside neighborhood.

He started the renovation with a couple of friends a month ago, and he suspects it's going to take some time. "We could be open by the end of February, but more realistically early March," he said. 

Rafters, he said, needed a "face lift." He'll redo the bathrooms, add new light fixtures, resurface the bar, and perhaps, most surprisingly, cover up some of the formstone the former owners were so proud of. 

The old Rafters, he said, had a "unique" interior. He wants the new place to look different, but retain a reminder of the old tenants.

"A lot of people make a big deal out of the formstone so I want to keep some of it," he said, adding, however, "it's going to look a lot different."

He'll also expand its beer and wine selection. 

The old Rafters used to serve "Buggy Bombs," its own version of Irish car bombs. Leeds said he'll install eight taps, and carry about 40 wines, to be sold $8-10 by the glass, and $30 by the bottle., between 8 and 10 by the glass, and 30 by the bottle.*

Barfly's Pub will be at 620 E. Fort Ave.

Photo: Rafters in 2005 (Elizabeth Malby/Baltimore Sun) 

*Post updated for clarification

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