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Fells Point cocktail bar Rye reopening in Leadbetter's space

The Fells Point cocktail bar Rye is reopening this summer in the space that houses Leadbetter's.

After closing earlier this spring, the Fells Point cocktail bar Rye will reopen later this summer in a storied space just around the corner from its Broadway digs.

Rye owner Ryan Perlberg bought the building that houses Leadbetter's, a longtime dive bar known for its live music, at 1639 Thames St. with plans to relocate and expand Rye there.

Although Leadbetter's will remain open for the time being, he's aiming to reopen Rye by the end of August, gradually transitioning from the current concept to Rye's next iteration. 

Perlberg said Rye outgrew its former space at 807 S. Broadway. The new space is about 500 square feet larger, and that extra room will allow Rye to evolve and grow, including adding food and live music.

"This whole premise is taking what we built that’s special and improving where we can," he said.

The space will have a full kitchen, and Perlberg said the new Rye will begin by offering "gourmet bar snacks" — eight to 10 items priced under $10 and made to share. He doesn't expect the bar to become a dining destination, but the kitchen may add more menu items based on customer demand.

Rye will also expand its drink offerings with popular cocktails on draft. Look for drinks like Old Fashioneds on tap when the new bar opens.

Perlberg said Rye would aim to capture a range of customers, whether they're looking for a no-frills spot to grab a beer or trying to sample esoteric cocktails.

"Everyone’s welcome — they were always a part of Rye," he said. "What’s so cool about Rye is that someone could always come into Rye and order a Natty Boh or a $10 cocktail."

Rye was among the bars that ushered a renewed focus on craft cocktails into Baltimore, and Perlberg said he wants to continue to build on that momentum. 

"This whole city’s picked up a lot of pace," he said of the local cocktail scene. "We are going to do some stuff that really pushes the boundaries."

Leadbetter's will remain open as workers phase in cosmetic updates, and Perlberg plans to keep the bar open as long as possible. He said it may close a day or two during the week as construction ramps up.

Rye's new home will incorporate "everything everyone loved" about the first bar, including design influences from the Prohibition era. 

It's unclear exactly when Leadbetter's will fully become the new Rye, and a relaunch date has not yet been set.

Rye was previously open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The new bar will keep those hours during the week and open earlier on weekends.

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