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Gin bar to open in Old Goucher

Brendan Dorr and Eric Fooy, the bartenders behind Hotel Monaco’s award-winning B&O American Brasserie, plan to open up a new gin bar in Old Goucher at the end of spring 2018.

The bar, Dutch Courage, will occupy a space at 2220 N. Charles St. next to WYPR, Dorr confirmed Friday morning.

“It’s a long-time coming,” he said. “ We’ve been looking for a spot that feels right to us… . Everything has been falling into place nicely.”

The Old Goucher space that Dorr describes as a "historic home built in 1851" features a 1,500-square-foot interior and an additional 1,000-square-foot private courtyard.

“We’ll need to build out a bar,” Dorr explained. “It has a wonderful interior. There’s an arty architecture inside.”

Dorr expects the bar to be open some time in the spring.

“You can never give an exact time,” Dorr said. “We’re just trying to be patient. Our fingers are crossed that we will open late spring… . We want to be ready when we open.”

What Dorr can promise are the same types of award-winning cocktails that have given B&O American Brasserie both national and local recognition.

Men’s Journal named the bar as one of its top 20 Hotel Bars in America in May 2016. The bar and restaurant are regularly featured on regional publications’ “Best Of” lists.

“It’s going to be a really great cocktail bar,” Dorr said of his new venture.

Dutch Courage will pride itself on its gin selection.

Dorr wants the bar to have the largest gin collection in the city — if not the country.

But the offerings won’t be limited to its gin offerings.

“We will have all spirits to make all cocktails,” he said.

The new concept will also have limited food and snacks to complement the drinks, according to Dorr.

Food offerings will include cheeseboards, nuts and other snacks.

"We won't have a full kitchen," he said. "But we will have clever ways to have one or two special food items."

As for the name of the bar, it has historical significance, according to Dorr.

The name comes from the 1600s during the Thirty Years’ War in Europe when British soldiers would take a shot of the Dutch gin Jenever, according to Dorr.

“They said it would calm their nerves,” Dorr said. “That’s where the term liquid courage comes from.”

Dorr and Fooy have worked at B&O American Brasserie since it opened in July 2009. Before that, the two worked at the now-closed IXIA on Charles Street in Mount Vernon. Dorr worked there for eight years; Foy worked there for five. The two founded Baltimore Bartenders’ Guild in 2010.

The two do not know an exact time for their exit from their current jobs at the B&O.

"We don't have an exact timeline," Dorr said. "We'll still be here."

The news of Dutch Courage is the latest addition to the growing nightlife offerings along and just north of North Avenue.

The Motor House, a 25,000-square-foot arts space along North Avenue, opened up a bar and restaurant in October. The Baltimore Eagle leather bar reopened in January after a five-year hiatus. And Parkway Theatre opened at the corner of Charles and North in January.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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