"It's definitely a party neighborhood," Martini said, comparing it to her days as a student at the University of Maryland. "It's an extension of the same scene. Only instead of going to school, you go to work."
Public officials and the Mathieus said they see the dynamics of Federal Hill changing as more families choose to stay and enroll their children in public schools. Four of the families on the Mathieus' block of East Wheeling Street also have young children, which wasn't the case when they moved in.
While the demographics might be in flux, McComas said the economic realities remain the same. Customers flock to bars and restaurants in Federal Hill. And he said the proposed beer garden would be family friendly during the day. What's better for kids than picnic tables?
Dozens of bar and restaurant patrons have signed a petition in support of the proposed beer garden.
Among them is Mandy Dennis, 31, who on Saturday finished a day shift at Ryleigh's and had a cigarette in the alley by the No Way Jose Cafe. She lives above a bar on Light Street, loves the idea of a new beer garden and suggests that the naysayers are the problem.
"They should probably move to Ellicott City," Dennis said. "I listen to the crowd come out at 2 a.m. and I'll giggle."
A few steps away, Greg Diamond, 31, sipped from a Corona bottle and ticked off how the neighborhood has evolved for the better over the eight years he's lived in Federal Hill. Now there's a Phillies bar, a Jets bar, a Bills bar, an Eagles bar, a Steelers bar and, of course, a Ravens bar. There's a niche for everyone.
"Any random corner, any random bar, everyone is having a good time," Diamond said, pointing to a family waiting outside a nearby restaurant. "Look, people have their kids, and we're here hanging out."
McComas said residents who might have outgrown the neighborhood aren't necessarily entitled to change it.
"No one should be urinating in your yard. We get that. But you're moving to the neighborhood," he said. "You were 28 and liked to rip it up, but now you're 37 and you've got two kids. Does the neighborhood need to change because you did?"