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New bar Boiler Room brings arcade games, specialty shots to Federal Hill

New bar Boiler Room brings specialty shots, arcade games to Federal Hill.

Boiler Room, a new bar focused on shot-and-beer combinations in an arcade-like setting, is now open in Federal Hill.

Located in the former Corfu space (27 E. Cross St.), the bar is the second operation from the team behind another Federal Hill establishment, Bookmakers Cocktail Club. Open since last Tuesday, Boiler Room will host a grand opening party — weather permitting — at 6 p.m. Saturday, said general manager Cortland Leggio. (Leggio said the bar's Facebook page will be updated in case expected snow postpones Saturday's party.)

Boiler Room has 10 arcade consoles of mostly vintage titles (“Frogger,” “Donkey Kong,” “Mortal Kombat”), along with Skee-ball and newer games (“Tekken Tag Tournament,” “Golden Tee”) mixed in by the bar. While the games may draw patrons, Leggio said they are “a nice backdrop” but not the bar’s primary focus.

“We’re not boxing ourselves in as just an arcade,” said Leggio, 29, of Bolton Hill. “When you’re drinking, it’s just something to do to keep you around and have a good time.”

Unlike Bookmakers, Boiler Room will not serve cocktails. Instead, Leggio hopes specialty shots will draw patrons, including the Knuckle Joe ($7, NOLA coffee liqueur and Powers Irish whiskey) and the Pacman Pickle Back ($8, Jameson and housemade pickle juice). Beer-and-shot pairings — like a Brewer’s Art Resurrection and a shot Pikesville Rye whiskey for $8 — are also offered. Regular happy hour specials will be announced soon, Leggio said.

The bar has eight draft lines, which Leggio — who was last seen behind the bar at Bookmakers — hopes to expand soon. Beers offered will include a mix of craft beers and something Bookmakers doesn't have: familiar domestics, such as Miller Lite.

Inspiration for Boiler Room came after Leggio and the Bookmakers team visited New York City's East Village. After enjoying the bar Boilermaker there, Leggio said they agreed that a similarly comfortable, retro-minded hangout was needed in Federal Hill.

Leggio also wanted a place for restaurant workers to go after a shift, which speaks to the shot-and-beer combinations — an industry go-to after a long day. 

“When I get off from work, I usually get a cheap beer and a good spirit,” Leggio said. “That’s kind of where the concept came from.”

Bookmakers head chef Nelson Morton is also behind Boiler Room’s food menu, which is set to debut this week. Pierogies, loaded hot dogs, hamburgers and other bar food "with a twist" will be included, according to the manager.

“It’s the same quality as Bookmakers’ food, but pub-style like a Hamilton Tavern or Brewer’s Art by the bar,” Leggio said.

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If you go

Boiler Room (27 E. Cross St., Federal Hill) is open 3 p.m-1 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday and noon-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, go to