In a city filled with places to drink, residents rarely think to visit bars inside hotels. Brad Daniels, the food and beverage manager for the Lord Baltimore Hotel, aims to change that by inviting patrons to the hotel's roof.
At 5 p.m. today, the hotel debuted the LB Sky Bar, located atop the West Baltimore Street building. The bar will be open Wednesday through Saturday evenings as long as weather permits, Daniels said, and will reopen this spring.
On Wednesday afternoon, Daniels described the debut as a soft opening. Some have wondered if premiering a rooftop bar around October made sense, but Daniels — who was hired in August and previously worked for W Hotels in New York — said the idea is to offer a preview and let people know what is coming in the spring.
"Nowhere around here does, per se, the sky bar outside not covered," Daniels said. "We'll be the first in the city. We want people to get a glimpse of what it can be."
Certain aspects of LB Sky Bar will sit in contrast to many Baltimore bars.
A "smart casual" dress code will be enforced. When asked to elaborate, Daniels said baseball hats and untucked T-shirts would not be permitted. ("A nice fedora is fine," he said.) A $25 minimum will be enforced on weekends — meaning, Daniels said, patrons will stop at a check-in point and pay for two drinks (in the form of drink tickets) before entering the rooftop.
The LB Sky Bar offers six specialty cocktails (all cost $12). Options include the Autumn Roy (Pig's Nose scotch, sweet vermouth, walnut bitters and nutmeg) and the Fall Flip (Greg Goose vodka, simple syrup, ginger beer, lemon, apple cider and Crème de Cassis de Dijon liqueur). For beer drinkers, bottles of Bud Light, Budweiser and Yuengling will cost $6, while craft beers like Union Craft's Duckpin Pale Ale, Jailbreak's Infinite and Flying Dog's Bloodline will cost $8. Red and white wines will also be sold.
The bar, which seats 60, will close at midnight each night. DJs will play a "very mellow" mix of "soft house" and pop, Daniels said.
The dress code, price of cocktails and $25 minimum could give regular Baltimore bar-hoppers pause, but Daniels hopes the allure of a unique experience will convince residents to come.
"The outlet to be able to do something different than your normal bar — I think it's worth a try," Daniels said.
He also emphasized that management will seek opinions from visitors in the early going. If something isn't working, Daniels said, there's nothing stopping the hotel from making changes.
"We want to try out the concept to see exactly how people react to it," he said. "Our concept next year is not set in stone. … For us to try this now and get some feedback is what's going to help us build our venue for the future."
Daniels is confident the bar – along with its atmosphere and views of the city – will surprise residents.
"I think people will respond well," he said. "I really do."