The draft lines are flowing at Wet City, and the craft beer bar is preparing to open its doors in a couple weeks in Mount Vernon.
Located at 223 W. Chase St., Wet City will hold a soft opening during Artscape — serving beer only — followed by a grand opening July 21, when it will roll out a full menu that includes a cocktail program and dinner service.
Wet City is moving into Dougherty's Pub's old space. Renovations are nearly complete, and the only work left to be done is finishing woodwork behind the bar.
Dougherty's patrons who return to the space will be surprised to see how much it has changed since the previous pub closed in December. A psychedelic blue mural greets visitors in the vestibule, and the main section of the bar features a bright and minimalist design with white walls, raw wood tables and bar tops, and blue accents.
Co-owner PJ Sullivan said they wanted to create a brighter, cleaner atmosphere.
"I'm super excited and a little nervous because this was an institution, and we changed it up," he said. "A lot of bars go for that vintage, retro industrial feeling, and Baltimore needs something else."
The concept was inspired by Scandinavian craft beer culture, a theme evident in both the decor and the beer menu. Sours, IPAs and fruit beers dominate the opening draft list.
"A lot of our focus is on hop-forward beers," said Josh Sullivan, PJ's brother and co-owner.
Seven of the 20 taps will feature local beers. Wet City will also offer a number of beer cocktails.
The Sullivan brothers brew their own beer and will have one tap dedicated to their beer — starting with a black saison — upon opening, with as many as four to follow. In August they'll add a strawberry brett trois IPA.
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They currently contract brew in Washington, D.C., but plan to eventually relocate their brewing operations in-house.
"We haven't had a ton of time to brew because we've been so hands-on," PJ Sullivan said.
The name "Wet City" is a reference to Baltimore's defiance during Prohibition. But libations aren't alone on the menu — Wet City will also offer a full dinner menu of snacks, small plates, sandwiches, salads and entrees.
Chuck Allen, who previously worked at Sascha's 527 Cafe, will serve as Wet City's executive chef.
Wet City seats 57 and will soon add more seats in a private room, bringing its seating capacity to about 100.