The Back Yard, a new bar from two former bartenders at the Elephant, opened earlier this month in Southwest Baltimore’s Hollins Market neighborhood.
Lara Sumerson and Mike Cavanagh purchased the former Patrick’s of Pratt Street — considered by some to be the oldest Irish pub in the country, having opened in 1847 — and planned to open the Back Yard by May. As is typical with similar projects, the renovations took longer than expected, Sumerson said.
It’s been worth the wait, Sumerson said, based on the response she’s seen from neighborhood residents.
“We see [some] people three, four times a week,” Sumerson said.
Located at 131 S. Schroeder St., the Back Yard has a modest kitchen, she said, and serves items such as sandwiches and soups, along with programs for charcuterie and “gourmet tin fish,” which includes mussels, octopus and sardines imported from Spain and Portugal, according to Sumerson.
They’ve also partnered with the nearby Pigtown food market Culinary Architecture, which opened in the beginning of the year. The market provides a rotating list of hot food items; the Back Yard is currently selling their Brazilian sliders, small beef sandwiches with banana pepper mustard and sharp provolone.
In a nod to the bar’s past, the bar still has Guinness stout on tap for the regulars who frequented Patrick’s, she said. Eight other taps have local and regional craft beers to go along with 40 options between cans and bottles. There are also 20 wines offered by the glass.
Sumerson is also proud of the Irish whiskey collection, which includes top-shelf options such as Knappogue Castle Single Malt 16-year and the 12-year-aged Redbreast whiskey.
There are more ambitious plans in the works for the property, too. The hope is to build out a dining room on the neighboring property, which Sumerson and Cavanagh also purchased, and to add a second floor event space above the bar in early 2019. Then, in the summer, they plan to open an adjoining outdoor beer garden.
In the meantime, they’re focused on bringing more foot traffic to the corner bar with specials such as Tuesday’s Code Brew happy hour (7-9 p.m.) for nurses, and 10 percent off for all teachers daily. Sumerson said she’s excited by the progress they’ve made so far.
“We’re not super busy yet but we’ve only been open for three weeks, and it’s been a lot better than expected,” she said.