PJ's is known "for being a Hopkins bar," he said — a place where the student body, alumni and staff would come for pub fare like tacos, burgers and Mondays' chicken wings night. It's a no-frills, basement-level bar where a large pizza includes a free pitcher of soda or beer.
"There's something about being in college, away from parents and with all those academic pressures, that seems to inspire unhealthy eating. Maybe that's why every college town needs a place like PJ's Pub, a 20-year-old bar and restaurant near the Johns Hopkins University," wrote a Baltimore Sun food critic in 2004.
Smith said he's proudest of the bar's longevity. Despite getting choked up while discussing the closing, he said the decision was not bittersweet. Smith — who grew up in Jersey City, N.J. and moved to Maryland nearly 40 years ago — said he plans to stay in the area through the spring before he relocates to Delaware.
He's thinking Rehoboth Beach or Lewes, but one thing's for sure: It's time to put his feet in the sand.
"I'm ready to retire," he said. "It's time to go to the beach."