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Baltimore’s Atlas Restaurant Group to take over Admiral’s Cup in Fells Point

A group of people hang outside of Admiral's Cup in Fells Point. Baltimore's Atlas Restaurant Group is acquiring the dive bar.
A group of people hang outside of Admiral's Cup in Fells Point. Baltimore's Atlas Restaurant Group is acquiring the dive bar. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

Pandemic or no, the Atlas Restaurant Group keeps growing. The business founded by Alex Smith has announced its takeover of the Admiral’s Cup in Fells Point.

With the new property, the restaurant group will have 22 restaurants across the U.S., according to a release. In addition, they have plans to expand to add new restaurants in Washington, D.C., and in Baltimore County, with a new location set to open up in around a year. The group did not provide any details about those restaurants.

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Experts say the pandemic will shut down around half of all restaurants in the U.S., with bars and other indoor establishments perhaps likely to be the worst affected. In a statement emailed to The Baltimore Sun through his spokesman, Smith said that while expanding during a pandemic is “difficult,” he was driven by “unwavering commitment to the city of Baltimore.”

With the acquisition of The Admiral’s Cup and the opening of new concepts in Baltimore including Monarque in Harbor East and Atlas Fish Market and Watershed in Federal Hill, the restaurant group will bring around 250 jobs to the community, Atlas said.

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A mainstay of Fells Point during the ’80s and ’90s, The Admiral’s Cup shut down in 2007. Five years later, it reopened under new management. Owners polished some of the grit from the earlier incarnation, while keeping the dive bar’s nautical theme.

Former owner Darin Mislan will continue to oversee day-to-day operations at the pub, according to a release. Reached by phone, Mislan said the sale was not related to the coronavirus, but declined to comment beyond saying he was “excited” to be teaming up with Atlas.

Also involved is Eric Mathias, who owns the nearby Horse You Came in On Saloon. In a statement, Mathias said that Atlas reached out to him about becoming a partner on the project. “We both believe in Baltimore,” he wrote.

A release sent by spokesman Joe Sweeney did not include the cost of the corner property along the waterfront, which includes two buildings at 1645-1647 Thames Street. A record of the sale was not listed in online property records, which indicate the current owner is Thames Street Associates LLC. A spokesman for the city’s liquor board said he had not yet received an application for a transfer of the liquor license.

The acquisition was first reported by The Baltimore Business Journal.

Atlas also operates the Choptank in Fells Point’s Broadway Market. That restaurant has faced controversy over its dress code, which critics called racist. The restaurant group is facing a lawsuit after managers at their Ouzo Bay restaurant denied service to a Black child because his clothes did not meet the dress code.

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