A quaint village nestled within the city limits, Mount Washington has its share of Victorian charms to please the eye during the holiday season. But this is the very late 20th century, after all, and so there are buildings here like the Mt. Washington Tavern, which has been extensively modernized without totally losing sight of its antique origins.
This eternally popular restaurant-bar has already clocked 12 years within its 100-year-old building. For a barside sense of the old, consider all the Maryland-themed horse and nautical prints, a mural depicting the original clubhouse at Pimlico, or the globular chandeliers. For a sense of the new, consider the California-styled atrium loftily constructed at one end of the bar, or for that matter simply consider the ever-youthful clientele.
The tavern is a preppie haven in which many of the customers have long since turned 25 and yet miraculously continue to look and act the same. How else to explain all the hey-gang enthusiasm? The perfectly pressed white shirts that remain wrinkle-free at midnight? So much blond hair that shines just as the shampoo ads promise?
Designer casual is the fashion word here, with late December taking us into prime winter-sweater-watch conditions. And there are sports-minded dressers, too, which means you shouldn't be surprised to see someone wearing a Washington and Lee football jersey, or the like. Lacrosse players also like to hang out here.
Although it can be a tight squeeze getting through the crowd some nights, that's part of the civilized fun. The assortment of people is matched by 70 beer brands from which to choose. There is also a raw bar supplementing the restaurant menu.
Normally, we wouldn't discuss the outdoor garden at this time of year, but tavern owner Ted Bauer says the garden will see year-round use once a retractable roof is completed back there in mid-January. A roof that rolls back at the press of a button is a rarity even in a stadium, but here it'll be readily incorporated into the Victorian Moderne design.
The Mt. Washington Tavern
Where: 5700 Newbury St.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Menu: soups, sandwiches, burgers, chicken, veal,
steaks, pasta, seafood.
Credit cards: AE, MC, V.
Call: (410) 367-6903.