Walking on the wild side at Gator's


You'd expect a collegiate climate at a bar located midway between Loyola College and Towson State University, so it comes as no surprise that Gator's Pub has party hearty spirit to spare. If you'd like to have a look at the future leaders of America, all you need do is peek through the plate glass windows of this pub at the corner of York Road and Belvedere Avenue in Govans. Chances are you'll see energy-to-burn guys wearing T-shirts embossed with the Gator's Pub's motto: "Where all the animals party."

Step inside and there's no missing the biggest lure for the 20-something crowd. Yeah, it's beer, flowing in abundance and at a price to the liking of any tuition-strapped student. On a night by night basis this translates to 35-cent draft beer on Monday, 75 cents for a long neck bottle on Tuesday, a Wednesday mug night with $1.25 for the plastic mug and 75 cents for each draft refill, and a two-for-one drink night on Thursday that includes both mixed drinks and draft beer.

Another Joe college touch is the Foosball tournament held every Sunday night, where the sporting shouts seem loud enough to spin any baseball cap around to the fashion-preferred, wear-it-backward style. Although there are only two Foosball tables here, they seem to define the place as much as anything. Fortunately, if you're not in a sporting mood, the layout of this pub -- a meandering to the point of a serpentine bar and a hodgepodge of rooms -- makes it easy to find a quieter niche to enjoy pizza and a brewski.

With so much wild life on display at Gator's Pub, I simply assumed the bar's name to be a gimmicky allusion to the snapping alligators that make swamps so adventurous. You know, just as that other gator-named nightspot -- A.L. Gators in Riviera Beach -- has semi-tropical mischief in mind.

But complete truth be told, there's no business connection whatsoever between the two pubs -- they're not even closely related like gators and crocs -- and, moreover, Gator's Pub owner Ray Santa had a valid real-life reason for the name. He once worked as a snake hunter in Central and South America, collecting rare snakes for their venom. He's also been involved with various reptile exhibits and thus knows his way around gators and other dangerous critters. These seem like ideal credentials for anybody who wants to maintain order at a bar.

Having a healthy respect for gators and for those who can handle them, I was not about to quibble with Mr. Santa when he boasted of his pub: "We have the finest pizza on this side of the galaxy."

Gator's Pub

Where: 5914 York Road.

Hours: Open 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday.

Menu: pizza, sandwiches.

Credit cards: AE, MC, V.

Call: 433-0114.

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