Many pubs suffer from an identity crisis.
Are they local watering holes for the average sports fan? Or are they upscale restaurants attracting a more sophisticated clientele?
Michael's Pub in Kings Contrivance Village Center seems to have found the right formula for solving that problem.
The 13-year-old restaurant boasts a 33,000-square-foot, nonsmoking dining area that can seat 110 amid a forest green decor.
A 1,700-square-foot bar next door -- built more than two years ago -- can accommodate 65 sports-crazy fans who like to smoke and drink beer.
More changes are on the way, said George Strott, the pub's general manager. The restaurant is seeking an 825-square-foot expansion for a banquet room for wedding receptions and meetings.
Strott said the pub is a popular spot with office workers.
"We do very well with lunches and with all of the business parks around us," he said.
Strott said many families also dine at the pub. The busiest nights are Wednesday through Saturday.
That's not to say that the restaurant has left out customers who enjoy watching sports events. Many of them sit in the separate smoking bar and enjoy specials such as a plate of buffalo wings with a pitcher of beer for $10 during the Monday night football game.
The restaurant's menu also has grown. When Strott joined the pub as a chef in 1990, the menu was limited to sandwiches and burgers. Now, patrons can order an 8-ounce filet mignon and Maryland crab cakes, along with other dinner entrees.
Strott said the menu likely will change again this year to include more entrees.
There are daily lunch and dinner specials. A $1-a-draft special is available Wednesday nights, and drink specials for employees of other restaurants are available Sundays.
Where: 8630 Guilford Road, Columbia; 410-290-7878.
Hours: 11: 30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily; kitchen open until 11 nightly.
Prices: Appetizers, $4.95-$7.95; sandwiches, $4.95-$9.95; entrees, $9.95-$19.95.
Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diners Club.