Formerly nautical Drifters changes tack with new name, different decor

The Baltimore Sun

It was time for a change at Drifters Raw Bar.

About three years ago, when Danny Pirog and Nick Marshall bought Bandaloops and renamed it Drifters, they went hog wild with a maritime theme. They even hung life-sized pirate mannequins from the ceiling.

But recently, Pirog and Marshall felt the look and feel of Drifters had run its course and were ready to give the space a fresh start.

Last month, they oversaw some serious renovations at the bar. Floors were ripped up and replaced with new wood planks. Two of the three bars were torn apart and rebuilt (the first one as you walk in is still the same, but they hope to replace it soon, too).

The walls got a fresh coat of light-green paint, the pirates were packed up and hauled off, and the building was renamed Nobles Restaurant and Grill. It was closed for about two weeks and reopened near the end of last month.

But the biggest change so far: Some storage space was annexed onto the rest of the bar, which added extra room to the rear of both floors.

And the work isn't finished yet, Pirog said. They ordered some high-top tables to set up in the new rooms and also plan on decorating the walls.

"The space has always been there," Pirog said. "We just make better use of it now."

As a result, Nobles is a larger, less cluttered space with more of a classic pub feel. The general layout remains -- you can still peer down from the second floor bar and watch people mill about the downstairs bar.

"When you own a business, you're always looking to do new things and improve," Pirog said. "We want to keep it more open and nice now. I think we are going to get some different things in that are going to be neat."

And when the place isn't absolutely slammed on Friday and Saturday nights, the bartenders are still pleasant and quick.

Nobles' menu is largely the same, except for the addition of a few new wraps. With the name change comes a slight (50-cent) increase in beer prices, but that's not surprising. A few bars around town have recently raised their prices. Most say it's due to rising energy bills, among other expenses.

But Nobles will carry over Drifter's list of seasonal drink specials like $2 domestic bottles on Tuesdays and its infamous $10 all-you-can-drink from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays. That's one of the neighborhood's wildest ways to jump-start a weekend.

At first, I missed the pirates. They set Drifters apart from nearby bars like MaGerk's, Mother's Federal Hill Grille and Mad River.

But now, I'm kind of glad the pirates are gone. They startled me more than once over the years. Imagine looking up from your beer and staring into the eye (patch) of a giant (plastic) pirate. That's spooky stuff. Good riddance, pirate scum.

"Now they're scaring my kids in my garage," Pirog said.

With the renovations, Pirog and Marshall have plenty of extra space to play around with. And Drifters had a pretty loyal clientele of folks from the neighborhood.

Nobles Restaurant and Grill is at 1024 S. Charles St. Hours are 4 p.m.-2 a.m. daily. Call 410-727- 1355.

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