According to Google Maps, itís about 550 miles from Brunswick, Maine to Baltimore, Maryland. It was nevertheless no surprise that when we visited Of Love and Regret a week after it opened, the bar was packed with Mainers that had come all the way down to see what Ryan and Leigh had been up to.
If you never met the husband and wife team when they were working at the Lionís Pride, they can be simply described as some of the best in the world at what they do. They are walking beer encyclopedias - not limited to particular region or style, which is nice. But what really differentiates them in an industry that seems to prize attitude is their accessibility. Theyíre knowledge and yet friendly, a sadly rare combination these days.
The beer is uniformly excellent, as expected. The list is heavy on Stillwater, with both exclusives and rare bottles (Bourbon Aged Folklore, for example) available. But itís got an excellent and balanced selection beyond that, from selections from abroad like Evil Twin or Orval to local finds like Brewerís Art to West Coast offerings from the likes of Firestone.
But this was to be expected. While at the Lionís Pride, Ryan and Leigh built a reputation for having world class palettes and sourcing skills to match. What I hadnít anticipated was that the food at Of Love and Regret would be every bit as impressive as the beer.
With the cuisine handled by the chefs from Jackís Bistro - a venue with an excellent reputation, from what I understand, youíre going to eat well. Whether your tastes run to the exotic (think fried pigs ears and duck tongues) to the standard (burgers and mac and cheese), they have you covered. Even the basics are world class; their grilled cheese - made with grilled scallions, smoked tomatoes and cheeses from brie to gouda - is easily the best Iíve ever had.
All in all, Maineís loss is quite obviously Baltimoreís gain. Thereís a reason so many of us traveled hundreds of miles to see what Ryan and Leigh had been up to with Stillwater and the folks from Jackís Bistro. If you find yourself in their neck of the woods, you can find out for yourself. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
As a warning to frugal consumers, this is truly a no-expense-spared quality establishment, so if youíre concerned about money when you go out, go elsewhere. The decor is more akin to high end wine bars Iíve visited. Narrow, 2-floor space with minimalist, clean wood furnishings and exposed brick walls and overhead ductwork. Classic, painted ceiling tiles and overhead fans add an old-world Belgian bistro feel to the joint.
The tap list is about half Stillwater offerings and the guest taps are very selective, rare and tasty. The bottles are equally selective and rare. I hadnít tried anything that wasnít excellent! There are no cheap spirits either. At the upstairs bar, Fernet Branca, Chartreuse and Schlenkerla Helles Schnapps are on tap!!!
While we only ate off the late night menu, we looked at the other menu and I can say that the food we had was solid. Gastropub fare, mostly. Nothing that adventurous, but no typical pub grub either. Presentation was kind of boring and seeing a bottle of Frenchís Yellow Mustard and Heinze condiments kind of takes away fine dining cred.
Service was friendly and staff members were passionate and knowledgable. It seems they all are working to create a pub that has everything they want to eat and drink without compromise. Even the glassware is step above most nice beer bars, with delicate, elegant stemware as the standard go-to for everything they pour.
This might be my favorite new place to imbibe!
Very cool place enjoyed in the company of biggirlpanties, EricE, BrainLair, MrChopin. Ambiance is excellent- smaller, not cramped, no gaudy decor. Very simple exposed brick, nice lighting, wide tables and bars. You sit and drink communally. Service was top notch, quick, attentive, friendly. Tap list is large, featuring a good mix of beers. About 1/3 house beers from Stillwater, and 2/3 Belgian and German beers. Also had Victory Braumeister Pils on tap- a world class, hard to find Czech style pils. Food was excellent, not too expensive, came out quickly. Burgers on the croissants were delicious and the sous vide steak frites were out of this world. Really loved this place. Bottle list was smaller but well thought out though pricey. BA Cellar Door and BA Folklore 750s were $35. Most taps were $7-8. Best deal was $18 32oz pitchers of Stillwater Premium. Unfortunately no pitchers were allowed of Table Beer, which seems like an oxymoron. Between Stillwater Premium and Table Beer on tap, this is already a top beer place for me. Both were outstanding.
Located in an old part of town, just half a block away from National Brewing building. Not fancy, but artisinal and cozy. Nice, long (60í - 75í) bar made of a nice cut of wood, possibly oak. The staff is attentive, friendly and fast. Lots of ceiling fans. One television, but it is turned off... and there are lots of baseball and some basketball games on at the moment, so, no, itís not a sports bar in the least. Probably use the TV for special movies and stuff like that. The selection of beer is terrific... mostly Stillwater, but some other interesting stuff as well. The appetizers are great, but I didnít order a meal, so I canít comment on that. Highly recommended.
MrChopin (100) Baltimore, Maryland | June 16, 2012| Updated January 5, 2014
Been here a couple times already within opening weeks. Highlights include: knowledgeable, connected staff led by Ryan; more Stillwater beers than your wallet can afford ticking; awesome, varied guest taps like Braumeister, Schlenkerla (quality lagers are appreciated here!); and a diverse, inexpensive bottle list including lambics to Stillwater rarities. Best burgers, fantastic apps. The real deal is the $18 36oz pitchers of select Stillwater beers. Location only mediocre, outskirts of town, but only a minute from I95. Bit cramped table-wise. Service is cheery but definitely on the slow side.
Baltimoreís #1 spot.. A fairer, less-hipster version of Phillyís Farmerís Cabinet with no gaudy make-up. Wonít compete with Maxís for crowds, taplist size, or events, the food is way better, the service far more knowledgeable, and itís within walking distance to Jackís. Plus, the taplist is all about quality: low abv, lagers adored, freshness ensured.. their 20 taps are better than Maxís 100. On average the best tap list Iíve ever seen on the east coast, the exact opposite of a place like Akkurat where all the wealth is in the bottles. If the second and third floor open up as planned, this will be the best US spot Iíve ever been to.
Unfortunately the food has changed here. Beer is still great, but previous chef has moved on.. no more duck fat, tartare, pigs ears, duck tongue.. Sad.
Visited last night after a nice trip up to the Philly area. The atmosphere is nice. Itís a fairly-small place with a big community table behind the bar. Kind of an intimate atmosphere. Servers were all very friendly and quite enthusiastic about beer, which is a great thing. The selection was nice, including Stillwater beers on draft along with other guest drafts. Nice bottle selection, which included all of Stillwaterís barrel-aged offerings. Pricing was pretty good, especially on the bottles. The 36oz pitcher specials are pretty nice as well. A good visit, and Iíll certainly be returning.