27 October 2009

Want a Side of Music With Your Real Ale?

Full Baltimore Sun story (with lots of commentary below it) here:
The Baltimore City Council voted Monday to allow bars and restaurants in some of the city's trendiest neighborhoods to hire bands, singers and other performers, overturning a decades-old prohibition that City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake says has stifled nightlife in town.

"This is an opportunity in lean times for establishments to expand the entertainment they are able to offer," she said after the measure passed by voice vote. "It also makes us more marketable as a city."

The legislation has excited bar owners across the city who are looking to enhance their establishments. But it has also stirred deep concerns among residents of Southeast Baltimore, Federal Hill and Hampden that the lure of live entertainment would bring even more noise, traffic and parking woes to their already popular neighborhoods.
 More from the Sun's Sam Sessa here.

I'm of mixed opinions here.  There's almost no occasion anymore where I go out just for music--or, for that matter, karaoke, trivia night, poetry slams, or whatever.  Usually, if I'm out drinking, I'm there for the beer, so stop distracting me from the notes of toffee, chocolate, and mellow hops.  But many places and musicians owe their business to entertainment and the mutual support of each other: the Cat's Eye, Ram's Head, J. Patrick's, Mick O'Shea's, and others.  Even Max's Taphouse started out, ages ago, as a music hall.

Fortunately, one band of which I am a fan has long been an enthusiastic supporter of real ale:  Fairport Convention, who I haven't seen in person in years and isn't booked for the States anytime soon.........  "Fairport did for real ale what the Grateful Dead did for LSD!"

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