A lot of important moments in my life happened before or after stopping by to visit you. There are a lot of bars in Fells Point, and considering I don’t really like bars, there are reasons I would insist on The Horse when it was my turn to pick where to go.
Edgar Allen Poe was the first hook. In my adolescence, I had a mild obsession with the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death, so the opportunity to have a drink where he sipped his last is a big deal in my book. The proximity to a record shop was my next hook. The Sound Garden was open late enough for me to periodically wander over and flip through vinyl when I needed a break from your live bands that, lets be honest, weren’t always the best.
When I was to meet a guy for a blind date, I picked The Horse as our meeting spot. If the guy was a dud, I reasoned, at least I’d be able to pick up a new album or two on the way home. Two years later, when I married that guy, the first stop after our wedding was The Horse. We filled you with our friends, people who had traveled from ten different states, and now we’ve got a whole new group of people that demand we visit you before they go home.
I have a lot of personal history with you, but you have a lot of personal history of your own. You would have to have some stories at the age of 240. You claim to be the oldest continuously operating bar in the United States – a claim I cannot verify, but a claim I can’t disprove either. What I do know is that you have been operating since at least 1775. It’s easy to imagine Colonial Marylanders meeting secretly to discuss revolution inside your brick walls.
Your home on Thames Street, halfway between Boston and Broadway, means you probably saw a lot of traffic from sailors and shipyard workers in your day. Upstairs rooms were rented out to those sailors who needed somewhere to entertain their evening companions. Before the shipyards disappeared and Fells Point became tourist friendly, I doubt that a nice farm girl from Carroll County like myself would have any business visiting you in that part of town. I can still easily imagine how you used to be, but I like you just the way you are, so do me a favor and don’t ever change.
Jacquelyn Daly is studying history at the University of Baltimore and works as a local produce buyer for the Foreman Wolf restaurant group.
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