I always thought that Charles Village just needed more bars, since the ones that do exist (the Charles Village Pub, Maxies, that underground one that smells kind of funny) are inevitably packed and miserable on a weekend night. Packed with underage drinkers, it seems, as recent efforts by the Baltimore police have shown. And when police chase the youngsters away, the bars are pleasant for the rest of us — though perhaps not for the business owners themselves.

Midway through October, a Hopkins freshman was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a late night at Maxies; for a few days afterward, police flanked the bar’s front door and patio, giving mean looks to anyone who looked under 21 and was trying to enter. (But — and not that you need us to convince you — college students drink, including the underage ones. And as many as 20 percent of college students have fake IDs, according to a 2002 Harvard study.) Lat May, a University of Maryland student from Potomac was charged with making and selling fake IDs. 

The police presence — which has died down somewhat in the past few weeks — puts a damper on area businesses, which depend on students who (even if they are of age) may not feel welcome at places with significant police presence. But such is the downside of operating in a college town.