Welcome to our new series “Neighborhood Watch,” which reveals the character of a city neighborhood through the eyes of residents who live there. All photos by Tyler Merbler.
It was a damp February Friday and I was out of breath by the time I reached Mount Royal Tavern. I had just missed the Circulator downtown and didn’t have the luxury of waiting 20 minutes for the next one, so I huffed it north, hoping I wouldn’t be too late to meet up at The Mount Royal Tavern with Bolton Hill residents Kevin and Sarah Cross. Kevin and I met through a mutual friend and through the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, I learned that Kevin has a wealth of knowledge of all things Baltimore. On social media, he’d comment on the history of the city, upcoming festivals, or anything and everything going on around town. When I decided to highlight neighborhoods in Baltimore through the eyes of quintessential residents, I knew he and his wife Sarah would be the perfect place to start.
This was my first visit to the Mount Royal Tavern; it was everything I desire from a bar. Cash only. Old men tending bar. An elderly patron calling me her shield from unsolicited advances. The bartenders are heavy on the whiskey in their whiskey sodas, which pretty much cinched MRT for me. It was like Club Charles if they had exchanged all the hipsters for quirky lifetime locals and replaced the art deco decor with absurd, ever-changing art, like the erotica-themed pieces that lined the walls that night.