‘Back Yard Baltimore’ Opens in Hollins Market at the Former ‘Patrick’s of Pratt Street’

| December 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

Earlier this fall, Back Yard Baltimore opened at 131 S. Schroeder St. (corner of Schroeder St. and Pratt St.) in the longtime home of Patrick’s of Pratt Street. Patrick’s closed in 2017 after 169 years of ownership by the same Irish family. It was considered by many as one of the oldest Irish pubs in the country.

Back Yard is a owned and managed by business partners Michael Cavanagh and Lara Summerson who met while bartending together. Cavanagh, Summerson, and an investor purchased the building along with the adjacent 129 Schroeder St. building and a vacant lot at 934 W. Pratt St. in 2017.

Both Cavanagh and Summerson are longtime employees of the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Back Yard is now open on the first floor of 131 S. Schroeder St. Plans are in place to expand into 129 Schroeder St. to add a first-floor dining room. These plans will also expand Back Yard into the second floor of 131 S. Schroeder St. to add an event and private dining space. Eventually the team wants to additionally expand into 934 W. Pratt St. to add an outdoor dining area.

Cavanagh and Summerson spent eight months renovating the first-floor bar space. This included keeping some original elements and adding some new touches. They restored the original bar from the 1800s and kept a portion of the original tin ceiling. They also kept an antique cash register which they plan on displaying within the restaurant.

Most of the first floor features exposed, restored ceiling beams. The renovation also included dry wall work, exposing a brick wall, new hardwood floors, a new exposed ductwork HVAC system, and reclaimed wood and steel tables and counters by Made InMetality, which also created the new sign out front.

The first floor has four tables, bar seating, and table seating. Capacity will be expanded when the new dining room is built. Cavanagh and Summerson also added three high definition TVs for sports watching. Classic 1800s prints from the B&O Railroad and Hollins Market have been hung on the walls.

The small kitchen was updated with a new Merrychef oven and a prep area.

The kitchen space is limited, but Back Yard serves charcuterie, vegetable, and cheese plates; sandwiches; salads; and warm pretzels.

Unique to Back Yard is its tin fish menu, which is inspired by traditional dining in Spain and Portugal. Most of Back Yard’s tins are from these countries, but it also offers selections from Chile and the United States. The tin selection includes sardines, trout filets in pickle sauce, white tuna in olive oil, mussels in olive oil, mackerel pate, stickleback in pickle sauce, squid in olive oil, and octopus in olive oil. The tin fish are paired with baguettes, mustards, and spreads.

The beer menu at Back Yard is focused on local brews. All of the nine drafts, other than Guinness Stout which is a nod to Patrick’s, will be local to Maryland and the region. The bottle and can beer menu features a large selection of craft beers, many from Maryland.

Cavanagh is passionate about wine as his other business is Cavanagh Family Imports which imports wines mostly from South Africa. Cavanagh and his family spent some time living in Zambia where they learned about a lot of these South African wines. He grew his passion for wine while working at Ruth’s Chris.

When the second story of Back Yard is completed, Cavanagh plans on hosting wine education and tasting nights. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine.

The wine list at Back Yard features an extensive selection of wines by the glass and bottle. The list offers white, rosé, red, and sparkling selections from Europe, South Africa, South America, and the United States.

Cavanagh said the goal is to have a liquor selection that is “not ordinary.” Along with a extensive selection of unique liquors, it will serve $5 house bourbon and rums every day. Cavanagh noted the house liquors will not be typical rail labels, but the best affordable products they can find like Old Grand-Dad whiskey. Back Yard offers a menu of house cocktails including The Roundhouse which pays tribute to the adjacent B&O Railroad museum.

Back Yard has a barter board for regulars who want to pay for a drink for another regular the next time they visit.

Back Yard is open daily from 4pm to 12am on Monday to Saturday. It opens at 12pm on Sundays for NFL games.

Back Yard offers daily happy hour specials and will bring in Irish bands about once a month, continuing a tradition of Patrick’s.

Back Yard has a small staff of bartenders who will rotate to the kitchen to prepare food as well.

Cavanagh and Summerson are hoping Back Yard will be a popular neighborhood destination. Cavanagh raved about the neighborhood support and feedback so far. While located in Hollins Market, Back Yard also close to Union Square, Barre Circle, Ridgely’s Delight, and Pigtown.

About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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