The name of a bar and restaurant on Hull Street in Locust Point, Hull Street Blues is an obvious pun on the long-running 1980's police drama Hill Street Blues. But frequent the bar a few times and you'll see why the neighborhood hangout is far more reminiscent of another popular sitcom. Like Cheers, Hull Street Blues is a place where everybody knows your name.
On a recent Friday afternoon between the lunch and dinner shifts, Terry Bloom, a Hull Street Blues server, sits at the bar talking with her co-workers. She's not taking a breather: it's her day off, and she's just come by for a glass of wine and some chit-chat.
Terry has lived in Locust Point virtually her entire life -- her only time "away" from Locust Point was when she and her husband, also a lifelong Locust Pointer, lived a few blocks west of the neighborhood's Lawrence St. border. For her, Locust Point is just "a blue collar neighborhood with literally a bar on almost every corner."
Alas, the era of the corner bar in Locust Point seems to slowly be coming to an end, which may be why Locust Pointers are so devoted to them. Another demonstration of just how small and close-knit the neighborhood is today, is that Bloom says she pick her hangouts based on who owns them. Changing Spaces
The owners of Luca's Café on E. Fort Street, for example, are "very nice," Terry says, adding that it has a "nice atmosphere" and "good food" – particularly the Caesar salad. She also raves about the pasta with beef and cream sauce at Pazza Luna on E. Clement Street, and would direct most anyone to JR's Bar & Grill for "lots of locals, good food and karaoke."
Owner Dan Macatee, who opened Hull Street Blues 25 years ago and spends seven days a week there, recounts with fondness the "amazing changes" Locust Point has undergone during his tenure.
"We've seen an influx of young professionals and young families moving in, but at the same time the older folks have been able to hold on," says Macatee. "So the neighborhood has really maintained its flavor."
Not surprisingly, Hull Street Blues is Macatee's favorite hangout in Locust Point. He loves its "split personality," – on one side is a casual bar, complete with shuttle board, and on the other, known as the Commodore Room, is elegant seating, with white linen tablecloths and a fireplace. If you're lucky, you'll be there when re-enactors from Fort McHenry drop by for a beer in costume and sing a few 19th century ditties.
Dan could also be biased when he names his own Whetstone Grill as a great place for breakfast or lunch. He recently opened the eatery, which is taken from Locust Point's original name, Whetstone Point, to serve locals looking for "a Panara with beer and wine." The green-themed café offers breakfast foods as well as soups, salads, wraps and paninis, and provides catering, as well.