It’s a good time to celebrate the Roaring 20s. Director Baz Luhrmann has remade “The Great Gatsby” movie. WC Harlan in Remington is one of Baltimore’s hottest bars. And now the former Martick’s Restaurant Francis is about to be remade into a modern-day speakeasy when it reopens in August.
Speakeasies were hidden bars where in-the-know customers could enjoy a cocktail during Prohibition. It will still be called Martick’s, in honor of the late Morris Martick, the restaurant’s long-time owner, but there won’t be a sign at the Mount Vernon restaurant — just like its predecessor. If the light is on, it’s open. If not, you’re out of luck, says Co-owner Brooks Bennett. Another co-owner is Alex Martick, Morris Martick’s brother.
The property at 214 W. Mulberry St. in Mount Vernon consists of a first floor main dining room and the original 1933 bar, plus a second floor slated to be used for private parties. The first floor can seat about 75.
Bennett says they’re bringing in a chef and a mixologist who will showcase seasonal and regional beverages, highlighting Prohibition-era cocktails.
The menu is preliminary but will feature about a half dozen appetizers, including fries made from blue, white and yellow potatoes. The half dozen or so entrees will emphasize seafood.
The operators are leasing the building from the Martick family. The building will undergo a renovation with an eye toward giving it an old-timey speakeasy atmosphere, with reclaimed wooden floors and photos of the late Martick.
Bennet hopes to do a soft opening in August, with an official opening in September. Currently Martick’s will likely be open Wednesdays through Sundays, but if business is good, the owners may expand the hours. Bennett says he expects the city to approve the liquor license in July.
The building really was a speakeasy back during Prohibition. After repeal, it became a legitimate bar. For 38 years, Morris Martick ran his French restaurant there before retiring in 2008. Martick died in 2011 at age 88.
Speakeasies are making a comeback. Bennett says he visited modern day speakeasies from New York to Virginia to get a sense of what might work here in Baltimore.
“It’s all about the mystique and the mood,” he says.
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Brooks Bennett, co-owner Martick’s Speakeasy.