Setting the standard: The Globe in Berlin

Setting the standard: The Globe in Berlin

I don’t remember enough about the “old” Globe to say much about it one way or another. I popped in once just around the turn of the century, knew immediately it wasn’t for me, and popped back out. I was in my 30s at the time, maybe my late 20s and pretty much everything about Berlin said, “Keep on moving, kid. And stay off our lawn.”

The next time I was at the Globe, I was a reporter covering a meeting of the recently re-invigored Main Street committee. I met owner Jennifer Dawicki, who hosted the event and was a major proponent of continuing to push the new 2nd Friday Art Strolls through the winter. The meeting was in the upstairs gallery. I was too new to know that I was in the “new” Globe or that there was any controversy about the fact.

The Stay-Off-Our-Lawn contingent referred to the “new” Globe and it’s fancy beers and diverse, quasi-metropolitan menu with the inferred derision of the type particular to their set. It was in the intonation of the word “new” while the rest of the sentence was open to interpretation. The phrase “old” was incapable of being misunderstood as it was part of the sentence, “I liked the old Globe.”

For me, though, the “old” Globe was part of the “old” Berlin which, at the time, consisted primarily of shuttered storefronts and antique shops. But there were galleries trying to bloom and a couple of funky, off-Main Street shops along with the core of shop owners who were committed to dragging Berlin back to relevance and economic stability.

Globe in Berlin
Hanging out at the Globe in Berlin during Happy Hour, enjoying a cold beer.

Happy Hour at the Globe in Berlin

One of the great complaints about 2nd Friday early on was that too many of the shops closed early so they could go to the Globe, which took the event as seriously as anyone. They held spectacular art openings every month featuring regional and national artists. Similarly they had proper concerts of the type usually restricted to the Avalon theater in Easton or Ram’s Head in Annapolis—largish regional acts and very popular local acts. The Globe had live original music.

As it turned out, the people who “liked the old Globe in Berlin” weren’t missed by those of us who embraced the “new” one. In fact, not only did the 30-something crowd poke their heads in and stay rather than move on, but so did the 40-something and 50-something crowd. Hell, plenty of the 60-something crowd was tickled with the food and the menu. It was the first restaurant to ban smoking before the “legal” ban. The Globe was about culinary and aesthetic taste, so smoking wasn’t missed, even by me and I was an enthusiastic smoker.

People came to the Globe and stayed for Berlin, and as the town caught on it acted somewhat as the anchor of cool as the galleries and new shops filled in the gaps between the traditional and antique shops. The downtown filled and the Globe prospered in its center. The Coppertop Bar was a centerpiece, but as the restaurant continued to improve and to be daring the entire place set the standard for the new Berlin cool but cultured, staid but not stodgy.

Globe in Berlin
Plenty of great beer on tap and all the spirits you’ve come to expect from a quality bar.

Meet the new Globe, same as the old Globe

In the six or so months I’ve been back in town I haven’t heard the phrase “old” Globe. I think mostly people break down into two categories: those who never have heard the term, and those embarrassed by it. After a decade in business, it was clear that the term “old” Globe made sense only in reference to the building as it has been in the early 20th century. The Globe is best described as the Globe.

The thing that has changed the least, and the thing that still makes it among the best places to spend Happy Hour is that you can be as engaged with the crowd as you wish. From the very first, what set the Globe apart at Happy Hour was its openness to discussion. It attracted people who were gregarious enough to entertain and converse with strangers, but respectful enough to give anyone enough space.

It hadn’t changed when I went in for my most recent experience. People were happy to be together and happy to invite me to join them. Several asked questions and several others kept to themselves. The mood is always up, always welcoming. They still have one of the finest alcohol selections in the area, especially for a bar their size. They have plenty of local beer on tap, but also have regional and national standards available. Their wine list is compatible with their menu, and their happy hour bar snacks are almost aggressively diverse. That is, the Globe is not afraid to fry things, but neither does the kitchen shy from healthy and subtle choices.

For my money, though, the most special thing about the Globe in Berlin is that it still feels fluid. Mostly it looks the same, and mostly the attitude is the same but that just happens to be the case. The Globe has an attitude of openness to change that makes it forever young. They have tried a bunch of stuff that didn’t stick, but it was in the trying that the Globe developed its reputation, in its willingness to try and fail with new things that the Globe succeeded.

This story originally ran in 2016, calendar information was changed or deleted. — Ed.

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