With a bar, a lounge, a dining area, an area known as the cellar and a beer garden, it's no wonder why the Southport City Saloon has regulars who visit up to four times a week. Not quite Gibsons but far from McDonald's, the establishment feels more like a restaurant with a bar than a bar that serves food.
In its 100-plus years, the building has housed everything from a bookmaking establishment to a barbershop to a hotdog stand. But the saloon's been the sole tenant since 1976, when Larry Price purchased it.
Because of the diversity of functions, guests utilize the saloon in many different ways. During the week, they'll catch a game or televised police chase near the bar, where cocktails start at $7. Some play pool and converse about Balkan politics in the lounge area with shamrock-green walls. And in summer, folks stream out to the brick-layered beer garden equipped with an outdoor bar.
Perhaps most striking are the dining areas, lit by Jupiter-size lamps. The restaurant is decorated with a grandfather clock, international flags and a pet-shop inventory of avian friends (fake, of course). The cellar captures a rustic look with brick walls and an authentic fireplace. Your server, Skip, compares the decor with that of his grandmother's basement. However, the space almost appears a museum of some sort (think House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin).
Bar food includes Maryland crab cakes and Thai-chicken spring rolls $4-$10. Skip favors the Szechwan steak salad: marinated, sliced steak atop a bed of cabbage and greens with roasted peppers and tomatoes served with warm Szechwan dressing, $12. Entrees like Saloon pork chops and New York strip steak range from $14-$24.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez