Friends Grille, a neighborhood bar in Pigtown that celebrates good things by ringing a bell behind the bar, has a bit of their own not-so-happy update to share.
The bar has closed after a little over three years in business in a gray rowhouse on Carroll Street.
D. Greene, part owner of Friends Grille, said the purchase contract expired for the building and financing fell through to renew it. They were unable to negotiate an extension and new owners are expected to move into the building.
Greene said they plan to pivot their business model for the summer and host their own events in a temporary space as they look for a new home. They’re still finalizing where the temporary space will be, but they want to stay busy and relevant during the transition, Greene added. A Friends Grille night is expected for June and they’ll welcome their Carroll Street customer base out to wherever they end up.
The closure is still fresh, Greene said. In an Instagram post about it, the owners thanked the customers for their continued support and wrote that they are “optimistic” about what the future holds, although what’s to come is unclear.
Friends Grille strived to create an environment where people walk in strangers and leave with at least one friend. Neighbors to the bar frequented often and it wasn’t uncommon for folks to travel from across the city to get there. A Saturday night could have a couple nestled in the corner playing Connect Four, a small huddle near the flat screen television watching a game and plates of honey Old Bay wings and golden brown fried fish shuffling out of the kitchen. One regular customer told The Banner last year that the bar was like his very own “Cheers” experience and that it created a “fusion of neighborhoods.”
Kristin Abernathy previously said the bar helped her meet people when she moved to the area. She visited so often she deemed herself the unofficial mayor of the bar.
“I’ll miss them, the familial vibe they brought to the neighborhood, and will support whatever venture is next,” Abernathy said.
Whether it was an anniversary, birthday or promotion, the bar’s quirky tradition of ringing a bell when people came in with good news celebrated feats big or small. It’s a tradition that stemmed from ringing the bell every time the Ravens made a touchdown. The bar was conveniently located less than a mile away from M&T Bank Stadium.
Greene said the bell is going with them, as is the tradition. He recorded himself ringing it one last time on Carroll Street Sunday when he also served the final meal to the last customer. It’s not the last time the bell will ring, though, Greene said.
He added that people should follow Friends Grille on Instagram and other social media platforms to stay up to date on their progress. Without disclosing too much, Greene said, they should have some business news to share soon that’s worth ringing the bell for.
“We’re done over on Carroll Street but Friends Grille is not finished,” Greene said.