Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn
“See?! I’m getting my Orioles hat out of the trunk.”
Mr. Bill’s is the kind of place where the older gentleman in slacks, who appears in photos at various ages on the wall along with maritime art and sports memorabilia, sits on a stool guarding the dining room from the bar and will begrudgingly take your name down. Maybe he doesn’t want you there. Locals only.
You’ll drink a couple Yuenglings at the substantial rectangular bar while kids commandeer the pool table and cropped-haired ladies who remind me of women my grandma would know, women who three decades ago might’ve worn t-shirts that said liquor in the front, poker in the rear, sip brown liquor on ice through little straws. Maybe you’ll be tempted to play Keno but shy away because you’ve only partaken in Oregon and maybe it’s different in Maryland. You don’t want to look like a New Yorker.
If you’re lucky, your name will be called in under an hour and you’ll be led from one windowless room to another. Vinyl booths and long communal tables covered in brown paper. No metal cracking implements, just wooden mallets and sturdy plastic knives. It’s hard to say if it’s a bar with a restaurant or a restaurant with a bar. You’ll order a dozen Old Bay-encrusted crabs; big ones for $50-something or even bigger specimens for maybe ten dollars more. They’ll be worth the work; none of that shrunken crustacean all you can eat business where you burn out, fingers cut up and still hungry.
On your way out, the gatekeeper slaps you on the back. No Baltimore cap needed, afterall.
Mr. Bill's Terrace Inn * 200 Eastern Blvd., Essex, MD