There’s a lot of history behind Harryman House (340 Main St., Reisterstown, 410-833-8850). Built around a bona fide log cabin dating back to 1791, the space was once a grocery store, a saddlery, and a drug store. Centuries later, we appreciate how the restaurant, which tacked on The Grill to its name in 2008, continues to reinvent itself.
The latest transformation has taken place specifically in the tavern room, where a beautiful multi-shelf, wooden bar complete with a moving library ladder was installed last year. (Talk about hands-on—the restaurant’s owner, John Worthington, built the new bar himself.) Though the white tablecloths in the bar might throw you off, this is an ideal place to have a casual dinner or simply drinks and appetizers while the game is on.
One look at the menu and our bearded barkeep’s mixing skills, and it’s clear that The Grill at Harryman House has a thoughtful bar program. Take its cocktail list, which is lengthy at 17 selections, but contains no filler. Look for playful twists on the traditional—like a margarita made with a splash of apple cider and a brown sugar rim, or a mule made with moonshine—as well as innovative original concoctions. We were big fans of the Cranberry Caipirinha, which added some tartness and acidity to the traditional Brazilian drink by way of muddled cranberry and lime.
The bar also offers themed wine flights at extremely reasonable price points. (Loved the “Malbec is not dead!” flight—we happen to agree.) With offerings from Monument City, Jailbreak, and Flying Dog, the beer selection leans heavily toward the local and seasonal, which you don’t always find in your average suburban bar.
The menu items are similarly inspired. Our mouths couldn’t help but water when we saw a cast-iron pan of roasted shrimp go by, so we order one for ourselves and it's hearty and spicy thanks to acorn squash and green-chili butter. Other ways to soak up the alcohol include barely fried cauliflower “popcorn” with honey-Sriracha sauce, or deviled eggs topped with thin shavings of country ham.
All of these tavern details prove that, even though The Grill at Harryman House is full of nostalgia, there are plenty of reasons to make new memories here.