To call this project a labor of of love might be an understatement. Five years ago, before Clavel was even a glimmer in their eye, the husband-and-wife team of Lane Harlan and Matthew Pierce wanted to open a small-scale beer garden in Baltimore.
The pieces didn’t quite come together, and they moved on—such is life. But that vision remained and, in fact, only grew into what is now a multipurpose complex in Old Goucher that will soon consist of three small businesses and an artist residency.
The first of those businesses is Fadensonnen (3 W. 23rd St.). Located in a former two-story carriage house, it’s not only a beer garden but a natural wine and sake bar. Mirroring the mood of Clavel, the 148-seat courtyard is minimalist with a wooden overhang, string lights, and picnic tables. The beer garden menu features a sustainable keg program pouring small-batch selections from Union Craft Brewing, Brooklyn Kura, Old Westminster Winery, and Hex Ferments.
In case you were wondering (like many are), “Fadensonnen” is the title of a German poem published in 1968 by Paul Celan and translates into English as “threadsuns,” which gives a nod to both the style of the beer garden and its open-air concept.
Ascend the carriage house stairs and you’ll find a cozy, 35-seat wine bar complete with original exposed ceiling beams, a white-brick fireplace, and charred Japanese wood throughout. Details aren’t overlooked here, and nice touches include the complimentary hot tea upon arrival and the bar and snacks from Larder (an upcoming business in the complex) such as pork pâté, chocolate, and charcuterie plates.
Things can get really funky, literally, as you taste your way through natural wines and unpasteurized sake. Take the sake from Fukushima, Japan, that was smooth and creamy and had hints of sweet cherry. Or the apricot-colored wine from the country of Georgia that was super earthy and peachy and redefined what we thought wine could taste like.
And that’s the magic of all of Harlan and Pierce’s projects—they don’t just nourish us, they make us think. After paying our bill, we walked away not only with the warm buzz of wine and sake humming in our heads, but with a new perspective on how a bar should be: edifying yet comfortable.