On The Town

Thanksgiving Eve Remains a Time-Honored Tradition in Baltimore

We round up the best bar specials and live music performances to reconnect with your home-for-the-holiday crew.

Back in the fall of 2001, Kenny Liner rented out the old Paloma’s space in Mt. Vernon to host the first-ever show that he and his bandmates would play as The Bridge. The concert just so happened to fall on Thanksgiving Eve, making it convenient for a bunch of old friends to hear the band’s debut while back in town for the holiday.

“Like so many other awesome things in life, that part was just a coincidence that wound up being a great idea,” Liner told us in 2019. “Five-hundred people showed up to a place that could only hold like 200. It was a really crazy, awesome time.”

Although the members of the iconic funk-and-blues collective have since parted ways, they’ve made a tradition of playing a reunion show during the Thanksgiving break each year.

Once again, the six-man crew—including celebrated vocalist Cris Jacobs, saxophonist Patrick Rainey, bass player Dave Markowitz, drummer Mike Gambone, and keyboard player Mark Brown—is getting together for a sold-out performance at The Recher in Towson on Nov. 22.

“It’s all about nostalgia for us,” Liner told us. “We definitely come up with some good ideas to keep people interested, but we know that, at this point, when people are coming to see The Bridge they’re not coming to hear new stuff. They want to hear the songs that they miss hearing.”

Whether squeezing their way through the crowd at the annual Bridge reunion, or heading to neighborhood bars to catch up with old friends, Baltimoreans have grown to embrace Thanksgiving Eve as a requisite kickoff to the fall holiday. Liner credited this, in part, to the area’s tight-knit high school culture.

“So many people are happy to come home and make those connections from their childhood and high school years,” he said. “On Thanksgiving, Thursday is for the families, but Wednesday is for the friends.”

In keeping with that sentiment, we’ve rounded up a few bar specials and events perfect for celebrating with your best buds. Before filling up on turkey, head to these spots around town to jumpstart the long weekend in style.

Wild Turkey Wednesday at The Royal Blue: Grab your nearest and dearest and dance the night away beneath the disco ball at this Station North spot. The Royal Blue is celebrating its second-annual Big Wednesday in style with signature cocktails, plenty of food, and DJ ES spinning starting at 9 p.m.

AYCD Specials at Crossbar: This Federal Hill biergarten goes all out every year, and this time around, the bar is offering a $25 all-you-can-drink deal on domestic beers and rail drinks from 8-10 p.m. Stick around from 10 to close to down $6 bombs and Rumple Minze shots while catching up with your crew.

Thanksgiving Eve: Old School at Charles Village Pub & Patio: Calling all Towson natives—CVP has some of the best drink specials around. If you’re hanging close to home, grab your old buds and reminisce while downing $3 Fireball and green tea shots, $4 Coronas and seltzers, and $5 bombs.

Claddagh Pub’s Thanksgiving Eve Party: Head to this Canton mainstay to sip $4 Nutrl seltzers and $6 Crushes while bumping into old pals and enjoying live DJ tracks. Drink specials run 7 p.m. to close.

Thanksgiving Eve at La Palapa: This Ellicott City watering hole is taking Drinksgiving to a whole other level this year. Aside from live DJ entertainment all night long, the bar will feature a lengthy list of drink deals that includes $4 Dos Equis, Tecate, and Heineken beers; $7 rail drinks; $8 margaritas; and $8 tequila shots.

Thanksgiving Eve with Go Go Gadget at Looney’s South: It only makes sense that this Maple Lawn go-to would book such a hype band for the biggest party night of the year. Arrive early to grab drinks and touch base with old friends before Go Go Gadget brings its high-energy covers and originals to the stage at 9 p.m. If you’re closer to the Perry Hall location, celebrate with an acoustic set during happy hour, and live DJ entertainment from 7-1:30 a.m.

Thanksgiving Eve Bash at Michael’s Cafe: In Timonium, this annual extravaganza will feature the debut of local drum-and-guitar duo Umami inside, as well as bangers spun by DJ Vision in the patio bar room. Be sure to fuel up with a Crush and a crab cake before hitting the dance floor.