Soon patrons of the Charles Village Pub will enjoy an upgraded patio, a new bar and a new look for the classic Pennsylvania Avenue watering hole.
Baltimore County's design review panel approved designs for the rebuilt pub at its brief monthly meeting on Tuesday evening. The original pub, long a destination for both college students and the Towson-area lunch crowd, was destroyed by fire in January.
The fire gave the bar an opportunity to upgrade. Owner Rick Bielski said the new design mixes "a little bit of the old with some new."
The "old" includes the building's footprint and facade, which resembles the original 42-year-old building, and the first floor bar layout. The "new" includes a second-floor outdoor bar, upgraded signage and a redesigned rear patio.
The panel unanimously approved the design, but suggested that the owners take a second look at fencing around the dumpster and placing a trash can in front of the building.
They also wanted assurances that the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue would be repaired. Bielski said the county had promised to repair the sidewalk before the fire. Overall, the panel seemed to be pleased.
"It's a nice-looking project," said William Monk, the panel's chairman.
Dino Luzzi, owner of nearby Town & Country Travel, said his part of downtown Towson has been relatively quiet since the fire.
The new pub "is going to make Pennsylvania Avenue look great," he said. "It's going to bring foot traffic back to Pennsylvania Avenue."
Bielski said he hopes to start construction in July and to open the pub before the end of the year.
"Hopefully in three or four weeks we should be able to move some dirt," he said.
Meanwhile, most of the bar's former employees are working at Ocean Pride in Lutherville, another business Bielski owns, and at other nearby restaurants until the new bar opens. Also waiting patiently, Bielski said, are much of CVP's former clientele.
"I think that once we open, we'll get the kids back right away," he said.