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History on Tap: Recher Owners Revive Towson Tavern

The new bar next to The Rec Room bears the name of Towson's first pub.

In 1768, it was the age-old mantra that led Ezekiel Towson to build his tavern at York and Joppa roads: Location, location, location.

And now, 243 years later, the bar—one of Towson's first establishments and once the area's prime watering hole for weary travelers—is making a comeback thanks to the owners of the Rec Room and Recher Theatre.

The new tavern, located in what was once the Rec Room's billiards hall on the corner of York Road and Shealy Avenue, will open in late September or early October, owner Brian Recher said.

Recher, 51, has unique ties to Towson. His family bought the Towson Theatre in 1959 and ran it until it closed in 1992. He and his brothers, Steve and Scott, reopened it as the Recher Theatre in 1996. He said it was his own history with the area that led him to the centuries-old name.

The Towson Tavern, according to Maryland Historical Trust documents, "may have been the business which began the long history of Towson as a commercial center." The Towson family sold the property in 1802 and, at some point, it became a hotel. The original building was demolished in 1929.

Now Recher wants to make the revived Towson Tavern a mix of the old and new.

"What we're going for is a traditional look, something like a Ruth's Chris or a Capital Grille," he said. "It'll be a real fit for Towson."

Recher said he's aiming for the business lunch crowd. He will offer some lunch and dinner selections, with the menu set to grow as Recher renovates the Rec Room's kitchen.

"If you keep it simple and just make people happy, things will be fine," he said.

The new bar will be accessible through the Rec Room, but like The Crease, the other York Road bar where Brian Recher once worked, it will have a slight dress code (collared shirts for gentlemen). He said he's shooting for a different atmosphere from the Rec Room.

"It's not for the kids," he said.

Lorie August 04, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I'm actually a little bummed about this. There are so many bars and restaurants in Towson. I went to the Recher specifically to play pool. Anywhere else in Towson for that now?
Tyler Waldman August 04, 2011 at 12:59 PM
I couldn't find a place to put it in the article, but Brian told me that basically, pool just hasn't been as successful lately. Offhand, there are some pool tables at the AMF bowling alley in Timonium. That's the closest pool action I can think of.
RodgersForgeWatchdog August 04, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I used to play pool there when it first opened. I think they had 12-16 tables. This was before they built the stage. Had my 30th birthday party in '97 there. My name(nickname), was up on the theatre marquee. I remember that much. I got a collared shirt somewhere. Might have to check out the new digs. I miss the Little Tavern joint that was next to the theatre.
philip dorsey August 04, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Is the patio bar still open in the back?
Tyler Waldman August 04, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Yep. Save for the pool, the Rec Room is still the Rec Room.
Lorie August 05, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Someone needs to put pool tables in the walkable Towson plan ;)
Bart August 05, 2011 at 11:51 AM
There are pool tables in the Village Inn, on York Road in Cockeysville.
Randy Cooper August 05, 2011 at 12:05 PM
There use to be a place called Mort's pool hall which was located in the basement of Finklestein's. It was a dingy, but popular place with character. It was like something from "The Hustler". I have no recollection of when it closed.
Robert Armstrong August 05, 2011 at 03:40 PM
I was Saratoga NY last week and went rummaging around an antique store. I found and bought a map of Towson dated 1870. There was a hotel on the corner of York and Joppa named Ady's Hotel. The only things on the map that are still here are the Courthouse, Jail and the Oddfellows Hall.
Tyler Waldman August 05, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Ady's Hotel is the old Towson Tavern, yep. It's mentioned in the MHS document I linked. In fact, I think something like your map might be in there, too.
Robert Armstrong August 05, 2011 at 03:47 PM
The map is 2 sided. On the back it shows all the roads up to Jacksonville before Loch Raven flooded everything. It's pretty interesting.
Robert Armstrong August 05, 2011 at 03:49 PM
and the Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York Railroad had a track that ran right through the middle of Towson. I think you can still see the old abutments.
Tyler Waldman August 05, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Oh wow. Give me a call sometime. That'd be a fun picture.
Robert Armstrong August 05, 2011 at 04:18 PM
I found another one for sale online. http://www.pinebrookmaps.com/servlet/the-1214/map%2C-old-map%2C-antique/Detail
Tom Sharp September 15, 2011 at 07:52 PM
Ady's Hotel became the Towson Hotel and was around during the Civil War, so I'm no sure it was the same building. You've probably seen pictures of it in the endless spiral at he library. Towson's Col. Harry Gilmor, C.S.A., stopped at the hotel and its bar to catch up with buddies during his raid on Union railroads.
Tom Sharp September 15, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Ah, I correct myself. I found some reference's to the hotel's build date as being in the late 1700s

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