Well it was a long, long ride for the ownership at Boston Street’s Gin Mill (2300 Boston St., Canton) but the doors finally closed after what seems like an eternity but was in fact 16 years, after some rough patches over the past ten or so due to the “Boston Street Curse,” a common semi-misconception that for whatever reason — parking, principally — every bar along the stretch of Boston between Aliceanna and Montford is somehow doomed to fail; which, as statistics show, is sort of true. Most of the spaces on that stretch of road have turned over numerous times over the past few years (Canton A&E, Hollywood Burger Bistro, Pur, to name a few) while others seem to be hanging on quite nicely (Bartenders, — uhhhhh, Castaways?).
Be that as it may, Gin Mill
went to auction recently and was acquired by the T/A Shine LLC, and is to become MoonShine Tavern (I don’t know why the S is capitalized). First reported by BBJ shortly before the new year, MoonShine is being billed as an “upscale (there’s that word again) dive bar,” which according to co-owner Shanna Cooper:
“The whole place itself is very much designed to look like a moonshine shack,” [...] We’re literally taking what Power Plant has to offer and what your hole-in-the-wall bar has to offer and combining them into one.”
Well the first part sounds ok I guess, the second part — uh, hmm. Power Plant you say. And then Shanna offers this bit of quotage, after the article notes that their original intent was to settle in Fells Point but decided to go with Canton instead:
Canton seems to be that area that’s up and coming,” [...] It seems to be that Baltimore is really moving that direction.”
Well alrighty then. Hey have you guys heard of this “Canton?” I hear it’s up and coming!
Midnight Sun’s Wes Case interviewed her as well and posted some additional information this afternoon, revealing that MoonShine will focus on well, moonshine as its centerpiece spirit with some decent beers on tap and a … wait for it… VIP MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM!! SHIT YEAH!
For $100, VIPs receive their own 16 oz jar of moonshine, which can be sampled at any time of their choosing, due to their Very Important status. Very lovely. But as Wes succinctly put it, their plans are quite ambitious; with hopes of providing live music and DJs on the weekends, the stuff that neighborhood associations simply adore, and a 2nd floor balcony within the first year, which as we all know are very affordable and they’re sure to make that much money in their first weekend of business alone, I peer into my crystal ball and see great things for MoonShine in the future. Great. Things.
A glance at their menu c/o their website actually looks pretty good, with reasonably priced (portions depending of course) items encompassing the New Orleans / Cajun / Creole / Tennessee essence previously described, which is interestingly being prepared by executive sous chef John Navarria formerly of a little place called Kettle Hill.
So this is tricky. I like the concept, I like the cuisine, but obviously how they decide to pull this off is going to determine whether it’s sink or swim. The location has a mental block in everyone’s head as being inaccessible due to a lack of parking which I think is ridiculous given the free garage at the Can Company and a gigantic parking lot at Safeway which is safe for a few hours of parking, but then Waaaaaaah you’ve got to walk three blocks. I think DJs on the weekends are probably not going to work, in fact adding any aspect of Power Plant aside from a former Kettle Hill executive sous chef is probably also a “not work” idea.
And finally, via their Facebook Page, there’s this.
You’re probably asking yourself “Is that a t-shirt available for purchase on the boardwalk in Ocean City?” and the answer is “Probably, but it’s also MoonShine Tavern’s mantra.”
If there’s one small, tiny piece of advice that I could offer the ownership of the soon to be opened MoonShine Tavern (January 26th, can’t wait!), it would be this:
OH HOLY SHIT GET RID OF THAT MANTRA. OR AT LEAST SPELL IT CORRECTLY.