maryland house rendering courtesy of maryland house

Maryland House by Brennan’s aims for mid-November opening in Central West End

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Plans are taking shape for the rebooted Maryland House by Brennan’s, with owner Kevin Brennan aiming at a mid-November opening date. The bar and events space at 44 Maryland Plaza, which closed in early 2020, will return with an updated look, a rooftop terrace overlooking the Central West End, and new food and drink menus. 

Situated above the former location of Brennan’s, the original Maryland House was a fixture on the Central West End bar scene from 2005 to 2020. The venue closed in early 2020 when Brennan’s relocated to its current address at 316 N. Euclid Ave.

The new-look Maryland House stretches across 3,000 square feet indoors, with a 1,500-square-foot terrace taking the total footprint to 4,500 square feet. The indoor space will host around 150 guests, while the terrace has space for up to around 70 guests. 

The space will feature several distinct areas that can be rented or combined with other spaces for private events and parties. The Bar will be the focal point, featuring Moroso bar stools and Bocci light fixtures, as well as tables designed locally by Martin Goebel’s Goebel Furniture. “We wanted to meld those two things, where you get people standing around talking, hanging out, and other people lounging and really relaxed,” Brennan said. He added that the tables will feature Lazy Susan-style fittings, flush with the table, that will allow guests to share food and rotate items around the table with ease. 

The venue will also house spaces called The Library and The Gallery. The former will be decorated with vintage furniture and built-in bookcases, with art from the original Maryland House displayed on the walls. The Gallery’s centerpiece will be three large-format digital art screens, with a backdrop of wallpaper by Moooi featuring extinct wildlife. The Gallery will also host quarterly art exhibits. The terrace at Maryland House has the potential to be a standout feature, with views of the Central West End, custom sculptures, and furniture by Kartell. 

Brennan said the finer points of the drinks list are still being developed, but that two distinct sets of cocktails will be offered. One, under the tagline “What is Old is New Again,” will feature classic recipes, while the other will showcase the creative talents of Maryland House’s bartenders under the heading “What is New Never Gets Old.” Both in terms of drinks and food, Brennan said the menus at Maryland House will be more seasonal than the selections at Brennan’s, which tend to be updated on an annual basis. 

The food menu will be shaped around playfully named categories like “Why do I have to share these?”, “What you want,” “What you don’t know you want” and “Always be closing.” “We're just trying to give a modern interpretation of how a classical menu would read,” Brennan said. “We want to offer things that are both familiar and that people love to order, that taste great, and then also push those categories a little bit with some funky, different stuff that will keep it original and new and fresh.” 

The menu is still under development, but Brennan offered a few hints as to what each category might include. For starters, think chicharrone bites with hickory-smoked bacon, garlic aioli, pickled mustard seeds and dill; guests might share a Raclette platter with roasted potatoes and peppers, garlic and onions, charcuterie, cornichons and baguette; the “What you want” menu could include a burrata and cherry tomato flatbread with black garlic paste and fresh basil; “What you don’t know you want” could be a sea scallop tiradito with edamame puree, mint, basil and aji sauce; and you could “Always be closing” with an affogato.

Brennan said that Maryland House will have its own distinctive appeal, but will be easily recognizable as a member of the Brennan’s family. “I certainly feel with the rooftop deck and the interior spaces that we're creating that people will think it's different or original, but we still want it to be within that family of stuff that we've worked on for over the last 20 years,” Brennan said. In fact, one driver for the revival of Maryland House is the volume of demand for private events at Brennan’s. “We get a lot of calls for parties, and we can't really book them in the [Brennan’s] space. We don't have so much room and we always intended to build the place back up,” Brennan said. 

Maryland House will be open initially from Friday to Sunday, but Brennan said that opening times will be extended gradually. “We’ll add Thursdays by spring, and then next spring or summer maybe we’ll add some more.” Private events can be booked both during regular business hours and on other days of the week, including both daytimes and evenings. One of the first events that will be held at the space will be the Orlando Pace Sneaker Ball, a black tie charity event. 

Follow Maryland House by Brennan’s on Instagram for the latest on opening plans.