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Atlas Restaurant Group buys the Admiral's Cup in Fells Point

The Atlas Restaurant Group expanded its portfolio again this week, buying the beloved Admiral’s Cup in Fells Point on the waterfront.

The move is the latest chapter in the life of the 230-year-old corner bar that features live music each night. Its last redo in 2013 brought with it a focus on craft beers and local cuisine.

The acquisition grows Atlas Group’s bar and restaurant portfolio in Baltimore to 13 locations — with more to come likely in Fells Point.

The restaurant group opened the upscale Choptank bar and restaurant in the south shed of the Broadway Market last year and will open a French-themed steak house, Monarque, in nearby Harbor East next week.

“We’re looking at anything and everything that is in Fells Point,” Atlas CEO Alex Smith said. “It is a prime location in the city and is one of the greatest historic waterfront neighborhoods on the East Coast.I don’t see a situation where a beautiful historic neighborhood continues to climb and be a greater success.”

Smith declined to disclose the sales price for The Admiral’s Cup, a deal that included two buildings.

An Atlas spokesman said the deal had been in the works for more than a month. The new ownership group includes Admiral’s Cup General Manager Darin Mislan and Eric Mathias, who owns The Horse You Came In On Saloon at 1626 Thames St.

Mathias, a well-known Fells Point business leader, said he quickly seized upon the opportunity own a part of The Admiral’s Cup.

“I’ve always viewed it as a postcard for Fell’s Point,” he said. “When Alex Smith and the Atlas team reached out with an opportunity to be involved, it was a quick yes because I know our experience and skill sets will pair really well together. We both believe in Baltimore, both live and work in the city and are on-site operators that love our neighborhoods.”

Plans for The Admiral’s Cup under the new ownership are to keep the bar’s status quo and continue to feature live cover bands that play “good drinking music” seven days a week until 2 a.m. A new scratch-made menu of locally sourced casual items is in the works, Smith said.

Darin Mislan, who took over The Admiral’s Cup in 2013, says there’s “something magical” about the historic bar.

The Cup at the foot of Broadway at 1647 Thames St. is described as a “lively saloon combining American chow with craft brews and live music in an informal, nautical space.” The location as a tavern dates back to the 1790s and was once a haven for dock workers who sought a shot and a beer at the end of their shift.

The three-story building catty corner from The Admiral’s Cup anchored by the Fells Point Creamery sold last month to an undisclosed buyer prior to going to auction. Jimmy’s Restaurant at 801 S. Broadway is in bankruptcy and scheduled to be auctioned next month. And the three-story building located next door to The Admiral’s Cup at 1643 Thames St. recently hit the market.

But despite it all, the local retail and entertainment district has not lost the funky flair that regulars expect — and business owners there deliver.

“We are looking forward to providing the same excellent live music and fun atmosphere,” Mislan said. “The Admiral’s Cup is an iconic, historic bar loved by many and I could not imagine partnering with a group more committed to this city than Atlas.”

Added Smith: “We don’t normally buy bars or live music bars, but the real estate was so iconic and the building itself means so much to the local community.”

Melody Simmons | Baltimore Business Journal

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