Joe Squared (#48)

27 10 2010

When I saw that Joe Squared (voted “Baltimore’s Best Pizza”) was on The List, I figured that it would be another “Is it a bar or is it a restaurant?” discussion.  But that was before I saw on their website that they have a Tuesday night Funk-Soul-Break Dance Party.  Yes, they have free live music every single night of the week.  But they have break dancing on Tuesdays.  I am sold.

We got there around 9:15 so we could eat some of the famous pizza before the DJ went on at 10.  The bar was pretty full, so we sat at a table with a good view of the dance floor, and ate some delicious pizza.  The DJ started playing right at 10, so we waited for the dance party to begin.  And we waited.  And then we waited some more.  This was our view:

But as the lights gradually grew dimmer, I saw people lurking around the edges of the dance floor, nodding their heads to the beat, slowly starting to get into it.  Then I noticed the giant orange Gatorade cooler in the corner, set up to provide water to thirsty dancers (you can see it on the left side of the picture above).   People didn’t come here to mess around.  They came here to dance.  And dance they did.

Right around 10:45, the dance party pretty much exploded.  A very eclectic crowd made for some interesting dance partners.  An older couple did a little two-step.  One woman commanded a large area of the dance floor because her modern dance moves included a lot of wide arm movements and high kicks.  And oh yes, there was break dancing.  It took me back to my elementary school days, watching my classmates dance at recess on flattened cardboard boxes.  There was popping.  There was locking.  It was fantastic.

But of course our adventure didn’t end there.  It didn’t take long for me to start chatting up a regular, who, as it turns out, is a member of a “hackerspace” located across the street, called Baltimore Node.  I couldn’t even begin to describe what that means, but please click on the link if you are curious.

My new friend took us over for a tour of the place, including the adjacent art gallery, Load of Fun, AND the roof.  Behind the building is an alley covered in graffiti, the only place in Baltimore where graffiti artists can legally do their thing.  It was amazing in the dark, but I will definitely go back to check it out in the daytime.  This is the view from the fire escape above:

And here is the view of the lovely motel next door, rumored (by our friendly tour guide) to be the scene of a murder in an episode of The Wire:

As we walked back to our car at 1:30am, our tour guide headed back over to Joe Squared, where the dance party was still going strong.

Tuesday nights in my world are usually a little slow.  Half of the local bars are closed on Tuesday.  Most people are at home recovering from the weekend’s debauchery that spilled into Monday Night Football.  I sensed more excitement from my friends about an impending episode of Glee than about going out and hitting the town.  But if the rhythm ever does get you on a Tuesday, you should really go to Joe Squared and shake your ass.