Half-Price Wine Nights

24 Mar

At last month’s blogger party, we received a request for a list of half-price wine nights, so here they are! All of the following venues offer any bottle on their wine list at 50 percent off on these days.

Greystone Grill

Ram’s Head (from 4-11 with the purchase of a meal)
Greystone Grill

Looney’s Pub South
River Hill Sports Grille
Diamondback Tavern
T Bonz Grille (starting at 4)

Union Jack’s (starting at 5)
Victoria Gastro Pub

Mangia Italian Grill & Sports Cafe

You may notice some of your favorite wine spots missing from this list. While they don’t necessarily have half-price wine nights,  the wine bars such as Pure Wine and AIDA offer great specials by the glass and discount wine lists. We’ll get into these another day, but this list should give you plenty of options for enjoying a bottle (or two) on your night of choice.

If you know of any other half-price wine nights, leave a comment!


Ram’s Head Tavern – Best Happy Hour Ever?

19 Feb

It’s official – HoCo Hangover has earned its title as a real-life Howard County blog. This must be what Pinocchio felt like when he became a real boy.

On Wednesday night, we attended our first HoCoBlogs blogger party at Ram’s Head Tavern, where we met fellow bloggers, talked about our HoCo Hangover endeavors and, of course, enjoyed a few cold ones. Jessie, the host of HoCo Blogs, likes to throw these parties about once a month, or whenever she finds bloggers that are willing to co-host. This time, Thursday Bram, Amy Monteith, and Jen Kentmere hosted the party at Ram’s Head, and it was a blast.

Ram’s Head Tavern is located in historic Savage Mill, an old textile mill that has since been turned into a fantastic shopping center with a great old-time feel. It’s filled with tons of specialty stores and antique shops with unique items that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

The architecture of the Mill works out well for Ram’s Head’s, allowing for at least four separate dining areas on three different levels. Each level carries its own unique vibe, ranging from its sophisticated dining room to lively basement tavern area. In addition to its interesting layout, the Tavern is loaded with one-of-a-kind decorative touches that give it a truly original feel. Check out our favorite seat in the house.

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There are steps up to this booth, and perched on the adjacent wall is the signature Ram statue. About 15 minutes into our conversation, we looked up to find a square of glass that allows you to look up through the woodwork of the upper floors. So cool.  Also, there are bars in both the main dining room and the basement. We know what you’re thinking: what if you’ve had one too many drinks to confidently get up and down all those stairs? Not to worry, HoCo Hooligans – the Tavern’s personal elevator will transport you safely from bar to bar.

The basement tavern seemed to be the best spot to grab a pint and hang out with friends. There are bright red glowing letters above the bar that call out, “BEER” and “LIQUOR” – you know, just in case you forgot what you came down there for. Across from the pool table sits a small, wooden stage, where local musicians and DJs set up to entertain the crowds at night. It just so happened that Wednesday night is Ram’s Head Tavern’s open mic night, allowing us to enjoy some sweet renditions of the Flight of the Conchord’s “Business Time” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” If that’s not enough, the bar offered $2.50 domestic drafts and $3 shooters. 

If that wasn’t enough to convince us to return, get ready for the real kicker: Ram’s Head Tavern may just have the most impressive happy hour specials in Howard County. Every weekday from 5pm until 7pm, Ram’s Head gives out free food, which ranges from carved meats, tacos, oysters/shrimp,/mussels, bratwursts and Buffalo Wings. That’s in addition to their great drink specials that go from 4pm-7pm, which include $2.50 drafts, house wines, and rail drinks. What more could you ask for?

But Hey, Nobody’s Perfect:

Probably because the Mill wasn’t originally built for shopping, the parking situation pretty much sucks. Very few are lucky enough to snag a spot in the small lot just outside of Ram’s Head before happy hour. More parking is available on the other side of the Mill, and it’s a hike to get back to your car at the end of the night when the rest of the Mill is locked up. Not only that, but the Mill gets seriously creepy after hours. Once we stepped out of Ram’s Head and into the empty hallways, we kind of felt like we were in that hotel from The Shining.

On a positive note: Walking through the hall to leave the Mill will scare the bejesus out of you and make you want to run back to your car, so you’ll get there in no time.

So, we’re definitely interested in hosting our own blogger party in the near future. The only problem: which venue to chose? Anyway, stay tuned for details on upcoming blogger events. They’re open to bloggers as well as blog readers, but you need to make sure you sign up for a (free!) ticket to attend. In the meantime, check out our new friends’ blogs!

TJ Mayotte of 1000 Words and Jennifer  Domenick of Love Life Images, Inc. were just two of the awesome HoCo bloggers at Ram’s Head Tavern. We also had the pleasure of meeting Mary C. Gardella, a colleague of Jennifer’s, who also has an amazing blog that shows off her own work.

Here are two of the hosts of great HoCo Blogger party, Thursday and Amy. Don’t forget to check out Thursday’s awesome blog on writing and business and Amy’s fantastic creations at her site.

HoCo is for Lovers (and Lushes)

10 Feb

Valentine’s Day is approaching quickly, striking fear into the lonely hearts of HoCo singles and turning normally sane people into love-crazy fools. We’ve compiled a list of great spots for the lovebirds to go for romance, as well as a list of Monday night bar specials for the single and restless to hit up.

For The Lovebirds
For indulgent lovers, we suggest calling quickly for a reservation at Pure Wine Cafe or The Iron Bridge Wine Company. Pure Wine of Ellicott City is offering a night of “Pure Aphrodisia” on the 14th, including hors d’oeuvres, a three-course meal and dessert, each served with its own wine pairing. The set menu is specifically designed to put you in the mood, if you will. This night of bliss is yours for $75 per person [tax and tip not included]. Reservations are required, so e-mail pj@purewinecafe.com ASAP.

Also in good ol’ romantic Ellicott City, Greystone Grill will serve a special three-course meal on the 14th for $49.50 per person [again, tax and tip not included]. This menu already includes a cheesecake dessert, but complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries and glasses of champagne are bound to be the perfect end to your night out. If celebrating your love on a Monday is inconvenient, The Iron Bridge Wine Company offers their three-course Sweetheart Menu tonight through Sunday, also with wine pairings, for $69 per person. Reservations are required, so call 410-997-3456 and ask for Marcie or Vince.

For the Single and Restless
Valentine’s Day can be quite annoying, even nauseating, for those without a companion to swoon over, but luckily there are quite a few HoCo bars where you can enjoy a pint of beer without feeling like an awkward extra in Casablanca.  We’ve compiled a list of great Monday night drink specials for those willing to skip out on the flutes of champagne and chocolate-dipped fruit.

  • Catch the Caps game at the Greene Turtle of Columbia for their Rock the Red and Monday Night Light specials – $2.50 16oz Bud Light drafts and $2.25 bottles of Miller Lite/Coors Light/Bud Light.
  • Round a group of friends together for half-priced pitchers of margaritas and sangria, as well as $2 domestic bottles, at La Palapa Grill and Cantina.
  • Want something a little stronger? It’s $1 off tequila shots at El Azteca, where you can also munch on half-priced appetizers while you drink.
  • Get $1 National Bohemian bottles at Looney’s Pub South of Maple Lawn, or choose your pick from their all-day Happy Hour specials.
  • Enter into the trivia competition at Pub Dog Pizza & Drafthouse to pull in some cash prizes and sip on Hoppy Dog drafts, whether alone or with a group of up to 12 friends. Just make sure to be there by 7:30 to secure a spot. As always, you can choose from their premium drafts and get two for $4.

Please let us know if you hear about any other singles-friendly events going on in the Howard County area.

Whether single or coupled up, it’s possible to enjoy this Valentine’s Day – especially with the help of an adult beverage or three. Cheers!

Super Bowl Sunday Specials

3 Feb

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! [And no, we don’t mean the holidays].That’s right, HoCo Hooligans – it’s the weekend of Super Bowl XLV, and the Green Bay Packers will duke it out against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. For those of you who still aren’t sure where to head to watch the game, here are some events and specials going on at HoCo venues.

Kloby’s Smokehouse off of Gorman Road is having a “tailgate party” during the game, including a full pig roast, sides and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages for $25 per person. While this might not be the prime location for heavy duty football drinking, it sounds like a great place to go for a delicious BBQ feast with the family.

Looking to just walk right in and enjoy the game? There will be no cover charge at Ram’s Head Tavern in Savage Mill. Specials include $10 buckets, $5 pitchers (Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Light), $2.50 drafts (Fordham) and $6 eats (burgers, sandwiches, and basically all bar meals). Ram’s Head is also giving away door prizes at half-time in the form of tickets to Ram’s Head live shows, gift certificates, and alcohol gift baskets.

Second Chance Saloon of Columbia is holding a major Super Bowl party that starts off with $2 Bud Lights, Miller Lights, and Yuengling at 5:30 p.m. Even if you’re not a big Packers or Steelers fan, choose a team to root for, because every time your team scores, The Second Chance Saloon will hook the fans up with a round of free shots. Need something to munch on during the game? You can get an entire pound of wings for $5 bucks. Second Chance will also have raffle prizes.

No cover and prizes?!?! Ram’s Head and Second Chance have our votes as top contenders for a HoCo Super Bowl bash.

If you’re looking to stay in the center of Columbia, Uno’s Chicago Grill is offering a $25 All-You-Can-Drink and All-You-Can-Eat for Sunday’s big game. If this sounds good to you, keep the following in mind. Uno’s of Columbia requires you to RSVP beforehand for this special offer. You can pre-order tickets by calling (410) 964-9945 or by e-mailing them at 731@unos.com. Otherwise, walk right in and talk to one of the bartenders about this awesome deal. Also, don’t forget that the bar area of Uno’s is on the smaller side. Get there early to secure comfortable seats and a good place to get your Super Bowl game face on.

Nottingham’s in Columbia is getting fancy on Super Bowl Sunday with $3 Bloody Marys and Mimosas! Perfect for the ladies who aren’t too big into the football scene but still want to take part in the festivities (and the guys who enjoy a nice Mimosa every now and then). Notty’s also offers $3 Dos Equis bottles, $2 Yuengling drafts, and $1 Natty Light cans – and don’t forget their Football Munchie Menu!  Notty’s weekly contest winners from throughout the season will have a private party in the event room during the game. If you want a spot at this event, hang at Nottingham’s on game days next season and maybe you can snag one for Super Bowl XLVI.

Well, that’s our Super Bowl list! At least one of these is sure to fit your partying needs. If not, be sure to check out previously mentioned sports bars, such as Looney’s Pub South, Union Jack’s of Columbia or River Hill Sports Grille . Just about all of these HoCo hot spots are bound to have great things going on this Sunday.

Drink up, chow down, and cheer hard!

[Note: The original post mistakenly advertised Second Chance Saloon’s specials as The Diamondback Tavern’s specials. We apologize for any confusion!]

Ranaz-rules! Happy Hour at Ranazul Tapas Restaurant

24 Jan

Linda has an abnormal fascination with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, so we went out yesterday looking for a place near home to catch the Packers v. Bears game. Curious, we strolled into Ranazul, a tapas bar in Maple Lawn, and to our pleasant surprise, we found a big screen projector playing the game behind the bar.

Our bartender, Zach, introduced himself and shook each of our hands, as did the manager Michael, who was wearing an exquisite pair of sneakers with his snazzy suit. We felt immediately welcome and taken care of. Michael later told us that he aims to be known as “that manger who wears Chuck Taylors all the time,” and that he had just bought a nice blue pair that day.

Aside from watching the game, we were also out to grab a casual drink to celebrate a good friend’s recent birthday. We were pumped to see that Ranazul has happy hour from 3PM – 7PM everyday (even on Sundays!), which includes $2 off beer, glasses of sangria, full glasses of wine and rail cocktails. They also offer a select menu of tapas for $7 and under.

Missy had a glass of the sangria and an order of ceviche, both of which rivaled those she enjoyed in Costa Rica (which says a lot).. Linda had a glass of the Domaine Schlumberger, a Pinot Gris from Alsace, France. It wasn’t too dry and had wonderful fruity hints. [Don’t worry, we’re going to a wine tasting soon so that we can beef up our wine-o lingo.]

Our orders were modest, and we took our sweet time with our drinks. This did not bother our bartender one bit, and we actually had some great conversation with him. He even gave us a round of his specialty, Chocolate Cupcake shots. Zach informed us that the secret ingredients were Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate vodka, Pinnacle whipped cream vodka and delicious chocolate syrup at the bottom. It was so scrumptious that we shamelessly licked the bottoms of our glasses… Don’t judge.

Ranazul’s atmosphere was classy, with mood lighting and snazzily dressed staff, without being uptight. We’d highly recommend Ranazul for a casual after-work drink, a romantic date night, or any kind of intimate get-together. Ask for Zach’s Chocolate Cupcake shot!

The River Hill Sports Grille: Taking Ravens Bombs while the Ravens Bombed

16 Jan

Last night was rough. After a lot of moaning and groaning and fist-shaking at the NFL gods, I finally came to terms with the fact that life must go on, even if your football team’s playoff run does not. And despite the fact that evil (a.k.a. the Pittsburgh Steelers) has yet again triumphed in the world, I have to say that there could not have been a better place to watch the game yesterday than at the River Hill Sports Grille of Clarksville, Md.

The bar area of River Hill Sports Grille. Credit: http://www.riverhillsportsgrille.com/

Game Day Experience
By 4:30PM, the place was jam-packed with both Ravens and Steelers fans, making the actual game day experience very interesting. With a large screen projector in the back room and all other TVs turned on to the game, the Grille made sure that the only place where you couldn’t check the score was the bathroom. Despite the big crowd, the service was good (with the exception of a forgotten drink or two), and the bartenders kept the drinks coming out of the bar quickly.

As promised by yesterday’s post, wearing your Ravens gear bought you the first Miller Light or Coors Light for free – which, needless to say, is the perfect way to start the game. If light beer wasn’t quite your flavor of choice, you could also opt for $4 Blue Moons – although there were some questions as to whether or not they were actually 20 ounce drafts, as advertised. And with each of the Ravens touchdowns, rounds of $2.50 Raven Bombs and $1 Miller Light/Bud Light drafts went out throughout the bar.

Okay, What the Hell is a Raven Bomb?
I’m so glad you asked! We also had no idea what we were getting, and there are probably a few people from that night who still wish they had never found out. In three words: alcoholic grape soda. From what I gathered, a Raven Bomb consists of a shot of grape vodka dropped into a glass of Red Bull. If you’re not a fan of Red Bull and/or grape soda, then you will likely find yourself just a little miserable.

Now, before I conclude with my favorite moment of the night, I have to give a huge *thank you* and a special mention to one of the River Hill Sports Grille bartenders, Tony. Not only did we enjoy a round of delicious “Purple Drank” shots because of him, but I heard other customers making special requests for Tony to make their drinks, particularly for Bloody Mary’s. Well done.

Favorite Memories and New Friends
With both Ravens and Steelers fans in the mix, it should be no surprise that there was just a little bit of tension within the crowd. Toward the end of the game, the Steelers fans began to make their presence much more known, and – as all the Raven Bombs and Blue Moons I had consumed stirred together with the miserable sorrow of the Ravens’ loss – I was definitely not having it. I marched right up to one loud Steelers fan as he cheered on incessantly, hoping that I could muster up some Ray Lewis strength and pummel this guy into oblivion.

…Instead, I gave him the link to this blog, took his picture, and declared that he would forever go down in infamy as the most obnoxious person I had ever met. Weak? Maybe. But if you can imagine an 115 pound girl who only dreams of doing a pull-up getting into a bar brawl with this guy:

Beneath all that black and yellow, I'm sure he's not half bad.

…Well, I don’t think you could blame me. Thinking back, he was actually a pretty nice guy, and if he’s reading this now: Sorry about the whole threatening to throw a plate at you thing. No hard feelings. We’ll see you and your Steelers on the field next year.

Linda of HoCo Hangover

HoCo Plans for Football Fans – Playoff Week Specials

14 Jan

Hey HoCo Hooligans –

Since my lovely colleague has decided to skip out on Maryland’s wintry weather to sip on mojitos and cervezas in Costa Rica, it’s just going to be me and my hangovers until next week. But don’t worry – you’re in good hands. However, I have to give a little disclaimer before I begin. I’ve been told explicitly by my co-blogger, Missy, to make it clear that this entry comes from me and only me. Anything that I say in the next few paragraphs does not reflect the views, opinions or football team affiliations of HoCo Hangover as a blog.

With that out of the way, I give you the good stuff. As you all know, this weekend marks the beginning of the Divisional Round playoffs and, most importantly, the greatly anticipated game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday at 4:30PM. That means that bars throughout Howard County are guaranteed to be packed with rabid football fans who are ready to gulp down cold beers, tear into some crab cake sandwiches, and cheer at the top of their lungs until their throats are sore. And yes, that includes me.

Appropriate game day attire. Credit: Julie Jacobson

Before I go any further, now would be a good time to make a little warning. If you just so happen to be a Steelers fan with a “terrible towel” in tow, you should probably stop reading. Steelers fans aren’t welcome here. …Okay, I’m just kidding! In all seriousness, awesome drink specials during playoff week is a right that should be guaranteed to all, no matter which football team you root for.

As Howard County is the home to a few Ravens players (including running back Willis McGahee who even has his own official HoCo Holiday), it should be no surprise that many bars in the area are going all out for tomorrow’s game. Expect purple beer, purple jerseys, and rounds of shots for every Ravens touchdown.

Second Chance Saloon, located in the Oakland Mills Village Center, is one location that is taking Ravens spirit to another level. Their game day specials include $2 purple drafts (Bud Light, Miller Light, and Yuengling), 50 cent wings, and free shots for every time the Ravens score a touchdown. Not only do they have a load of contests for prizes, but you can pin the tail on Polamalu for 2nd Chance Dollas.

The recently reviewed Maple Lawn bar, Looney’s Pub South, is guaranteed to be a popular game day spot with its swarms of HD televisions, $2.50 domestic bottles, and $3 Blue Moon/Guinness/Red Stripe Lite specials. If you stick around after the game to celebrate or mourn, you can enjoy their Saturday night live music.

Another one of our recommended bars, Union Jack’s of Columbia, offers large screen projectors and full surround sound to maximize your game day experience. Head over for $2.50 domestics, $6 Raven Crushes, $5 Crushes, and $5 appetizer specials. Stick around after the game for live music and their pretty impressive Saturday night “Beat the Clock” special – $1 house drinks at 9pm that go up to $2 at 10pm, and then to $3 at 11pm.

My last shout out will go to the River Hill Sports Grille, where you can get your first Miller Light or Coors Light on the house for wearing Ravens gear. All game, they offer $3 Miller Light/Coors Light and $4 Blue Moon 20 ounce drafts. Each time the Ravens score, head to the bar for $2.50 bombs and $1 Bud Light/Miller Light drafts.

Have fun, be safe, and cheer hard! Stay tuned for news on Superbowl game day specials.


Linda of HoCo Hangover