EXCLUSIVE: Thank God Almighty, Canton’s @MahaffeysPub Will Remain in Good Hands
Steve Fogleman, Baltimore Beer Baron
Lordy, Lordy. I feel like a very old 40-something man here in Canton. Maybe like Ichabod Crane, awakening to cranes everywhere after a somnambulistic winter’s nap on the Harbor. So much change. So little time.
The bar I challenged to a fight in 2004 because it had the audacity to claim ‘Canton’s Best Craft Beer Selection’ scrawled on an exterior chalkboard on my route to Safeway ended up becoming my happy place. And last night, unlike all of the shiny, happy new condominiums and the glass and steel Canton Crossings now and yet to come, there’s one place I know will be staying squarely Olde Canton for a few more years, and that is Mahaffey’s Pub at 2706 Dillon, just off the Square. That’s because Alice and Dennis Kistner, who have worked at Mahaffey’s for more than 20 years combined signed a contract with the Commodore of Canton Craft, Wayne Mahaffey, to purchase the business and the building last night.
Not to make too big a deal of this, but Mahaffey’s is a big deal in this neighborhood, having pioneered the off-the-square greatness that is Canton today. The first “threefurs” in Canton, the first beer club in Canton (which is now one of the most renowned beer clubs anywhere), the best rotating craft selection and the regulars made Mahaffey’s great (if I’m even allowed to use the verb “to make” and “great” in the same sentence ever again).
Not to mention, they’ve got the most kid-friendly craft joint in Baltimore, as the Kistners, with their 4-year-old son, Little Dennis, host Monday happy hours upstairs for games and fun with a Mom’s group full of young’uns. While other craft destinations are kicking kids out at 6 p.m., you can rest assured that Little Dennis will see to it that the under 4 feet crowd are always welcome here. Here’s a short look at the l’il guy back in the day when his dad penned the first children’s book of brewing:
For Alice, a resident of Canton, it’s a lifelong dream come true:
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said, as Dennis tended to Little Dennis. “And all the overwhelming response from friends and customers that we’ve become close to over the years, their happiness that we’re the ones taking over is overwhelming and we just can’t ask for anything more. We know that everyone is going to come in and continue to support us and we love you all and are grateful for your patronage.”
And now the music to my ears. “What’s going to change at Mahaffey’s?”
It looks like there will be at least one place for an Old Cantonian to go and reminisce and still drink the best new beers the Old Line State has to offer. And that’s worth celebrating.
(DISCLAIMER: You’re darn right I’m assisting Dennis and Alice in this legal matter. I wouldn’t want my happy place falling into the wrong hands.)