The Charles Village Pub (CVP), a local bar on St. Paul Street, has been closed indefinitely following a grease fire early Tuesday morning. The bar first opened in 1985.
Alex Leach has been a resident of Charles Village for 18 years and has been a longtime patron of CVP. He created a GoFundMe campaign in order to raise $5,000 for the employees who will be out of work while the bar is being cleaned and repaired.
Leach said that the fire made him realize that he may have underappreciated the bar in the past.
“We take so much for granted. You never think that the place you eat lunch at every day would suddenly have a fire and be closed indefinitely,” he said.
Leach explained that he decided to fundraise for the employees of CVP because of the many different expenses that they will face while the bar is under repair.
“People have kids. People have mortgages. People have rent, and no one’s able to pay or bear responsibility when the money tap is turned off,” he said.
To him, the employees of CVP are a crucial part of the bar’s atmosphere.
“The people behind the bar are the ones that make it so special, that make you feel at home,” he said. “Anyone can go there and feel safe. It’s always been... almost like a home for wayward souls.”
He explained that the bar has been an important part of Baltimore for many generations. He remembered his father bringing him there when he was a child, and the bar was the only place open during a blizzard.
“I have memories of my dad pulling me down 10 or 20 blocks on a sled,” Leach said. “That was one of the only places that would let my tiny six-year-old self sit there on a bar stool and give me french fries.”
Senior Jose Velez, who frequents CVP, said that he was surprised to hear about the fire and was glad that no one was injured.
“I was completely shocked to find out that a fire occurred in CVP,” he wrote to The News-Letter. “The first thing that came to my mind, other than the workers at CVP... was a friend of mine that I know that lives right above. I texted him right away to see if he was okay, and he told me he was, so I was very relieved to hear that.”
Senior Lilly Barany also regularly visited CVP. She explained that she was shocked when she heard about the fire.
“My heart dropped. I wrote what happened in my group chat with eight of my closest friends and they were like ‘oh my god, are you sure,’ and ran over there and sent us a picture in the group chat of the sign that says that it’s closed because of the fire,” she said.
Velez commended the efforts of the Baltimore Fire Department in keeping the fire from spreading.
“I live in the building right in front of it and never found out about it except by word of mouth from other friends, so I’m happy that the workers in CVP and the Baltimore Fire Department prevented the fire from spreading and other potential damages it could have caused,” he wrote.
Velez shared that he will miss the bar while it is undergoing repairs.
“I will miss CVP since it was a cool, hidden, and almost disguised bar from the rest of the food places around it,” he wrote. “I wish the workers the best, and encourage everyone that had a great time there to donate.”
Meagan Peoples and Katy Wilner contributed reporting.