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Pigging Out: Baltimore Bar Hosts 'Bacon Happy Hour'

Dec 14, 2010 – 5:37 PM
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(Dec. 14) -- Bacon. It's everywhere: on our plates, in our drinks and constantly on our minds.

Now, the popular pork product is even showing up at a dive bar in Baltimore -- at a tiny watering hole called Bad Decisions that's quickly becoming the place to pig-out.

Every month, Bad Decisions -- located in the lively Baltimore bar district of Fells Point -- differentiates itself from the dozens of other bars in the area by hosting a smokin' hot event called "Beer & Bacon Happy Hour."
Bad Decisions owner John Reusing
Courtesy of Bad Decisions
Every month, Bad Decisions owner John Reusing hosts a popular event called "Beer & Bacon Happy Hour." On this special night, the bacon flows as freely as the brews.

For one highly anticipated night each month, the bar turns into a full-blown bacon bonanza, with bizarre bacon-themed cocktails, a fancy bacon-centric dinner menu and bottomless bowls of fresh-off-the-griddle bacon.

It's a pork pig-out for the books, enough to give anyone the meat sweats.

Bad Decisions owner John Reusing told AOL News that his monthly bacon gathering attracts dozens of patrons to his pub, packing the house to full capacity all night long.

He said his regulars are so invested in the meaty happy hour, they even budget the special event into their bills each month.

"Some of my regulars factor Bacon Happy Hour into their monthly budgets, right next to rent and groceries. They take it very seriously," Reusing said.

The longtime bartender-turned-owner credited the success of his wacky happy hour to the free bowls of crispy bacon that get passed around the bar -- nonstop -- from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Instead of putting a bowl of peanuts or pretzels in front of his patrons, Reusing gives each guest a basket of bacon to snack on between drinks.

All in all, Reusing said he personally cooks around 50 pounds of free Applewood smoked bacon per event. He goes through an additional 40 pounds for specialty bacon dishes and cocktails.

"I wind up with the greasiest kitchen on Earth," he said with a chuckle. "The cleanup takes me at least two days after a Bacon Happy Hour."

While customers may drop in for the free bacon, they stay for the eclectic food and drinks.
Bacon cinnamon rolls
Courtesy of Bad Decisions
Bacon cinnamon rolls is just one of the many weird bacon dishes served at the Bad Decisions bar in Baltimore.

Reusing has designed a one-of-a-kind cocktail menu for Beer & Bacon Happy Hour that includes cocktails like the Bacon and Habanero Pepper Mojito, a minty rum mojito mixed with spicy habanero peppers and topped with bacon crumbles.

"It's salty, sweet, spicy and minty all at the same time," he explained.

Other bacony beverages include Reusing's Apple-Bacon Martini, which is garnished with a strip of bacon rather than green olives.

He also offers a two-part shot that consists of a swig of biscotti liqueur followed by a hunk of pineapple wrapped in bacon, which acts as a chaser.

The bar menu boasts a bacon, shrimp and crab bloody Mary, too.

For people with a sweet tooth, there's a frothy cream soda and whiskey float topped with a scoop of bacon ice cream and, naturally, a strip of bacon.

To make good on the beer part of the Beer & Bacon Happy Hour, Reusing said he offers various types of fine brews, including a local "double-smoked porter" that's been dubbed "bacon beer."

Though his specialty drinks are popular today, Reusing admitted there were a lot of failed attempts when he started to mix bacon with booze.

"The biggest challenge was the high fat content of the bacon. If the bacon was too greasy, it would congeal on top of cold drinks and look really disgusting. Nobody wants fat floating in their drink, so we started to dry out the bacon. Now it's the perfect garnish," he explained.

As for food, Reusing and a team of local chefs whip up a zany menu of bacon-themed dishes for the occasion, including grilled bacon kabobs, bacon shrimp, bacon cinnamon rolls and pretzels dipped in chocolate and rolled in bacon candy.

So, by the end of the night, every customer has had his or her fill of swine.

Because bacon is so beloved, Reusing thinks it's one of the only foods that could garner such a huge response at happy hour. He tried doing an all-sausage happy hour once, but the public reception just wasn't the same.

He plans on sticking with the bacon happy hour theme for a while and is planning the next one for sometime in January.
The Travel Channel recently featured the bar in its "Food Paradise" series, so Reusing expects to see lots of new faces sitting at his bar-top in the new year.

But if you miss bacon night, don't fret. Chances are there's still something weird and wild happening at Bad Decisions, since Reusing is always coming up with new things.

He's part of Baltimore's only all-men's roller-derby league, "Harm City Homicide," so he hosts roller-derby nights at his bar, complete with new and unusual cocktails.

Cheers.

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