Werner’s Diner and Pub opened up earlier this year downtown at 231 E. Redwood Street, replacing the original Werner’s, which dated back to 1950. The restaurant sat vacant due to the COVID-19 pandemic until a commercial real estate firm bought the building that Werner’s is located in. It was then sold to Ray Crum, owner of Pete’s Grille in Waverly.
When he first saw the place, Crum was impressed by its “quirkiness.” “I liked everything about it. It’s very Baltimore,” Crum said, as Karen Glenn Hood reports in her blog on the website open.maryland.gov. “It reminds me of when I was a kid.” The grand re-opening in late January was attended by about 100 people, including city leaders and Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill.
Soon after opening, Crum instituted a “Jazz Night,” Thursdays 5 to 8 pm. Baltimore’s bass clarinetist and composer, Todd Marcus, performed with his quartet on the inaugural Thursday Jazz Night on July 21st. A very enthusiastic and impressed crowd of downtown neighbors showed up and enjoyed the music. Since then, Marcus has also curated a line-up of different bands of area jazz artists every Thursday, and so far, audiences have enjoyed the music of the Carl Grubbs Quartet, the Robert Gilliam Quartet, the Andrea Brachfeld Quartet, the Brent Birckhead Quartet and the Russell Kirk Quartet. Sets are generally 5-6:15pm and 6:45-8pm.
In her description of the venue, Hood writes: “Iconic red neon sign hangs prominently on the wall. Photos from movies and TV shows dot the walls. The familiar Art Deco interior – all maple wood and chrome – shine to a high gleam.” There is a cozy retro feel to the place that creates an intimacy between the bands and the diners as listeners.
Also since opening earlier this year, Werner’s has added an outside deck with umbrella tables and strings of beautiful lights, adding to the charm of the 200 block of E Redwood street. The restaurant also boasts a full bar and a take-out window. American and Greek menu favorites are available for purchase on various food delivery apps, and Werner’s offers a terrific Happy Hour specially priced menu Mondays 3-6pm and Tuesdays through Saturdays 3-7pm.
All jazz music lovers in the area are encouraged to stop by Werner’s to not only enjoy seeing your favorite area musicians, but to also enjoy what this historic diner and charming block of Downtown Baltimore has to offer! Be sure to check the Baltimore Jazz Alliance calendar for the latest news and updates.
By Sue Carlin
Sue Carlin is a member of the BJA board and a dedicated fan of jazz. She can be seen out at area clubs at least once a week and often makes trips to Philadelphia and New York City to hear her favorite artists perform. Professionally, Carlin is an executive assistant at Wexford Science and Technology, a firm that works with partners to help create “vibrant knowledge communities” built on principles like discovery and inclusion. Through her love of the music and the people who make it, and her networking know-how, she has helped forge many fruitful connections within the Baltimore jazz community.