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It's a sleek, tasteful space, and the black-granite-topped bar is a solid spot for enjoying a first-rate, not outrageously expensive breakfast, served graciously and without commotion. This is a hangover-friendly room, with no clattering plates or jarring piped-in music or parade of latte-ordering commuters. Even the wall-mounted TV screens are muted, so you can comfortably peruse a morning newspaper (several national editions are complimentary to diners) without having to hear well-coifed cable talkers.
The morning I stop in, the TV on one side of the bar is tuned to CNBC, and another is set on Fox News. I look up from my eggs Benedict and see a bronzed, toothy Tucker Carlson. Even absent his voice, I shudder.
Kallen, the bartender, senses my dread. "Would you like me to switch the channel?" he asks. I tell him it's OK. I just won't look up again. He pours me more of 12 Baltimore's fine, robust coffee.
I've come for the starches. There are five different kinds of pancakes here, including a potato pancake (this is one of the few restaurants in town to serve a pretty decent latke), and three different sizes of biscuits and gravy (hefty, average or, for $3, "tiny").
I ask for tiny, but what comes out isn't so little: a doughy biscuit, split open and blanketed with a thick sausage gravy, that won't go down in a few bites. My eggs Benedict had also been saucy, a Hollandaise drench so vibrantly yellow that I thought for a moment it might be lemon curd.
This is the quietest bar meal of my venture, and Kallen tells me that it's usually this way here unless there's a convention in town. I tell him that this is just the way I like it. The best time to be in a bar — any bar — is when it seems to be all yours.