We finally spent some time recently at The Pendry, Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank’s hotel and restaurant in Fells Point.
We had visited for drinks with friends previously but hadn’t venture too far out of the main lounge and courtyard. But I saw enough to know I would need to return.
The perfect opportunity presented itself as we were invited to a talk/meet and greet/book signing with the Pendry’s interior designer, Patrick Sutton.
In front of a gleaming screen in the Cannon room (where they have their whiskey bar), Sutton set about to tell his own narrative of how his childhood travelling the world as a travel photographer’s son ultimately led him to his career as a commercial and residential interior designer for top hotels, restaurants and celebrities.
A “recovering architect” as he put it, he realized his passion for getting to know his clients, understanding their narrative and how they would live in their space.
The Sagamore Pendry, as it is officially called, has a long and storied history, one that Sutton was keen to reflect in the Pendry’s interior, to stunning effectiveness. He drew on its industrial maritime history and made it luxurious.
What was once a major immigration port of entry, built in 1914, eventually became a recreation center. Later, it became the site of the show Homicide and then the Step-Up films.
Like a museum docent explains the meaning behind a great work of art, Sutton spoke to the meaning of even the tiniest of details, like the wavy, sculptural design of the lobby desk, a rug with lines that mirrored shipping lanes, and brass finishes that gave the impression of being on a boat.
The Cannon Room, for example, showcases one of three 18th century cannons that were found during its recent restoration. The rounded ceiling made of wood planks imitate the inside of a whiskey cask. Of course, the Sagamore Pendry would be remiss not to showcase their Sagamore Rye Whiskey, which has a bit of local history in its own right.
Sagamore Farm sits on a bed of limestone, and so they use limestone- filtered water from natural springs which enhances the flavor. They then transport the water down I-83 to the distillery. As an homage to this local journey, they make their whiskey 83 proof. Legend also has it that the limestone-filtered water contributes to the success of the thoroughbreds raised for racing there. Can’t get much more Baltimorean than thoroughbred racing and 83-proof rye, can you?
As history goes, Baltimore is also the birthplace of The Star Spangled Banner. Opposite the entrance is a large backlit display of a lesser known verse of the anthem. Sutton also used Arabic geometric patterns throughout the building, which he saw as giving the feeling of fireworks (you know, “the bombs bursting in air” and all). As you continue up the ramp into the building, the left wall is decorated with symbols of Baltimore –a crab, the face of Edgar Allen Poe, a thoroughbred horse and a baseball player.
Dining in the Rec Pier Chophouse, we admired the bursting geometric designs in the flooring as well as the ornately detailed iron balcony, which gave a beautiful old-world feel to the space. But to me, the “piece de resistance” is the giant oval window looking out onto Thames street.
The food itself at the Rec Pier chophouse was very good, though the menu felt a little limited, at least for a picky eater like me. The best part (one could argue this is always the case) was dessert –the Bomboloni della Casa (cream-filled donuts with chunks of bittersweet chocolate sprinkled on top), to be exact. To be fair, I did not have much of an appetite after some of the yummy appetizers we tried at the event beforehand.
Our server, Ian, was super friendly and knowledgeable, providing us with historical background. We could tell he truly digs the place as well, which made our experience even more of a treat.
Another amazing space is the courtyard with a ceiling open to the outside, a black industrial framework including black trellises filled with vines, and large potted plants which gave the space that industrial yet luxurious feel. In the middle of this beautiful verdant space sits a Bolero horse sculpture.
Off to the side of the courtyard sits a Moet vending machines in case you would like to treat your party to champagne anytime you like. Talk about luxury!
Last but not least, we took a walk outside. On the other end of the courtyard, you’ll find the exercise room to the left on your way to the outdoor infinity pool overlooking the harbor. Can’t get much better than this.
My photos do not this place justice. Check it out for yourself. First, visit their site to view their photos, the menu, and anything else you like. Then, make a reservation. You won’t regret it.