Surf City Closed, Future of Structure Unknown

The Perry Hall bar and restaurant locked its doors over a week ago.

has officially closed, but the future of the historic structure at 9654 Belair Road remains unknown.

Bill Ruppert, who has owned the property since about 1985, confirmed that Surf City closed more than a week ago and he is speaking with potential tenants.

Major changes are anticipated for the former restaurant and nightclub. "If it goes the way I hope, and the way I try to influence it, it will be severely remodeled," Ruppert said.

For now, however, a sign on the front door reads, "So sorry ... Doors are closed. We will miss you all ... Thank you!"

Two would-be patrons in the property's parking lot, as well as a nearby office worker, recently expressed disappointment over the closure. Each declined to be identified by Patch.

Surf City was one of few in the Perry Hall area and regularly hosted live music and special events, ranging from to an .

Surf City's former manager declined to comment on the reason behind the closure.

The building itself has a storied past.

Prior to becoming Surf City, it was known as the Perry Hall Inn & Pub, and before that, according to Ruppert, it belonged to former State Sen. Thomas Bromwell, and was called Bromwell Inn.

Previously, the business was owned by the locally prominent Kahl family, Ruppert said.

According to a 2002 Baltimore Sun obituary, Kahl's Inn was first established in 1900, and remained in the family until it was sold by Marie J. Kahl and her husband Lawrence Kahl in the 1970s.

"The restaurant, said family members, was known for Mrs. Kahl's homemade backfin crab cakes and fried chicken, and once had been home to the 11th District Democratic Club," the article stated.

Share your Surf City memories in the comments.

What type of business do you think should replace Surf City? Tell us in the comments.

FIFA June 06, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Location, location, location, this spot sucks.
Steve Redmer June 06, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Some people like polka too...but that doesn't mean there is a demand for a polka club...Seriously though...I too like Blues & Jazz, and I am not even close to baby boomer age, however I have never found myself pondering the lack of a blues club in the area...It just wouldn't work
Dave Bergen June 06, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Yeah I remember when it was Apple's, Andres as well. Not sure that it was Bromwell Inn as the writer stated though, if I recall Bromwell Inn was further down Belair road in Fullerton.
Emily Kimball (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Here's a link that supports Bromwell Inn being there, I wish I had exact dates - http://happyhours.citypaper.com/baltimore/places/197420-Bromwell-Inn-North-Perry-Hall
Kathy June 06, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Yeah GREG!!!!
Kathy June 06, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I worked at the Bromwell Inn...it was definitely there! Also, when it changed over to the Perry Inn. That was around 1987-88 or so.
Other Tim June 06, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Bromwell Inn was on the corner of Belair Road and Fullerton Avenue (below the Beltway) in the late 70's and early 80's. I played softball every Tuesday (in season) at Fullerton Park during those years, and after the games we always ended up at the Bromwell Inn.
Other Tim June 06, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Just Googled Bromwell Inn. Apparently there was a place called Bromwell Inn North at the Surf City location. Didn't show any dates on when it was there.
Patricia Single June 06, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I used to DJ there when Mary and Tom owned the place. It was a fun place to play and we had a good following - everyone loved the classic rock and southern rock. A few fights but nothing that bad. Just everyone enjoying rocking out...
Other Tim June 07, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Didn't Bayou Blues at the Avenue try the Blues theme? Now closed.
Eric Martin June 07, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I must be the oldest one here because I had my first job in the late sixties working for Mr & Mrs Kahl in Kahl's Restaurant. It was a nice family atmosphere with good food. I guess when the Kahl's retired and sold the place no one else seemed to be able to make a go of it there.
Kris June 07, 2012 at 01:47 PM
You had your son's baptism at a bar?!? Shocker that it didn't turn out well. Great planning.
Steve Redmer June 07, 2012 at 02:34 PM
In Tony's defense, the hall upstairs is NOT a bar, it can be rented and catered for private partys
PastItTom June 07, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Not a surprise in the least. If you look at the bartender's response to my review of the place, you'll see the attitude of the ownership/staff made it very apparent they were doing you a major-league favor even waiting on you.
DS June 07, 2012 at 04:14 PM
That sucks. It was a great "dive" bar with cheap prices - I would drink my Jack and waters cheap - everyone else wants $10.00 a drink. We loved Megan the bartender - she rocked!
DS June 07, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Disagree - not sure who waited on you but the gal who worked Saturday afternoons was great!
Bill Foltz June 07, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Bill Paulshock from Bill's Seafood needs to hook up with Ruppert and have a Bill's Crab Shack ro Bill's Crab House. However, Ruppert needs to increase parking...that's a must.
Bill Foltz June 07, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I know how you feel. My wife and I ate there soon after they opened. We ordered Fish & Chips. We got a horrible deep fried frozen fish fillet and soggy fries. To top things off our drinks came in small plastic Solo cups and the waiteress forgot to give us menus after seating us. She just looked at us like WE were the clueless ones.
tom fijalkovic June 07, 2012 at 11:55 PM
As a PHHS grad of 1982, and growing up in PH, my first memories of this hole in the wall...was Apples!!. Bromwells was on Belair and Fullerton. I've played ball and frequented alot of places around the area, but when Ruppert bought it, the atmosphere went to hell. I've also been to a few Maryland Liquor Board shin-digs upstairs and the food sucked. Ruppert needs to put "his" own money into it, and make it nice again. When the Kahls owned it!!
Karen B June 08, 2012 at 06:03 AM
My fiance and I went in there 2 times, and each time we were very disappointed. Who serves drinks in little plastic cups, like they used to use @ the catholic school fairs. That place was a joke. The owner is/was a joke. I hope whatever goes in there is better than surf city. 2 thumbs down surf city.
ARG June 08, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I think Bill Paulshock should consider a Crab House. He could be open from April to November, unless the demand was there for a year round crab house. Parking is defiately a problem that would need to be addrssed before any business could be a success in that space.
jp June 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
this place was disgusting. filthy dirty inside and drugs (cocaine specifically) were being ran through the place like no other. a friend of mine was drugged at this place and another was overcharged by $200 on his credit card total. i am glad to see this place go.
Jimmy June 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM
I was only there once when it was Surf City. It took 10 minutes to get my first drink. the hard part was to get the attention of the bartender who clearly didn't want to be on that side of the bar. $4.75 for a domestic beer? Then up to the concert hall. Rude bouncers yelling because I didn't know the rule - even though the door was open, I was not allowed to go upstairs. A $7.00 cover for a no-name band...really? You would have to pay me a lot to play upstairs...or carry my gear up for me. It was better when the previous people ran the bar. They had great bands, no cover and it was always packed. No wonder Surf City only lasted a year.
Steven J June 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM
That place has a great potential with the right management. I can't remember what it was called before Surf City, but I was surprised when they closed. They always had a crowd, and good music. The stage was big and there was still plenty of dance space. They were nice people too. You never had to wait for a drink and prices were reasonable. Sadly, the upstairs went un-used. That is a hard room to rent. It should be an apartment. Hopefully, someone with some business savvy will rent it and turn it around to be a nice venue for live music.
Mary-Rina Scribner June 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Someone should call Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible for a menu and restaurant makeover!!
Lance Beasman July 30, 2012 at 01:00 AM
i heard that Mickey C (98 rock) and an investment group are going to fix it up and run it.
Jake Taylor August 05, 2012 at 02:04 AM
This place was great when Mary and Tom owned it. It was professional all the way around. Then then she and Tom wanted to movie it where Santoni's was when it closed because it would be all on one floor with lots of parking but they couldnt get the liqour liscence to go with them it stayed with them where they were. So they stayed put as long as they could. This was back in 99 and business was still very good. Lots of parties upstairs, respectable bartenders, (I mean a Calvert Hall teacher bartender there on the weekends who is now an assistant pricniple for pete's smith's sake!) and hot college girls working as servers. There would be many kids there for prom, and moms on mothers day where they all got flowers. The after church crowd. The upstairs had been the same for the last 20 years as far as everyone i know says. Slowly the good cooks (Rick, Carlos ) took better paying jobs else where when Geroge Balog took over as "the bearded bumbler" as the staff and customers called it. Some people loved Mr. Balog and he treated those who were loyal to him great. Sure he may have not had a good business sense, I mean the guy had told tables to "eat and get the hell out" after complaining about a temperature of a steak, "I don't need your money!" Mr. Balogs real reasons for buying the restaraunt prolly had more to do with his embezzelment charges he had when he ran the city with Schmoke, more than anything else He sold it to Eric Uttenrither, a drunk.by 2010 S City was a only a shell
Jake Taylor August 05, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Eric killed off the business that Geroge had on life support since 2003. Its amazing that it held on as long as it did really. The only constants were the bar crowd, and few loyal restraunt employees. It was still a great social place during this time. I can clearly remember at 7 o clock the news channels 13 would get turned down, and the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden would get turned up. It wasn't uncomon to hear WHFS on in the bar during this time and was a really enjoyable play for young people. Unfortunatly, Ruppert put no money into the building and Mr. Balog had to pour a small fortunre into the place just to sell it. It amazingly passes inspection (I'm not saying GGB payed anyone off. I'm not saying....)! The real problem was the buliding was falling apart, and there was so many diverse crowds that were so different. to the older generation in the day it was thier vodka tonic place or whatever. By night fall it was an alternative rock crowd who wanted to escape the rap music at bj's pub down the street. But slowly during this time most of the quality staff that remained finished college, (hot college girls replaced by over the hill 40 and 50 yr old severs stuck in the 80s that hung around because they had nowhere else to go, the good cooks moved on the coorporate positions, and after the restaraunt was sold Eric had a bowling ball behing the bar, a inner city thugs as a kitchen staff, and and owner walking around every day with a beer in hand at 1o am.
Jake Taylor August 05, 2012 at 02:41 AM
So the Perry Inn and Pub both Mary and Tom's Walzenbach and Geroge G. Balogs attracted pretty much the same crowd. When Eric Uttenrither had it he turned it into pee wees play house and partied every day until the money beer and coke ran out. Its sad to say that one man destroyed place so rich in community history. I am personally saddened that it is closed. I grew up there. Met my wife there. Had my grandfathers funeral reception there, and Mister Balog was great and respectful to my family. Like I said, he was a brilliant lawyler, and he had a huge heart. Its just that Geroge was so tierd from being up to 4 am every night after doing the money and emptying the machines every night. Then being there at 9 am again to open. On a man in his 60s this takes its toll over the course of 4 years. There are many different groups of friends who have fond (and not so fond!) memories of the Perry Inn and Pub. It is a part our lives in perry hall. But I am personally glad it has closed. Its a chapter of my life that is now in the past, but man that place has so many memories and strong feeling attached to it. Met so many friends there- that was the motto back in the late 90s "where old friends meet new friends" and it was so true. Surf City was blue paint slapped on and cheap sign, fish tanks gone, restaurant now gutted,but no bearded older gentleman. good outlet for rock music sure, but the heart of place the good people- had moved on with life. Surf City? NO,this is the P.I.P!
CRAIG HORLACHER June 10, 2013 at 04:38 AM


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