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Restaurant Review: Bahama Breeze

January 14, 2013

No matter how hard it tries with its palm trees, tiki torches and Jamaican beats, Bahama Breeze is not a stand-in for a Caribbean island. But it's also not a cheesy impersonation either, and it offers a bit of a changeup during the cold winter months.

If nothing else, this popular Towson restaurant is a solid happy-hour hangout and worth a try after work or perhaps when you're finished shopping at Towson Town Center. The atmosphere is really Bahama Breeze's calling card, and while it can't completely rid itself of that chain-like feel, it's kind of cool the first time going there.

Besides all the island accessories and garb, streamlined throughout the restaurant's interior and exterior, there are two bar options -- one catering to those who want to enjoy the low lighting and chit-chat inside, and a second for those who want to sip island drinks outdoors at a tiki bar.

Go on a weekend and there's even live music playing after 5:30 p.m., which is a nice touch. For sports fans, there are enough televisions to take in the action, but this isn't exactly The Greene Turtle, so don't expect to be inundated.

The service is fairly decent, although it can be a bit slow at dinnertime or during happy hour. After finishing off the fist happy-hour beer, it took the bartender a good while before asking if The Food Fan would like another, which was mildly annoying.

Of course, The Food Fan loves his grub, too, and Bahama Breeze didn't disappoint. Again, this is a chain, so don't expect authentic jerk or curry dishes here. But the paella ($16.99) was seafood-filled and had some spice to it, while the avocado-and-goat-cheese burger ($10.59) had enough of a Mediterranean kick to suffice.

The true winner here are the happy-hour specials, headlined by $2 14-ounce drafts and $3 20-ounce drafts. Bahama Breeze doesn't feature a glut of draft beers, but it has enough to satisfy most tastes (Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Bud Light, Aruba Red).

Meanwhile, basic Bacardi and Smirnoff cocktails are $3, specialty drinks (think pina colada) are $4, and appetizers such as coconut shrimp and pulled pork sliders are $5. Bang for the buck? You betcha. Now, if only happy hour lasted past 6 p.m. . . .

The Box Score
Beer and Burgers or Cocktails and Cuisine? Cocktails and Cuisine * * 1/2  
Rowdy or Relaxed? Rowdy * * 1/2 
Conversational or Quiet? Conversational  *   * 
Pregame, Postgame or In-game? Pregame