By Dylan Roche
Do you know what it means to be “twaining” somebody?
Imagine this: You’re at the local tavern with all your
buddies, and you’re telling them a story. Maybe it’s the
laid-back atmosphere or maybe it’s just the attention
from your group of friends, but something makes you
want to start embellishing the tale. So you exaggerate.
And maybe you add a few details.
You get a little melodramatic, just because it makes for
a better yarn. Before you know it, your story is a little
more fiction than fact, but at least it’s entertaining.
And that’s exactly where Tony Toskov got the idea for his newest business venture, Twain’s Tavern, recently opened at 8359 Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Pasadena. The visionary restaurateur behind such venues as Cancun Cantina, Reckless Ric’s, Two Rivers Steak & Fish House and Bamboo Bernie’s (formerly located where Twain’s Tavern now is) was developing the idea for the new venue, when his wife and business partner, Laura, suggested the name Twain’s, based on their friends liking to tell embellished stories. “Are you ‘twaining’ me?” was their way of saying, “Are you fooling me?”
The idea was appealing, and in Tony’s tradition of alliterative names, they decided on Twain’s Tavern; thus, Tony began creating the theme around Mark Twain, the 19th-century American author of “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer.”
Twain’s Tavern offers, as Tony described it, “a really comfortable atmosphere to enjoy incredible light fare and a creative cocktail.” The walls are stonework and the bars are lined with beautiful finished wood. On one end of the open, L-shaped space is a dance floor with a nearby stage for live music; on the other end, patrons can play a game of billiards at the pool tables. Large-screen TVs line the walls, and colored lights flash and spin from overhead. Through the back doors, the open patio awaits customers looking for fresh air and summer weather.
The menu, created by head chef Rob Sykes, features handcrafted comfort food prepared from scratch – flatbreads, burgers, seafood, salads and more. Patrons can also enjoy a selection of microbrews, wines and specialty drinks, all served by the best mixologists in town.
Some community members, particularly those familiar
with the Tony Toskov brand, might be curious about the
process of planning and executing an entertainment
establishment that offers a little bit of everything.
But despite his consistency in bringing visions to
high-quality reality, Tony’s methods are slightly
unorthodox. As he claims, he never writes anything
down, he never sketches anything, and he never uses
a calendar or notebook — he works entirely from
memory. “He definitely has a talent unlike anyone else
I’ve ever met, beyond anyone else’s creativity,”
Laura said. “He can look at a place and tell you what he wants to do with it.”
Bamboo Bernie’s closed in November, and in the months since then, a team of contractors has turned the tiki-themed bar into a stylish, upscale tavern. Tony said his favorite part of opening a new venue is the reaction he gets from patrons when they enter. “The most exciting part is when a person walks in the door and just says, ‘Wow!’” he described. “Every single person who walks in here says the same thing: ‘Wow! This is incredible.’”
Laura agreed. “That’s the fun part,” she said. “Seeing friends, family, neighbors and soon-to-be new friends enjoying this. It makes all the hard work worth it.”
Since opening on Friday, June 12, Twain’s Tavern has entertained crowds of guests who have come out for live music, dancing, games of pool, drinks, food and, of course, twaining their friends. Twain’s has a weekly schedule full of exciting offerings for all interests, such as country dance lessons on Tuesdays starting at 7:00pm, karaoke with DJ Marcus on Wednesdays at 7:30pm, live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and All-Sports Sunday, when events will be shown on the 30 TVs all day. In addition to entertainment, weekly food and drink specials will be half-priced bottles of wine on Tuesday, ladies night with $2 drink specials on Thursday, and $5 burgers on Fridays.
To check out Twain’s Tavern in person, stop by 8359 Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard. To find out more information, call 410-647-5200 or visit www.twainstavern.com.
Photos by Dylan Roche
Twain's Tavern | 8359 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd, Pasadena, Maryland 21122 | 410-647-5200
Copyright © Twain's Tavern