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Bohemian ambience with a catch

The folks who live in the Baltimore waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point take the bad with the good. Because there's plenty of good.

Lots of great resturants and shops. Quaint cobblestone streets and views of the harbor. A small-town sense of community where everybody knows just about everybody else. The locals who know say Fells Point is comparable to Greenwich Village in New York or Georgetown in Washington, D.C., for the way it attracts smart, interesting people -- artists and musicians, restaurant owners and writers, doctors and lawyers.

And in the middle of this increasingly upscale, gentrified neighborhood is a huge bar scene. During the week, the locals go out to sample beer or some steamed shrimp while they chat or listen to Irish music or jazz.

But on weekends, the atmosphere changes radically. The college crowd descends, bunches of early 20somethings (and -- shhh -- sometimes not-quite 20somethings) who come from Cockeysville and Timonium and Towson to drink, dance and hook up. They come in every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a few of them get a little too rowdy.

But the locals put up with it. Because the place is just so -- alive.

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