Have you ever been to Baltimore, Maryland? Baltimore is not only the birthplace of America’s national anthem, but it is also home to a surprisingly vibrant food and drink scene. While you are in town — whether it is to eat delicious crab, visit intriguing art and history museums, or move to the city — check out some of Baltimore’s best bars. Here is my list of the best bars in Baltimore, Maryland.
1730 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231
Phone: (410) 276-9866
Cat’s Eye Pub, which opened in 1975, is a cozy and spirited live music and sports bar in Fells Point — near Broadway Square — that appeals to many tastes. Some people love it for the wide range of tap beers, others for the nightly live music, and others still for the chill and friendly atmosphere. I love it for all three!
733 S Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231
Phone: (410) 675-6297
Also near Broadway Square, you can find Max’s Taphouse, a highly-popular but impressively still easygoing bar with a great happy hour. I go for their nice selection of bottled beers and their tasty BBQ. I also enjoy sitting in the patio area with friends on a Wednesday or Thursday evening. Go to the Belgian Beer Festival if you want to have the best time!
328 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 539-7504
Baltimore is known for its Irish population — in fact, the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest and oldest in the country. So, it’s no surprise that Mick O’Shea’s Irish Pub is one of the most beloved bars in Downtown Baltimore. I appreciate how traditional the setting of this Irish pub is and how classic their bar bites, beers, and whiskey menus are. I recommend ordering an ice-cold Magners Cider and a Shepherd’s Pie for the perfect combo.
1106 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 547-6925
We all know brewing craft beer is not just a science but an art, and The Brewer’s Art, near the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, reminds us of just that. I like hosting special events in this elegant dining space and inviting people who truly understand how delicious their Belgian-style beers are.
131 S Schroeder St, Baltimore, MD 21223
Phone: (667) 303-3994
Right across the street from the B&O Railroad Museum, you’ll find The Back Yard, a lesser-known yet very well-loved bar serving craft beer and wine and reasonable prices. It has a particularly friendly atmosphere that makes you feel at home the first time you walk in. Don’t forget to say hi to Franklin, the “House Dog”!
201 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 989-3405
Another exceptionally friendly and homey bar is Idle Hour, located north of Riverside Park. I love the moody, red lighting inside this cozy bar, which perfectly compliments the artsy decor and turntable music. Chartreuse is their specialty, but there are many other classic options to choose from. I like ordering a negroni alongside a plate of oysters to share.
The Charm’tastic Mile, 213 Penn St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 727-1155
The Corner Bistro & Wine Bar is a fantastic place to catch up with an old friend or two over some drinks and good conversation. If the wine selection gets you in the door at this bar in the Barre Circle — near Oriole Park — it might be the crab cake sliders or the shrimp and grits that get you to stay.
1132 S Hanover St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 547-7415
Mums has the classic bar vibes we all know and love — an intimate space, dark lighting, kitschy lights for “decor,” and a pool table to show off your skills. Near the Solo Gibbs Playfield, Mums is truly a delight to go to because it’s so comfortable and inviting. They also have live music nights, so you can jam out while sipping your National Bohemian.
31 S Calvert St, 6th floor, Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (443) 203-1888
Clock Restoration is another easygoing bar located near the National Aquarium. I like that you can wear whatever you want and be whoever you are without judgment in this inviting space. In addition to impressive cocktails, they have shuffleboards and trivia nights to enjoy with your friends!
1010 Fleet St, Baltimore, MD 21202
If you want to attend one of the best bars in Baltimore, Maryland, with a speakeasy vibe, I highly recommend heading to the western side of Fells Point to find The Elk Room. Not only does this bar have swanky and sophisticated vibes that’ll transport you straight to the 1920s, but they also, somewhat surprisingly, service delicious Italian bites like a prosciutto plate.
218 E Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 659-4130
Many people go to Sidebar Tavern for their live music nights, but my favorite events are their comedy shows! This classically-styled brick tavern is located between Downtown and East Case. I never regret heading that way for the fun and cheery open mic nights. I usually drink well-priced bottled beer while enjoying some good laughs.
223 W Chase St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (443) 873-6699
A dry city or dry town is one in which you cannot purchase alcohol, so naming your bar “Wet City” is both accurate and highly comical! They serve craft beer and elevated cocktails at this Midtown bar. My favorite cocktail here is the Turing, with vodka, lemon juice, and fall-spiced syrup. And my favorite beer always changes!
315 W Franklin St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 547-2722
The Place Lounge offers a lively spot for a slightly older crowd, and it’s located north of Downtown, near Seton Hill. If I’m looking to have a classier night, I enjoy going to The Place Lounge when they’re playing R&B or jazz. However, they also have upbeat house music nights, where I’ll go and dance all night long!
4 W Madison St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: (410) 609-3162
Near the Baltimore School for the Arts, Sugarvale is a decorated cocktail bar where both the cocktails and the environment have a “sweet” touch. I enjoy their classic drinks, but I also appreciate their creative cocktails, such as “Trip to Alcapulco” with cocci rosa, Rayu mezcal, and grapefruit shrub. Also, you’ll be remiss to skip out on their crème brûlée.
900 S Carey St, Baltimore, MD 21223
Phone: (443) 873-7363
Old Major, located in Pigtown near Carroll Park, is a little out of the way relative to many of the bars on this list. However, it’s work making a trip if you enjoy the social club vibes, the unique food menu for a bar (get the spicy mango shrimp curry!), or laugh-out-loud comedy shows.
111 Mercer St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 539-5818
Peter’s Pour House is a cozy diver bar and pub near Historic Ships Baltimore in the Inner Harbor area. I enjoy attending Peter’s Pour House for private events because it is the perfect space to bring a group together, given its familiar vibes, huge selection of 32-ounce beers, and classic bar food that everyone can get behind.
102 Water St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 605-9495
The Water Street Tavern & Key West Patio Bar is located near the Inner Harbor but closer to Downtown, and it’s one of the best bars in Baltimore, Maryland, for late-night eats. I like having plenty of seating options in this bi-level space, but I tend to go for the patio, especially in the warmer months. In the colder months, I sit inside, drink a beer, and warm up with a Maryland Crab Soup.
2229 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218
Phone: (667) 309-7167
Walking in the Dutch Courage reminded me of walking into a contemporary-designed living room — and I wasn’t mad at that! This gin-focused bar near Charles Village is where gin lovers unite to explore the world of creative cocktails and share a range of tasty tapas while they’re at it.
3600 Hickory Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211
The Bluebird Cocktail Room is an old-fashioned speakeasy with an intimate and romantic vibe near Roosevelt Park. In addition to the assortment of drinks, their small plates are impressive, including lamb meatballs and scallops. They do take reservations, so make sure to plan ahead in case it does get busy.
1 E Chase St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: (410) 347-0888
The Owl Bar is a Mid-Town Belvedere treasure located near the corner of Chase and Charles St. This popular spot reels people in due to its elevated fare, sophisticated decor, and inviting setting. I’m not surprised that it’s been successful since 1903! I really liked their Crab Mac & Cheese as a starter.
400 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21211
Phone: (410) 925-7900
W.C. Harlan is one of those bars that seems so simple at first but just keeps pulling you back time and time again. It’s almost a crime to put it on the list because I love how it has a certain mystique, but it’s so good that I had to include it! If you go, get a cheese plate alongside your favorite cocktail.