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Home » Charm City Cheers: A Guide to Baltimore’s Best Cocktail Bars

Charm City Cheers: A Guide to Baltimore’s Best Cocktail Bars

Baltimore is a city with a rich history, culture, and nightlife. But did you know that it also has some of the best cocktail bars in the country? Whether you’re looking for a classic martini, a creative concoction, or a cozy speakeasy, you’ll find it in Charm City. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll show you where to get a good cocktail in Baltimore, what to expect from each bar, and why they are worth a visit. So grab your glass and let’s get started!

Introduction

Baltimore has always been a wet city, even during the Prohibition era when it defied the federal ban on alcohol. Today, you can still enjoy the spirit of Baltimore’s rebellious past at its many cocktail bars, where talented bartenders mix up drinks with flair and finesse. Whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated setting, a lively atmosphere, or a hidden gem, you’ll find a cocktail bar that suits your taste in Baltimore.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to 10 of the best cocktail bars in Baltimore, based on their menu, ambiance, service, and reputation. We’ll also give you some tips and recommendations on what to order, when to go, and how to make the most of your experience. These are the criteria we used to select the best cocktail bars in Baltimore:

  • Menu: The cocktail bar should offer a variety of drinks, from classics to originals, using quality ingredients and spirits.
  • Ambiance: The cocktail bar should have a distinctive decor, vibe, and theme that matches its concept and clientele.
  • Service: The cocktail bar should have friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive staff who can make recommendations and accommodate requests.
  • Reputation: The cocktail bar should have positive reviews, awards, or recognition from customers, critics, or experts.

Ready to explore the best cocktail bars in Baltimore? Here’s our list of the top 10 places to get a drink in Charm City.

The Bluebird Cocktail Room

The Bluebird Cocktail Room is a literary-themed cocktail bar in Hampden that takes inspiration from famous authors and works of literature. The name comes from a Charles Bukowski poem, and the menu changes seasonally based on different literary themes. For example, a recent menu was loosely based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales and featured drinks like Little Snow White, a dry gin cocktail with a bitter heart.

The Bluebird Cocktail Room has a stylish and inviting setting, with cozy booths, dim lighting, and bookshelves filled with classics. The drinks are artfully crafted and balanced, using custom-carved ice cubes and fresh ingredients. The bar also offers food options like cheese boards, charcuterie plates, and small bites.

The Bluebird Cocktail Room is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a popular spot for dates, groups, and literary lovers who appreciate a good drink and a good story.

The Elk Room

The Elk Room is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in Harbor East that transports you back to the Prohibition era. To enter the bar, you have to find the hidden door behind an antique phone booth and ring the bell. Once inside, you’ll be greeted by a sophisticated and elegant space that features leather couches, velvet curtains, and vintage decor.

The Elk Room specializes in classic cocktails with a twist, using premium spirits and house-made syrups and bitters. Some of their signature drinks include the Old Cuban, made with rum, lime juice, simple syrup, mint leaves, Angostura bitters, and champagne; and the Smoking Gun, made with bourbon, mezcal, maple syrup, and chocolate bitters, served in a smoke-filled glass.

The Elk Room also offers live music on weekends, ranging from jazz to blues to soul. The bar is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a great place for a romantic date, a special occasion, or a night out with friends who enjoy a touch of mystery and sophistication.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club

Bookmakers Cocktail Club is a gastropub and cocktail bar in Federal Hill that combines delicious food and drinks with a lively atmosphere. The bar has a sleek and modern design, with a long and wrap-around bar, exposed brick walls, and large windows that overlook the street.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club offers a diverse menu of cocktails, ranging from classics to originals, using fresh ingredients and local spirits. Some of their standout drinks include the Bookmaker’s Old Fashioned, made with rye whiskey, sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and orange peel; and the Bee’s Knees, made with gin, lemon juice, honey syrup, and lavender bitters.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club also serves a variety of food options, such as burgers, salads, sandwiches, and small plates. The bar is open from Monday to Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a popular spot for happy hour, dinner, and late-night drinks, with a fun and energetic vibe.

The Owl Bar

The Owl Bar is a historic and iconic cocktail bar in Mount Vernon that dates back to 1903. The bar is located in the Belvedere Hotel, a former speakeasy that hosted celebrities like Clark Gable, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Al Capone. The bar has a vintage and classy vibe, with a stained glass owl window, a brick fireplace, and a wood-paneled ceiling.

The Owl Bar offers a mix of classic and contemporary cocktails, using quality spirits and fresh juices. Some of their notable drinks include the Belvedere Martini, made with vodka or gin, dry vermouth, and olives or lemon twist; and the Owl Smash, made with bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint leaves, and blackberries.

The Owl Bar also serves a full menu of food options, such as pizzas, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. The bar is open from Monday to Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a perfect place for a taste of history, a casual meal, or a fun night out.

Clavel Mezcaleria

Clavel Mezcaleria is a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar and restaurant in Remington that specializes in Apologies for the interruption. Here’s the continuation of the HTML code: “`html mezcal and tacos. The bar has a colorful and festive decor, with a mural of Frida Kahlo, a tiled bar counter, and hanging plants. The drinks are authentic and delicious, using artisanal mezcal and tequila from Mexico. Clavel Mezcaleria offers a wide range of cocktails, featuring mezcal or tequila as the base spirit. Some of their popular drinks include the Margarita Clasica, made with blanco tequila or mezcal espadin, lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave nectar; and the Paloma de Jamaica, made with reposado tequila or mezcal espadin, hibiscus syrup, lime juice, grapefruit soda, and salt. Clavel Mezcaleria also offers an extensive menu of food options, such as tacos al pastor, quesadillas de huitlacoche, ceviche de pescado y camaron, and pozole rojo. The bar is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a wonderful place for a lively and flavorful experience.

Rye

Rye is a craft cocktail bar in Fells Point that focuses on rye whiskey and other spirits. The bar has a cozy and intimate atmosphere, with a long and wrap-around bar, exposed brick walls, and dim lighting. The drinks are expertly made and beautifully presented, using fresh ingredients and house-made syrups and bitters.

Rye offers a variety of cocktails, ranging from classics to originals, as well as a selection of pours from different whiskey regions. Some of their standout drinks include the Bookmaker’s Old Fashioned, made with rye whiskey, sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and orange peel; and the Penicillin, made with Scotch, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup, and Islay Scotch mist.

Rye also serves a small menu of snacks, such as cheese plates, olives, nuts, and popcorn. The bar is open from Monday to Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a popular spot for whiskey lovers, cocktail enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a relaxing and refined drink.

Sugarvale

Sugarvale is a chic and modern cocktail bar in Mount Vernon that offers a curated menu of drinks and food. The bar has a minimalist and elegant design, with a marble-topped bar, wooden stools, and geometric light fixtures. The drinks are inventive and flavorful, using seasonal ingredients and local spirits.

Sugarvale offers a rotating menu of cocktails, divided into categories such as light & refreshing, bold & boozy, sweet & sour, and bitter & stirred. Some of their signature drinks include the Bee’s Knees, made with gin, lemon juice, honey syrup, and lavender bitters; and the Jungle Bird, made with Blackstrap Rum, Cappelletti Aperitivo, pineapple, lime, and demerara syrup.

Sugarvale also offers a selection of wine, beer, cider, and sake, as well as a menu of small plates, such as charcuterie, cheese, pickles, and dips. The bar is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a great place for a date night, a catch-up with friends, or a solo treat.

WC Harlan

WC Harlan is a hidden gem in Remington that offers handcrafted cocktails in a cozy and speakeasy-like atmosphere. To enter the bar, you have to find the unmarked door behind an antique phone booth and ring the bell. Once inside, you’ll be charmed by the vintage and rustic decor, featuring leather couches, velvet curtains, and a stained glass owl window.

WC Harlan specializes in classic cocktails with a twist, using quality spirits and house-made syrups and bitters. Some of their signature drinks include the Cocktail du Jour, which changes daily based on the bartender’s inspiration; and the Old Fashioned, made with rye whiskey, sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and orange peel.

WC Harlan also offers a selection of wine, beer, cider, and coffee, as well as a small menu of cheese and charcuterie plates. The bar is open from Monday to Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a perfect place for a date night, a catch-up with friends, or a solo treat.

The Horse You Came In On Saloon

The Horse You Came In On Saloon is a historic and iconic cocktail bar in Fells Point that claims to be the oldest continuously operating saloon in America. The bar dates back to 1775 and has hosted famous figures like Edgar Allan Poe, who allegedly had his last drink there before his mysterious death. The bar has a lively and rowdy vibe, with live music, dancing, and karaoke.

The Horse You Came In On Saloon offers a variety of cocktails, featuring bourbon, whiskey, tequila, and rum as the base spirits. Some of their popular drinks include the Jack Daniels Lynchburg Lemonade, made with Jack Daniels whiskey, triple sec, sour mix, and Sprite; and the Edgar Allan Poe’s Punch, made with Bacardi rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and Myers’s rum float.

The Horse You Came In On Saloon also serves a full menu of food options, such as wings, nachos, burgers, and wraps. The bar is open from Monday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. It’s a great place for a fun and festive night out.

Conclusion

Baltimore is a city that knows how to make a good cocktail. From speakeasies to gastropubs, from classics to originals, from cozy to lively, you’ll find a cocktail bar that matches your mood and taste in Charm City.

In this article, we’ve introduced you to 10 of the best cocktail bars in Baltimore, based on their menu, ambiance, service, and reputation. We’ve also given you some tips and recommendations on what to order, when to go, and how to make the most of your experience.

But don’t take our word for it. Go ahead and try them out for yourself. You might discover a new favorite drink, a new favorite spot, or a new favorite story.

As one of the experts we quoted said,

“Baltimore has always been a wet city, even during the Prohibition era when it defied the federal ban on alcohol. Today, you can still enjoy the spirit of Baltimore’s rebellious past at its many cocktail bars, where talented bartenders mix up drinks with flair and finesse.”

So what are you waiting for? Grab your glass and let’s toast to the best cocktail bars in Baltimore!