Baltimore, a city steeped in history and culture, boasts a thriving nightlife scene, and at its heart are the best bars that offer a taste of its eclectic spirit. From classic speakeasies with a touch of nostalgia to trendy rooftop bars offering breathtaking views, Baltimore’s pubs cater to every taste and mood. Whether you’re seeking a craft cocktail, a local brew, or a unique concoction, the city’s watering holes have it all. Each pub has its own story to tell, and every drink is a sip of the city’s character. Join us on a spirited journey through the city’s top bars, where every pour is a toast to Baltimore’s vibrant spirit.
Mick O’Shea’s Irish Pub is a traditional Irish spot in Downtown Baltimore. It’s next to Preston Gardens Park, and the little pub has a vintage feel. You can enjoy traditional Celtic music on the weekends or experience the lively atmosphere on a weeknight. The bar features local Baltimore bands, ranging from rock and roll to folk music. My favorite part of this bar is the fusion cuisine with hints of Irish, mainland European, and American pub food inspiration. I recommend sampling the lamb gyro sandwich with tzatziki sauce or the crabcake sandwich with local Maryland crab meat and creamy tartar sauce.
The Brewer’s Art
The Brewer’s Art is an upscale brewpub with New American cuisine. It’s in the Mt. Vernon district in Midtown, near the University of Baltimore, and the spot is popular with students, locals, and visitors. The pub has a historic atmosphere, as it’s in a rustic townhouse from the early 20th century. The building has cozy nooks, elegant dining tables, and street-view windows and is the perfect place to enjoy a brew. Belgian brews are a specialty here, and the pale ale Birdhouse brew is among my favorites. If beer isn’t your thing, try a Boston Round cider or a chili-infused Fire Fight cocktail.
Cat’s Eye Pub is a classic Baltimore institution with live music and sports TV. It’s in Fells Point, by the Patapsco River, and it’s convenient if you’re staying near the heart of Baltimore. The bar has a cozy atmosphere and has been welcoming patrons since 1975. It’s a waterfront restaurant overlooking the harbor, and you can watch boats sail through the lake while you peacefully sip a brew. Cat’s Eye Pub offers over 30 different beers on tap. I recommend an Irish brew, a peachy Corona Light, or a classic draft beer, but the National Bohemian beer is also a popular choice.
Illusions Bar and Theater might be the perfect bar for you if you’re a magic fan. It’s a bar and magic theater with a sophisticated atmosphere, comedy shows, and tasty spirits. Illusions Theater is in the Federal Hill-Montgomery district, near the historic St Barnabas church. You can stop by during the week and enjoy a drink in the refined space or visit on Friday or Saturday for a magic show. If you’d like to see a show, I recommend booking your seats ahead of time. I recommend the Corpse Reviver cocktail, a flavored drink with gin and absinthe. But they also have nonalcoholics like Shirley Temples with cherries.
Max’s Taphouse is a neighborhood bar in Fells Point with an extensive beer list and tavern cuisine. It’s on the corner of Broadway Square, two streets over from the harbor, and the cozy bar is famous for its friendly staff. The bar has over 100 kinds of beer on tap, whiskey, nonalcoholic drinks, and European brews. They also have a list of local beverages from Maryland. The beer list rotates frequently, so check out the website to see what’s new. Try Max’s Nachos, a house signature dish with jalapenos, sour cream, barbeque pulled pork, and beer cheese. I also recommend the Barnyard Burger with pork and bacon.
Visit this upscale spot and enjoy elegant whiskeys, gourmet food, and a classy atmosphere. The tavern is in Brewer’s Hill, a historic district not far from the waterfront, and it’s just slightly east of the city center. The spot features a creative brunch, and you can try a Maryland Benedict plate with crab, poached eggs, french fries, and fresh fruit. I recommend pairing your meal with a Bay Rise strawberry gin and housemade biscuits and jam. The dinner menu has plenty of vegetarian and healthy options. You can order everything from Jamaican burgers to broccoli steak with parmesan. The Noir beer cocktail goes great with a burger and fries.
Power Plant Live is an entertainment venue that’s a great place for a brew. It has a hip, trendy atmosphere, live music events, and over half a dozen bars and beer gardens. The venue is in Baltimore’s iconic downtown area, near the Port Discovery Museum and Jones Falls. It’s sure to satisfy everyone in your group, whether you like nightclubs and partying, an evening at the comedy club, or a refined drink at a restaurant. Visit Luckie’s Tavern for an authentic pub experience, and order a bacon burger, tater tots, and draft beer. Or, check out Leinie Lodge and Beer Gardens to enjoy taco plates and local brews.
Rye is an upscale lounge with gourmet pub food, whiskey, and cocktails. It’s in Fells Point, right next to the harbor, and has a cozy, sophisticated atmosphere. I love the relaxing dining area at Rye, and there’s even a fireplace for cold Baltimore nights. You can even enjoy live jazz music on select nights. I recommend the Woodford Double Oak bourbon or the Sagamore Bonded rye. The Pac-Man Crush is a colorful, fruity cocktail with rum and red wine, but you can also choose a plain sparkling wine. The Tempura shrimp buns are fantastic, and the sliders are a gourmet interpretation of classic bar food.
This location is undoubtedly one of the best bars in Baltimore. It’s a music-centered bar with classic drinks and a lively atmosphere, and it’s in the Old Goucher district near Wyman Park Dell. You can see your favorite touring bands, local musicians, and tribute acts of classic bands. Show off your skills at karaoke night, put your brain to the test at trivia, or check out a live comedy show. Try a beer, whiskey, or cider at this fun venue. Or, ask the staff to mix up a cocktail. While this bar doesn’t serve food, you are welcome to bring takeout from a nearby spot.
The Rockwell is everything you could want in a bar. It has live DJs, craft liquors, and a lively atmosphere. The bar is modern, funky, and colorful, with trendy projected wall art, music video nights, and dance parties. If you’re celebrating your birthday, the staff will give you complimentary champagne, but you can enjoy specials every night of the week, like tequila on Tuesdays and Corona on Thursdays. I recommend the Natty Boy Bottle drink, which you can get a deal on during Happy Hour before 10 pm. You can also sample Bombs, a flavored-infused cocktail drink, or a classic draft beer.
400 W 23rd St, Baltimore, MD 21211
WC HARLAN is a rustic speakeasy just east of Reservoir Hill. It’s a trendy spot with a 1920s feel, and the bar is perfect for a small gathering of friends. The dimly lit atmosphere provides a classic ambiance to the spot, and you’ll enjoy the high-quality drinks and knowledgeable staff. WC HARLAN is truly a hidden gem in Baltimore. You can sample handcrafted cocktails and vintage drinks at this casual joint. I recommend a Cocktail du Jour with gin, cream, and hints of lavender and orange, but the Waxing Crescent is another cocktail favorite, with amaro and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
201 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230
Head down to Riverside to visit Idle Hour, a relaxed Chartreuse bar. It’s north of the neighborhood park, and the bar is on the corner of E Fort Avenue and William St. Idle Hour is a no-frills joint, and it’s perfect if you want a casual feel. The interior is ambient and laidback, with dim red lights and chill rock music. The drinks at Idle Hour are top-notch, and I love the iced Spanish Way with El Bandera Red Vermouth and an olive. I also suggest trying the Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned cocktail with bourbon or a green Chartreuse with ginger.
1712 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21231
Birds of A Feather is in Fells Point, just a few streets from the waterfront. It’s a casual whiskey bar with a cozy vibe, and the spot has a vintage Scottish pub feel. Alice Horn runs the bar and is famous for creating a warm, friendly atmosphere. Scotch is the main feature at Birds of A Feather, and you can sample from an extensive menu of over 120 scotches. Settle around the fireplace with a group of friends and try single malt Ardmore or a Glen Morey from the Scottish Highlands. If you’re hungry, pick up a packet of chips from their bar bites menu.
1132 S Hanover St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Check out this cozy dive bar in the Sharp Leadenhall district, just south of Baltimore. It’s a no-frills joint with a friendly atmosphere, and you’ll fit right in with the locals when you order a beer. The bar is in a reclaimed historic house with vintage and traditional vibes. They don’t serve food, but you’re welcome to bring outside eats. You can enjoy live music on the weekends, with performances from local favorites and traveling groups. I recommend ordering a Lithuanian liquor or a honey moonshine while you entertain yourself at the pool table, darts board, or sports TV area.
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