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Apr 12, 2007 08:08 PM

Drinks? (B'more edition)

The recent post on nice places for drinks in DC got me thinking about where to go in Baltimore for drinks. . . I usually go to Grand Cru for wine, and of course Brewer's Art for beer/scene/rosemary fries, or to Life of Riley (used to be Simon's) for local happy hour (I live near Patterson Park), but I'm sure there are other great places. So, what's your go to place for a drink? for a cocktail? for a nice night of wine?

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  1. A recent addition in Fed Hill that I had the pleasure of visiting unaware of what it might be is Illusions on Charles. It was formerly Kenzo's Magic Shop and Ken Horsman and his son Spencer have really done a bang up job on renovating the place, a beautiful bar with an old-time hotel look and feel to it, all leather and dark wood. We went on a Friday night and Spencer was roaming the room entertaining the customers with card tricks. Around 10 he did a short act on the stage built into the bar which was really a treat. The back half of the bar has plenty of low leather couches and tables as well as a pool table and juke box. It's only been open a few weeks, but I was really impressed with the place. No food, but seeing as this is a thread on a place to get drinks, I'd definitely recommend a visit for a fun and different night out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rpb

      Here's a short write-up on Illusions in the B'more Sun:

      Chesapeake Wine Company is a great place to go get wine and drinks; Karen makes the world's greatest martinis and margs. Also, there are invariably interesting people to meet.

      One-Eyed Mike's is a great hang-out joint.

      Red Star if only for the parking.

      1. re: rpb

        They don't have a kitchen -- mistake -- but they plan on offering desserts soon and perhaps other snacks in time.

      2. Here's my short list:

        Idle Hour on Fort ave. for cocktails, wine and chartreuse
        Red Star... no smoking is key
        Liam's Pint Size on Charles... cause it's the smallest bar in town (perhaps)... smokey as all heck
        Peters... wines by the glass list rocks
        Mahaffey's, Ale Mary's and Growlers cause I'm a beer geek.
        Grand Cru... outdoor tables and you can always take the party home
        One Eyed Mikes... and I'm not a huge Gran Marnier fan
        Capt Larry's...rainy days... dark and stormy, thurs. pound a pitcher night

        I haven't been to Ches. Wine Co. in years but thanks for the reminder.

        1. Living in Bolton Hill and working in Fells, my (not that) short list is:


          Brewer's Art - walking distance, all time favorite bar
          Mick O'Sheas - Guinness / Fish and Chips
          Midtown Yacht Club - Decent selection, low-key scene
          Waterfront Hotel (2nd floor lounge): Great if you want to go out on the weekends without dealing with frat-tastic crowds
          One Eyed Mikes - (echo what everyone else has said plus Oak Barrel Stout on tap)
          Mount Royal Tavern - best seedy dive bar around - definitely have to be in the right mood though
          Dougherty's - (see Mount Royal Tavern, but cleaner and with cheap pitcher deals)
          Duda's - good starting point to an evening
          Porter's - the few times I make it over to Federal Hill
          Birds of a Feather - Scotch

          Cocktails / Scene:

          Tapas Teatro (outside tables with a pitcher of sangria)
          Pazo front lounge (better with a group)
          Red Maple - overpriced and over-trendy, but still can be fun

          Happy Hour:

          Cross Street Market
          Mama's - Grapefruit Crushes
          Wine Market - by the glass specials

          Haven't been to a few of these in a while, but those are the staples...

          1. Ixia on North Charles Street offers amazing martini cocktails. My husband and I went there for dinner a few months ago and had an amazing time. The food is just as faboulous as the cocktails. The bar and wait staff are very friendly and knowledgable. There is a cool lounge area to the right of the bar where you can hang out. Be warned, the drinks do not come cheap...about $12-14 a pop but they are so worth it. My husband had the Japanimation which was great and I had the French Kiss and a Pomegranate Cosmo (which was not on the menu but the server suggested to me-great service!) Of course they have a full bar if you are looking for wine. The atmosphere is worth the trip.

            1. I love going to Dionysus in Mt Vernon (on Preston between Charles and Saint Paul streets). The basement is just so cozy, and it's like settling down in a set of comfy PJs. Great music, great bartender, great owner, phenomenal white pizza. I like to go a bit earlier when I can have the place to myself, but there certainly is a nice convivial nature when it's packed with all sort of folks having a grand old time.

              The bar at Gardel's is impressive. Expansive view of the room, 30' ceilings, and the mezmerizing tango dancers on the big screen TV make for great visuals. Their tapas ain't bad, either, and if you get there before 7 or 8, you'll pretty much have the place to yourself.

              Mosiac's old location (under the canopies in the middle of Power Plant Live) was divine when they would open early and we'd be the only ones there. They just moved down to an indoor/outdoor place and I'm told it's as suave and chic (couches, pillows, chaise lounges) as it used to be. They don't open until 7 or 8 nowadays, so the times of coming early and avoiding the crowds appear to be over. But it's first-rate for a drinking outdoors on a lovely summer night. (At least, the old one was. Gotta check out the new one.)

              Midtown fits like an old shoe. Dive-y yet hip all at the same time.

              Club Charles is the best bar for people-watching. Amazing drinks, too. One of the few places that carried Honey Jager when I was in that phase.

              Ropewalk is kinda like Midtown to me. Crowded and very much a bar, but it fits the bill when that's what I'm in the mood for.

              I miss Sisson's. :*( Yes, I'm going way back now.

              I'm shooting for trying Robert Oliver's for cocktails, when I pass by their bar it looks *divine.*

              Brewer's Art: Basement for when I'm feeling introspective, upstairs for when I'm feeling haughty. Resurrection is the brew of choice, regardless of whether I'm upstairs or downstairs. Can't beat their $1.40 HH prices. Lord have mercy.