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Cocktail bars in Baltimore?

I went to the Gibson in DC this weekend and LOVED it. I've also been to PDT and Flatiron Lounge in NYC, which were great. Is there anything similar in Baltimore? I'd love to have a place for a mid-week cocktail.

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  1. Probably the closest would be Red Maple on Charles Street


    1. I'm not sure if it's the same type of vibe but the Gin Mill in Canton has some really good cocktails. I had an excellent Sidecar there and also enjoyed a martini made with lavender.

        1. re: hon

          I've been to the B&O and you are right, its promising. Its still new enough that it hasn't developed a following, so I'll reserve final judgment until the atmosphere is determined.

        2. Nothing quite like the ones you mention in DC, but Grand Cru in Belvedere Square has excellent classic coktails (eg Sazerac) and Woodberry Kitchen also has some with modern twists.

          1. Henninger's Tavern makes excellent cocktails: manhattans, martinis, old fashioneds, etc.
            You could also check out Pur Lounge, Pazo, the bar at Charleston or Cinghiale.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodtrooper

              I've been to The Gibson as well. In Baltimore you are not going to find anything close to The Gibson in regards to Drinks + Atmosphere. You can find good drinks at particular restaurants in Baltimore - but not really any true cocktail bars. Closest cities besides DC with that option are Philly, NYC, Boston.

              Woodberry Kitchen, Grand Cru, Salt, Wine Market, Charleston and Chingale mix a fine cocktail. Otherwise, I think that is is pretty hit and miss. One of the things I think Baltimore really needs. I just don't know if it will survive.

            2. The December issue of "Baltimore Magazine" will answer your question in spades. It details every venue to partake of the cocktail hour and then some. FoiGras

              1. Have you tried the 13th floor of the Belvedere hotel? I've never been to Gibson, but the 13th floor has a great view and often live music performances that are fantastic.

                4 Replies
                1. re: maddogg280

                  The Owl Bar for that matter in the Belvedere is great for cocktails. Also, the upstairs bar at The Brewers Art. And theres always The Club Charles up the street.

                  1. re: hon

                    and another, The Explorers Lounge in The Harbor Court Hotel makes great drinks!

                    1. re: hon

                      ALSO, 13.5% Wine Bar in Hampden has a full bar and cocktail list:

                    2. re: hon

                      You beat me to it about the Owl Bar, which also serves better than average food - friends and I used to have dinner there before going to the Baltimore Symphony concerts nearby. Special atmosphere too.

                  2. Can anyone provide an update on the cocktail scene in Baltimore? I'm heading there this weekend and would love to know which places you currently recommend. I've had good drinks at The Idle Hour and Bad Decisions, and I'd love to try someplace new with well-made craft cocktails.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                      WC Harlan
                      The Food Market
                      Ouzo Bay

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        Don't bother with Birroteca or The Food Market for cocktails. Check out their menus online and you'll see why. Nothing interesting and I've actually sent cocktails back at both places for being far too sweet to consume.

                        For cocktail bars:

                        WC Harlan
                        Bad Decisions

                        Restaurants with good cocktails:

                        Hersh's Pizza & Drinks - highly recommend for dining and a fairly short walk from Idle Hour. Bluegrass is also in that neighborhood and while the food is inconsistent, the cocktails are normally good.

                        Woodberry Kitchen - only beverage program in town nominated for a Beard Award. 13.5% Wine Bar is nearby and their cocktails are normally pretty decent.

                        B & O (though would not recommend for dining)

                        Wit & Wisdom

                        Fleet Street Kitchen

                        1. re: stellabay

                          This is great info, thank you!

                          Any tips on how to find W.C. Harlan?? ETA: Is it here? http://www.yelp.com/biz/kitty-kat-bar...

                          I went to Rye once, and it was mobbed. I think a bachelorette party was there taking shots. Not my ideal scene, but maybe worth another shot.

                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                            Yes, it was where the Kitty Kat Bar used to be.
                            I have had perfectly good cocktails at The Food Market and Birroteca, guess it's just a matter of taste.

                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                              Do give Rye another chance when it's less busy. The cocktails are really spectacular, and the vibe was warm and mellow when we went. I'm surprised that a bachelorette party would show up there.

                              Haven't had a cocktail there, but definitely +1 to the food at Hersh's. Outstanding food and service, and no televisions, which is a plus for me.

                              1. re: guenevere51

                                Hersh's is great; I wish we'd gone there this time. I didn't make it back to Rye, but we did go to WC Harlan and had a nice cocktail there---gin, violet liqueur, lemon juice, and an Italian amaro I hadn't heard of, garnished with a smacked sage leaf. It was tasty. Not sure I'm really won over by the "scene" or the over-the-top "speakeasy" soundtrack there, but the drink itself was good.