Back in September, with the help of suggestions from readers, Midnight Sun blogger Erik Maza came up with a list of the five best area bars for watching a Ravens game. If you're looking for a place to catch Sunday's Ravens- Steelers game, consider these offerings:
Mother's Federal Hill Grille
1113 S. Charles St., 410-244-8686, mothersgrille.com
Mother's is a cathedral to Baltimore sports. On Sundays, the faithful start trickling into 1113 S. Charles St. at 8 a.m., when the bar and restaurant opens for breakfast. After 12 years in business, it has so much credibility among fans that Joe Flacco recorded a TV spot for it wearing a Mother's jersey instead of his Ravens purples.
For home games, the drill is to stop by the bar before heading to M&T Bank Stadium, and return after the game to celebrate or whine, depending on the final score. The bar gets so crowded that owners had to close off the parking lot for what they call "Purple Patio," where they add two extra bars, a grill and a DJ booth.
In total, there are six bars open on home games offering 12 taps and 16-ouncers for as little as $4, plus a dining room and an upstairs lounge with some 30 large-screen TVs scattered throughout. There's grub, too, but game-watchers don't do much eating here. Patrons just say the bar has become part of the Sunday routine.
"I come here for the fan base. Everybody just knows the players, the coaches, the plays," says Reese Ashe, a personal trainer who's been a regular for six years. "If you're a fan, this is the first place you think of."
520 Washington Blvd., 410-752-1784, picklespub.com
The first person fans see when they enter Pickles Pubs is a pirate. Well, a pirate look-alike. Standing there is Mick Kipp, a guy not much taller than Smee from "Peter Pan" who sports a colorful do-rag and a chili pepper earring.
He's been a bartender and server here since Pickles opened on St. Patrick's Day in 1988. The bar is not unlike Mick: battered, but with character. The crowd is a mix of students from nearby University of Maryland Baltimore and conventioneers from downtown hotels.
"We get everybody, from strippers to bookies to businessmen," he said with the raspy voice of a bartender who's been screaming over loud ESPN and wet counters for 20 years.
On away games, you might find as many empty stools as customers. But owner Tom Leonard says that's because half his staff is following the team. Though parking is as hard to find here as it is in Federal Hill, beer is cheap -- Natty Bohs go for $2. And if that's not enough, there's Kipp's Raven dog: a quarter-pound fatty topped with peanut butter, cream cheese and grape jelly. Foul or amazing? Depends on how much booze you've had.
Baltimore Gameday Warehouse
1400 B Warner St.
A drunken wobble away from the M&T Bank stadium, CBS Radio runs Baltimore Gameday Warehouse. It's open only for home games (the operators have applied for one-day liquor licenses instead of permanent ones), and it doesn't have a phone number or website.
But the real draw (other than its location) is space. At a whopping 2,500 square feet -- and with Miller and Coors lights going for two bucks -- it's a Valhalla for Ravens fans. It has purple booths, four oak-paneled bars and plenty of real estate to cheer and carouse.