100 best Baltimore-area bars 2011: Critic's picks
When it comes to bars, Baltimore has long had a dizzying abundance of options. Our list last year of the city's best 50 barely scratched the surface. So, this year, we've expanded the list to 100.
Like last year, there's a critic's top 10, but the bars are split into 10 categories, including best clubs to go dancing and best bar to meet eccentrics. Ten of the bars have also been picked by you.
To choose the winners, we looked at bars that held events regularly, that attract crowds, whose prices are fair, and that provide consistent service. If we picked a bar for one category, it meant it couldn't be picked for another -- except for the readers' and critic's picks.
On this year's list, there are old favorites, lots of new names and bars in the areas surrounding Baltimore. Inevitably, there will be rumbling about who was left out. Sure, rankings are controversial, but they're a starting point to Baltimore's sprawling nightlife scene.
Also see: Going out guide: 100 best bars
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Critic's picks: The Paradox( Colby Ware, Baltimore Sun / August 12, 2005 )
At 3 a.m. on a recent October morning, the Paradox was just getting its first wind. The dance floors of this sprawling warehouse were finally filling up. That the music was beyond, is a given. The Paradox's reputation on that front is by now legendary. But it's the Paradox's crowd that makes it truly stand out. An old man danced while clutching his button-down. Not far away, a beautiful, curly-haired Latina gyrated with her hula-hoop to the pulsating beat. Behind the DJ's booth, Ultra Nate, the Baltimore singer and house diva, presided over it all. The Dox is in this top 10 because it's the club in Baltimore where everyone, from the septuagenarian to the spry beauty just shy of 21, go to dance as freely as they wish. There is no dress code, or age restriction. It is refreshingly all-welcoming. More than anything, it's life affirming.--Erik Maza
Venue address: 1310 Russell St.