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: Ottobar( Colby Ware, Baltimore Sun / October 20, 2011 )
The punk singer-songwriter Ted Leo plays some 200 venues every year, but The Ottobar remains one of his favorite places to play in the country. It's not hard to see why -- or why every up-and-coming band, from the Cults to Surfer Blood, plays here. The Ottobar consists of two perfectly realized bars in one. There's the bottom floor, with the snug stage and the spacious dance floor, and the upstairs floor, with its constantly busy pool tables, free dance parties -- at least once a week by the great DJ James Nasty -- and its cheap beer, especially on two-for-Tuesday.--Erik Maza
Venue address: 2549 N. Howard St.