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: Max's
For beer lovers, it's an adult playground. Max's has an encyclopedic selection of beer -- 140 rotating drafts, five hand-pumped ales, and, the kicker, some 1,200 bottled beers in stock. Its sheer size would make it an inevitable top-10 contender. But, Max's doesn't coast on that alone -- its staff is knowledgeable, helping customers through their intimidating menu; it's always scheduling events for beer lovers; its décor is consistently inventive and upbeat. And, its owners are always mixing it up, so that you never know what will be in one of those window displays, a Christmas scene made out of recycled junk or a tribute to the Maryland State Fair.--Erik Maza
Venue address: 737 S. Broadway