Baltimore City Paper

Film and TV Tour

There's a scene in the eighth episode of Season 1 of The Wire where Wee-Bey heaps a healthy dollop of horseradish onto a pit beef sandwich and says, "The trick is not to give a fuck, boy. I got this." Guy Fieri would concur; there's an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that finds the bleached-blond bozo at the same table as the Barksdale crew, piling horseradish onto pit beef. The name of the place is Chaps Pit Beef (5801 Pulaski Highway), and—as made plain by the boob tube—it's a Baltimore staple.

Baltimore has starred in countless movies and TV series, ranging from Serial Mom to Step UpThe Wire, voted "All-Time Greatest TV Show" by Entertainment Weekly, was shot entirely in Baltimore, and recently Netflix's big-time series House of Cards chose Baltimore to stand in as D.C. Plus, such famed filmmakers as John Waters and Barry Levinson have called the city home. Here's a short list (trust us, there's more) of some of Baltimore's best-known filming locations:


The Wire:

Ritz Cabaret (504 S. Broadway), aka Orlando's Strip Club, is the base of operations for the Barksdale Organization during the first seasons of the show.

The Sidebar Tavern (218 E. Lexington St.), aka Kavanagh's Irish Pub, is where, in Season 3, the BPD have a final drink for their fallen friend, detective Ray Cole.


Little Johnnie's (1947 S. Clinton St.) is the dockside restaurant where Vondas and The Greek hang out.

For the avid fan, Google the four-hour, 54-mile-long Wire Tour, which takes you past 54 filming locations, from Lexington Street and Fulton Avenue (where the series opens) to The Baltimore Sun building (501 N. Calvert St.), which plays a large, albeit fictitious role in Season 5.

House of Cards:

Joanne's Food Mart (6 E. Preston St.) may be better known to the TV-binging masses as Zoe Barnes' apartment, but in real life, it's the carryout sandwiched between the now-defunct bar Dionysus and Nino's Pizza and Subs.

Park Place (1609 Park Ave.) is where House of Cards starts—at the exterior of Frank and Claire Underwood's apartment, located in Baltimore's architecturally scenic Bolton Hill neighborhood.

The Peabody Conservatory (14 E. Centre St.) served as the stand-in setting for Claire's swanky fundraiser while protestors chanted outside in Episode 5 of Season 1. The interior of Peabody was used as the Hotel Cotesworth, which turned away Frank and Claire.

John Waters:

Waverly Ace Hardware (601 E. Homestead St.) is the site of the Waverly Post Office in Waters' 1972 "exercise in poor taste," Pink Flamingos.

Perry Hall High School (4601 Ebenezer Road) is the set location of 1988 film Hairspray, which has since gone on to become both a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and a 2007 rehash starring John Travolta in drag.

Video Americain (400 W. Cold Spring Lane) is the video store where Chip Sutphin works in the 1994 satireSerial Mom.


For the zealot, consider taking a trek through the woods to 14620 Philpot Road, Phoenix, Md. to behold the alleged site of the "hippie commune" trailer set for Pink Flamingos.

Barry Levinson:

The Hollywood Diner (400 E. Saratoga St.) is the set location of Levinson's aptly named 1982 film Diner.

Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church (10 E. Mount Vernon Place), as well as part of the Washington Monument (699 N. Charles St.), can be spotted behind a running, panting Al Pacino in Levinson's 1979 courtroom drama . . . And Justice for All.

Levinson's childhood home (4211 Springdale Ave.) is the exterior for the Life magazine scam scene in his 1987 comedy Tin Men.

The 19th Century Bookshop (1047 Hollins St.) is Kirk and Kaye's television store in Avalon, the third installment in Levinson's four-part "Baltimore films" series.

> Email Peter Hadjokas and Jenn Ladd