Ask 100 Baltimoreans their favorite bar and you'll likely receive just as many answers. That's because it's a diverse, forever-evolving community, susceptible to rising trends, but firmly committed to its long-standing haunts and dives.
Music/nightlife critic Wesley Case tackled the city's scene head-on to create a list of Baltimore's 100 best bars, which we've organized into the sortable list below. You can click on a category to sort the list; click again to invert the sorting order. To get more information about an individual bar, click on its name.
- Interactive map of Baltimore's best bars and restaurants
- Baltimore's 100 best bars [Pictures]
- Readers' favorite bars [Pictures]
- Baltimore's 100 best restaurants [Pictures]
|1||Cat's Eye Pub||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
|2||Brewer's Art||Mt. Vernon||Pubs and Taverns|
1106 N. Charles St., 410-547-6925
Consider this a reminder that Brewer's Art is still one of Baltimore's most beloved bars, and for good reason: Upstairs remains civilized and classy, while a quick walk downstairs transports you to a dark dungeon pouring delicious Belgian ales. Read our recent dining review.
|3||Max's Taphouse||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
|4||Nacho Mama's||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
2907 O'Donnell St., 410-675-0898
Nacho Mama's has long been a favorite of Canton residents, politicians and everyone in between, thanks to its loveably tacky decor and laidback atmosphere. It's normally cramped, but the wait is worth it, especially when a hubcap full of the house margarita finally arrives. Read more.
|5||Rye||Fells Point||Cocktail Bars|
807 S. Broadway, 443-438-3296
Rye's informed bartenders are always concocting something new, which keeps the menu, and thus the experience, fresh. It's a modest space most concerned with presenting stellar drinks, and that attitude makes it one of the best bars, period. Read our 2011 review.
|6||Little Havana||Federal Hill||Outdoor Bars|
|7||Ottobar||Charles Village||Music Venues|
|8||Club Charles||Station North||Dive Bars|
1724 N. Charles St., 410-727-8815
A hipster haunt, Club Chuck feels plucked from an older era, with its unremarkable exterior, low lights and those red booths. But Club Charles' familiarity makes it wonderfully reliable, since you know what you're getting: a buzzing crowd and cheap drinks in a warm setting. Read more in a 2006 article.
|9||Of Love and Regret||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
|10||Walt's Inn||Canton||Dive Bars|
3201 O'Donnell St., 410-327-1495
The best karaoke bar in the city is a complete dive, in the most endearing way possible: Bartenders remember your name, dangerously strong Jell-O shots are a dollar apiece and no one will make you feel bad for your slurred rendition of "We Didn't Start the Fire." Read more.
|11||Crazy Lil's||Federal Hill||Dive Bars|
|12||Mahaffey's||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
|13||JD's Smokehouse||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
|14||Pickles Pub||Downtown||Sports Bars|
520 Washington Boulevard, 410-752-1784
Maybe we're still high on Orioles Magic, but there's an undeniable charm to this bar across the street from Camden Yards. The atmosphere at Pickles stays loose, making it too easy to look up at a TV and realize the game started an hour ago. Read more.
|15||Moby's||Fells Point||Dance Clubs|
721 S. Broadway, 410-732-7940
This tiny hip-hop bar isn't for everyone because, well, things get weird on the dance floor. But if you're tired of bars blasting the same played-out Top 40 singles or can't stand another second-rate Third Eye Blind cover, Moby's offers an escape. Read more.
|16||RA Sushi||Harbor East||Sushi Bars|
1390 Lancaster St., 410-522-3200
A loud, constantly packed chain restaurant ... this high on the list? Yes, when you have the best happy hour in the city, you can get away with it. Sure, you have to talk louder here, but it's worth it when you get a 22 oz. Kirin and Sake for $7, six days a week from 3-7 p.m. Read more.
|17||Golden West Cafe||Hampden||Music Venues|
|18||Slainte Irish Pub||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
1700 Thames St., 410-563-6600
What's not to love about this Irish pub? It opens every day at 7 a.m. for breakfast and $10 bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas, and it gets some pretty talented bands to set the casual mood. They also love soccer, so local fans will never walk alone. Read more in a 2011 article.
|19||The Horse You Came In On||Fells Point||Music Venues|
|20||Owl Bar||Midtown Belvedere||Pubs and Taverns|
1 E. Chase St., 410-347-0888
While the Belvedere's 13th Floor bar offers breathtaking views of the city, the Owl Bar remains the reason to stop by the historic downtown building. We love the pizza and affordable happy hour prices, but this is a place to savor the rich history and atmosphere. Read more.
|21||Idle Hour||Riverside||Pubs and Taverns|
201 E. Fort Ave., 410-468-0357
Don't make it to Riverside often? Here's a reason: Idle Hour's combination of mood lighting, strong-but-affordable cocktails and eccentric regulars makes it a bar that must be experienced first-hand. Sit back, order Chartreuse and enjoy the DJ.
|22||Ryleigh's Oysters||Federal Hill||Pubs and Taverns|
36 E. Cross St., 410-539-2093
Rightfully known for its food, this Federal Hill spot also offers one of the best places to meet new people in a setting that's more comfortable than obnoxious. It's a popular, multi-level bar stands out because it seems slightly more civilized than its Fed Hill peers. Read our 2011 dining review.
|23||Hudson Street Stackhouse||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
|24||Ropewalk Tavern||Federal Hill||Pubs and Taverns|
1209 S. Charles St., 410-727-1298
For those in search of a typical Fed Hill night, this deceptively massive bar offers the best experience. The key is finding the just-right space for you and your friends, which could be on the main dancefloor in the back or a cozier corner upstairs. Read more.
|25||Joe Squared||Station North||Pubs and Taverns|
|26||Bond Street Social||Fells Point||Cocktail Bars|
901 S. Bond St., 443-449-6234
Whether it's your scene or not, Baltimore needed a place like relative newcomer Bond Street Social. It's a place where young professionals dress up and mingle by the fireplace before the booze kicks in, and everyone ends up on the crowded dance floor. Read our 2011 review.
|27||Pub Dog||Federal Hill||Pubs and Taverns|
20 E. Cross St., 410-727-6077
Need a breather from Federal Hill's college-like atmosphere? Pub Dog offers plenty of seating and affordable - but more important, tasty - local brews. Order a pizza for your party, and start double-fisting the cute beers, served two for $4.50, all of the time. Read more.
|28||Windup Space||Station North||Music Venues|
12 W. North Ave., 410-244-8855
The indelible weirdness of Baltimore's burgeoning arts scene converges at this all-purpose performance venue and bar. Where else can you see a Stoop Storytelling performance, a celebration of hip-hop and a burlesque drawing class all in the same place? Read more.
|29||Cardinal Tavern||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
901 S. Clinton St., 410-327-7850
With a low-stakes neighborhood bar, execution is everything. Luckily, the people behind Cardinal Tavern approached its renovation process with this in mind. With an impressive liquor selection, smart draft choices and well-placed TVs, Cardinal Tavern epitomizes the corner bar. Read more in our review.
|30||Townhouse||Harbor East||Sports Bars|
|31||J. Patrick's Irish Pub||Locust Point||Pubs and Taverns|
1371 Andre St., 410-244-8613
We miss owner Joe Patrick Byrne, who passed away in July from cancer, but his Irish pub lives on as a testament to Byrne's love of his heritage. It's the best place in the city to enjoy a tall pint and a spirited jam session of traditional Irish music. Read more.
|32||Paradox||Carroll/Camden Industrial Area||Dance Clubs|
|33||Looney's Pub||Canton||Sports Bars|
|34||Red Maple||Mt. Vernon||Dance Clubs|
930 N. Charles St., 410-547-0149
With Baltimore bars far outnumbering clubs, friends ask all of the time, "Where can we go to dance?" One of the more posh destinations is Red Maple, the Asian tapas restaurant that transforms into a high-energy dance party spot on any given night. Read our 2011 review.
|35||Willow||Fells Point||Cocktail Bars|
|36||Bad Decisions||Fells Point||Dive Bars|
|37||The Point in Fells||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
1738 Thames St., 410-327-7264
There's shuffleboard and a pool table in the back, but the action at this corner spot remains at the front of the house, where the bartenders are usually egging customers on to have some fun. Best of all, it's a place where people tend to oblige. Read our 2010 dining review.
|38||MaGerk's||Federal Hill||Sports Bars|
|39||Laughing Pint||Highlandtown||Pubs and Taverns|
|40||No Idea Tavern||Federal Hill||Pubs and Taverns|
1649 S. Hanover St., 410-685-4332
Cute name aside ("Where'd you go last night?" ... "No Idea" ... snicker), No Idea has one of the best trivia nights in the city on Tuesdays. The games don't end there: Patrons play ping-pong and shuffleboard as they sip $5 20-oz. drafts from a rotating selection. Read more.
|41||Kettle Hill||Downtown||Cocktail Bars|
|42||Kisling's||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
|43||13.5 Percent Wine Bar||Hampden||Wine Bars|
2318 Fleet St., 410-732-1961
It's not easy to make three floors feel intimate, but this unpretentious Tex-Mex restaurant pulls it off. While its kitchen tends to draw customers in, regulars know there isn't a more welcoming seat at a bar. It's the ideal spot for a cold Corona and game of pool (or ping pong). Read our 2010 dining review.
|45||Mother's||Federal Hill||Sports Bars|
1113 S. Charles St., 410-244-8686
The Purple Patio (Mother's answer to Pickles' outdoor area) is something every Ravens fan should experience at least once. Besides the Patio, The dance floor — a zone where public making-out seems permitted — feels permanently filled to capacity on weekends. Read more.
|46||Woody's Rum Bar||Fells Point||Outdoor Bars|
821 S. Broadway, 410-563-6800
Besides having one of the best views of the Harbor, Woody's Rum Bar offers more than 30 types of rum. No matter your knowledge of rum, the bar's stiff signature drink - Tiki's ‘Ti Punch - is a good place to start, as it has the power to end your night or really get it going. Read more.
|47||Charles Village Pub||Charles Village||Pubs and Taverns|
|48||Leinenkugel's Beer Garden||Downtown||Pubs and Taverns|
34 Market Place, 443-208-3316
There was no guarantee a beer garden encased in a glass box in the middle of Power Plant Live would work. Yet this recent addition to the entertainment complex excels thanks to its delicious brews, sleek design and an attractive outdoor area. Read more in our review.
|49||Phaze 10||Mt. Vernon||Music Venues|
|50||Johnny Rad's||Upper Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
2108 Eastern Ave., 443-759-6464
Not enough pizza places have a punk-rock attitude. But at least we have Johnny Rad's, the casual tavern that opened in July 2010 with a nice bottled beer list and reasonably priced thin-crust pies. What we really like is how charming and weird it is. Read our 2010 review.
|51||Paul's||Federal Hill||Dive Bars|
701 E. Fort Ave., 410-783-9542
On any given night, you'll probably find owner Paul Zang, a former Cross Street butcher, smiling behind the bar. It's a low-key hangout that usually draws an older crowd, but it's a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Read more.
|52||Vino Rosina||Little Italy||Wine Bars|
507 S. Exeter St., 410-528-8600
There are plenty of reasons to like this elegant-but-approachable wine bar, from the sleek, industrial design to the impressive wine selection and signature vodka infusions. But Vino also offers a happy hour that won't lead you to a week of Ramen-noodle dinners. Read our dining review.
|53||Grand Central||Midtown Belvedere||Dance Clubs|
|54||Waterfront Hotel||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
|55||Mick O'Sheas||Downtown||Pubs and Taverns|
328 N. Charles St., 410-539-7504
Seen one Irish pub in Baltimore, you've seen them all, right? Mick O'Shea's sets itself apart with its "Drink of the Week," which introduces a limited-time cocktail to the menu. The specials are thoughtful; go for happy hour and you might stay all night. Read more.
|56||Gin Mill||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
2300 Boston St., 410-327-6455
Fans of this quiet bar tend to point out how homey it is, and we can't blame them, given the multiple fireplaces and dim lighting. But this is as good of a bar as any to jumpstart your night, thanks to the diabolically potent "Happy Drinks" cocktail. Read more.
|57||Get Down||Fells Point||Dance Clubs|
|58||Dionysus||Midtown Belvedere||Pubs and Taverns|
|59||Bay Cafe||Canton||Outdoor Bars|
2809 Boston St., 410-522-3377
During the summer, the best place to be in Canton — besides a rooftop deck — is the outdoor patio of Bay Cafe, which feels like a sliver of Ocean City magically appeared in Baltimore. When it gets colder, the always-accommodating Bay Cafe turns into a great indoor restaurant and bar. Read more.
|60||Don't Know Tavern||Federal Hill||Sports Bars|
1453 Light St., 410-539-0321
Not to be confused with No Idea, this sports bar is another dependable haunt that offers a spacious alternative to the too-cramped scene along Cross Street. And how's this for a deal: From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, drink as much Miller Lite as you can for $10. Read our 2011 review.
|61||Metro Gallery||Station North||Music Venues|
|62||Mount Royal Tavern||Midtown Belvedere||Dive Bars|
1204 W. Mount Royal Ave., 410-669-6686
There may not be a more beloved dive in all of Baltimore than MRT. It's wonderfully eccentric, lovably tacky and essential to the Midtown Belvedere area. A tip: Hit the ATM first, as MRT only accepts cash, because, of course it does. Read more.
|63||Midtown BBQ & Brew||Mt. Vernon||Pubs and Taverns|
|64||Eden's Lounge||Midtown Belvedere||Dance Clubs|
|65||Mad River||Federal Hill||Pubs and Taverns|
1110 S. Charles St., 410-727-2333
Yes, it gets so crowded that you can end up sipping your drink in the coat closet, but there's no denying Mad River's appeal. These are college kids (and recent grads) looking to grind on a dance floor and possibly keep the party going after last call. Read more.
|66||Pazo||Harbor East||Cocktail Bars|
|67||Jay's on Read||Mt. Vernon||Cocktail Bars|
|68||Nick's Fish House||Port Covington||Outdoor Bars|
|69||Red Star||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
906 S. Wolfe St., 410-675-0212
Red Star impresses the eye first, with its high ceilings, exposed bricks and dark woods. But it's the inviting atmosphere — usually abuzz with chatter — that makes it special. It's an underrated establishment that might just like it better that way. Read our 2004 dining review.
|70||Frazier's on the Avenue||Hampden||Pubs and Taverns|
919 W. 36th St., 410-662-4914
While Hampden's profile has risen considerably in recent years, it's Frazier's on the Avenue that still feels most like home in the quirky neighborhood. The vibe — bolstered by a working jukebox and worn pool tables — feels old school and quaint. Read more.
|71||Luckie's Tavern||Downtown||Sports Bars|
10 Market Place, 410-223-1105
On weekend nights, Luckie's feels like a typical Power Plant Live bar: A DJ cranks up the Top 40 while Shot Girls walk around with whatever's on special. It's an OK time, but we prefer Luckie's during the day. When it gets warmer, order a slushy. Read more.
|72||Turp's||Midtown Belvedere||Sports Bars|
1317 N. Charles St., 410-347-0349
Still the only sports bar in Midtown-Belvedere, Turp's continues to pack in diverse crowds of college students and long-time locals. There's a lot to like about Turp's but we enjoy the Saturday Late Night Happy Hour, which runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Read our 2009 dining review.
|73||Barfly's||Riverside||Pubs and Taverns|
620 E. Fort Ave., 443-682-7227
At first, its pizzas got all of the attention (and for good reason), but Barfly's has steadily gained traction in Riverside and Federal Hill as a low-key spot for local drafts and a game of darts. Monday is the best day to go, as all drinks cost $3. Read our 2011 review.
|74||Adam's Eve Gastropub||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
3328 Foster Ave., 410-327-6984
While Chef Mark Littleton is a draw for many, it's Adam's Eve's stocked bar - more than 40 types of beers in bottles and cans, dozens of wines and liquor - that will keep you long after dessert. There's even a "specials" list for alcohol, which offers a constantly changing list of discounted beers and drinks. Read more in our review.
|75||Duda's Tavern||Fells Point||Dive Bars|
1600 Thames St., 410-276-9719
One of the more easily overlooked bars in Fells Point, Duda's is a tiny space with a bar, a dining room and little else. But that's the appeal: The closed quarters makes Duda's feels instantly intimate, just the place you'd want a Boh. A must-stop spot on any Fells Point bar crawl. Read more.
|76||Nevin's||Federal Hill||Dive Bars|
31-33 E. Cross St., 410-468-4078
After bar-hopping to all of the Federal Hill hotspots, there's only one stop before home, and that's Nevin's, the dive karaoke joint. It may not have a catalog as extensive as Walt's, but Nevin's makes up for it with character and grit. Read more.
|77||One-Eyed Mike's||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
708 S. Bond St., 410-327-0445
Pirates and Grand Marnier: It's a combination that doesn't guarantee success, yet this Fells Point bar makes it work. Whether you come in for seafood or to join the Grand Marnier club, chances are the wait staff will remember you from that day on. Read our 2011 dining review.
|78||Rams Head Live||Downtown||Music Venues|
20 Market Place, 410-244-1131
Not only does Rams Head Live book the A-list talent we most often want to see, but also it strategically placed the bars in accessible spots for those in the crowd. The sound varies depending on where you're standing, but there are plenty of good sightlines. Read more.
|79||Wine Market||Riverside||Wine Bars|
921 E. Fort Ave., 410-244-6166
The latest this bistro and wine bar stays open is 11 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays), so don't think of it as a nightlife option. Instead, the Wine Market makes a great happy hour location or a place to learn something new about reds and whites. Read more.
|80||Red House Tavern||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
2239 Essex St., 410-522-0015
Reopened in March 2011 after some major renovations and soul-searching, the Red House has shown staying power, despite its seemingly insular location. The food and beer is standard, but Red House endears itself with a commitment to entertaining. Read our 2011 review.
|82||Romans Place||Patterson Park||Pubs and Taverns|
2 S. Decker Ave., 410-342-5226
Good luck finding this neighborhood bar without a keen eye. But discover this hidden gem once, and you'll understand why it's built a small but loyal following over the years. It's a welcoming bar where a stranger can grab a cold beer and a plate of fried chicken, all while chatting up the bartender. Read more.
|83||8 x 10||Federal Hill||Music Venues|
|84||Sidebar Tavern||Downtown||Music Venues|
3360 Chestnut Ave., 410-235-7887
Punk-rock venues are a dying breed in this country, so the Sidebar gets points for supporting the cause. But the club also offers one of the city's few open-mike nights for stand-up comedians on Mondays, which is a welcome alternative to looking up at a television all night. Read more.
|85||Rocket to Venus||Hampden||Pubs and Taverns|
3360 Chestnut Ave., 410-235-7887
With a decadent dessert like the PB&J Delight (a deep fried sandwich served with ice cream and caramel sauce), it'd be easy to skip over Rocket to Venus' drink specials. It'd also be foolish: The weekday happy hour (5-7 p.m.) serves three "toddler" 8 oz. drafts for $3. Read more.
|86||Frederick's on Fleet||Canton||Cocktail Bars|
2112 Fleet St., 443-438-4572
Kislings' new neighbor only opened in late August, but it's already a solid addition to the area. With a clean design, the folks at Frederick's can concentrate on its many gin-based cocktails. Be warned: They are strong, and not in a sneaky way. Read more in our review.
|87||Captain Larry's||Riverside||Pubs and Taverns|
601 E. Fort Ave., 410-727-4799
For more than half a century, this Riverside pirate-themed bar has kept things relatively the same, which is how its customers prefer it. It's dive-y in ways that are charming and not (it's cash only). On Sundays, go with a Bloody Mary - they're $3 all day. Read more.
|88||Yellow Dog Tavern||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
700 S. Potomac St., 410-342-0280
This quaint bar seems hidden in plain view in Canton. That could change once readers realize Yellow Dog hosts two different happy hours Tuesday to Friday. Customers can take $1 off the beer, wine and well drinks from 5-7 p.m. and then again from 10 p.m to close. Read our 2010 dining review.
|89||Bartenders||Canton||Pubs and Taverns|
2218 Boston St., 410-534-2337
With a name like Bartenders, there better be a solid beers and drinks list and a welcoming group behind the bar. Luckily, Bartenders checks out, with its better-than-needed craft beer list and friendly staff. The pizza is some of the best in Canton, too. Read more.
|90||Cowboys and Rednecks Pub||Federal Hill||Sports Bars|
1117 S. Charles St., 410-223-2269
In Federal Hill, familiarity is key, which makes the undeniable success of Cowboys and Rednecks Pub all the more impressive. There was no guarantee the young, mingling crowds would welcome a new bar, but they've embraced this country-meets-sports bar with open arms. Read more.
|91||Ale Mary's||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
|92||Club Hippo||Mt. Vernon||Dance Clubs|
1 W. Eager St., 410-547-0069
Theme nights hit a new level at Club Hippo: Monday are for watching "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars," while Wednesdays are Gay Bingo night. Still, the best monthly event remains the Deep in the Game dance parties. Check out photos from a May 2012 event at Club Hippo.
|93||Dogwatch Tavern||Fells Point||Pubs and Taverns|
709 S. Broadway, 410-276-6030
Somewhere between Dave & Buster's and your buddy's hooked-up man cave, Dogwatch Tavern seemed made with sufferers of A.D.H.D. in mind. Besides Bear Pong (think overgrown beer pong) and other activities, it's also a great place to watch a game. Read more in our review.
|94||Tiki Barge||Downtown||Outdoor Bars|
|95||Elliott's Pour House||Canton||Sports Bars|
3728 Hudson St., 410-276-2200
Renovated this year, this lonely neighborhood bar in Brewers Hill no longer seems interested in being just a corner pub. Now, the plan is to become a craft-beer destination. It has a way to go, but the effort is encouraging. Read more.
|96||Liam Flynn's Ale House||Station North||Pubs and Taverns|
|97||Birds of a Feather||Fells Point||Whiskey Bars|
|98||American Harry's Bar||Canton||Dive Bars|
|99||Bistro Rx||Patterson Park||Wine Bars|
|100||Dougherty's Pub||Mt. Vernon||Pubs and Taverns|