Critic Wesley Case regularly reviews bars in the Baltimore area. For more nightlife coverage, visit baltimoresun.com/midnightsun.

The Regal Beagle, which replaced the Canton favorite Jack's Bistro this past spring, succeeds because of its inventive, affordable cocktails and casual setting.
Since opening a permanent location in Hampden in late 2016, Dylan's Oyster Cellar has lived up to the potential first seen as a pop-up concept in Mount Vernon.
In the basement of a Nepalese restaurant in Baltimore, Mount Vernon's Diskobar places an emphasis on music and mood while serving interesting cocktails.
Like a meal at Charleston or a stay at the Four Seasons, the Elk Room feels tailored to the deepest-pocketed Harbor East crowd, or those looking to truly indulge with booze. So sure, it’s worth it — as long as your bank account says so.
The team behind Woodberry's La Cuchara goes more casual in South Baltimore with the seafood-focused bar and restaurant, Minnow.
Once Pazo, the Fells Point bar and restaurant Bar Vasquez celebrates its one-year anniversary in Baltimore this month.
The best way to experience Paulie Gee's in Hampden is arguably through its back bar, where craft cocktails and pizza are delivered quickly and with little fanfare.
Closed in 2012, the LGBTQ-friendly Baltimore Eagle reopened in Station North in January, and it's been an instant hit.
For 11 years, Hightopps Backstage Grille in Timonium has been a Baltimore County hotspot, and a recent trip revealed why.
After taking years to open, Crossbar der Biergarten opened in the Federal Hill neighborhood in Baltimore in March.
After operating Saute in Baltimore's Canton since 2008, owner Dave Carey renovated his restaurant and reopened as Lee's Pint & Shell.
In the bustling atmosphere of the Remington food hall R. House, spotting a couple of empty seats at its center bar can feel like discovering an oasis.
Wits End Saloon, a bar attached to Magooby's Joke House in Timonium, has an impressive collection of whiskey.
Gunther & Co. in Brewers Hill has an impressive bar program, including a cocktail list created by Shaun Stewart.
In June, chef-owner Brian Lavin opened Gnocco, a love letter to his time not long ago studying abroad — and eating and drinking — through Italy and Spain.
Opened in April 2015 by Jake, Ben and Amy Lefenfeld, La Cuchara -- focused on Basque cuisine -- is one of Baltimore's most rewarding dining and drinking experiences.
The space on West Chase Street had been a classic Irish bar named Dougherty’s Pub since it opened in 1994. When I stopped by on one of its last days in
While its first two Baltimore properties are food-focused, Atlas Restaurant Group's third — Loch Bar, located in the Four Seasons Hotel — is their attempt at a full-fledged bar. Opened in April, Loch Bar shows they can do both.
Aside from geography, the shops and restaurants on West 36th Street in Hampden have little in common. On the strip better known as The Avenue, you can get a
Finding the Southern Italian-inspired Cosima feels like discovering well-buried treasure.
Call it little-brother syndrome, but at times, many of us go to great lengths to avoid giving Washington credit -- of any kind. But one area in which D.C. has
Baltimore native Lisa Markiewicz opened West Madison Craft Beer & Wine Bar in Mount Vernon earlier this year.
Recently, I told a friend in Canton my plans to check out the all-day breakfast spot Iron Rooster.
In Baltimore, you can go home again, especially if home is a bar. Chuck Doering proved it last July, when he opened Penny Black in the former John Steven Ltd.
It's still worth appreciating that Woodberry Kitchen still maintains the standards it opened with in 2007 and led to owner Spike Gjerde's James Beard Award.
In January, Boiler Room in Federal Hill entered the increasingly popular, video-games-and-beer fray, and on a recent Friday night visit, it seemed like Baltimores best take on the national trend to date.
Earlier this winter, over an unhurried dinner in a Mid-Town Belvedere hotel, I met a middle-aged couple that had developed a weekly routine of bar-hopping worthy of a bon vivant. Sundays, they said, were not complete without a trip to the Prime Rib.
When partners Rich Pugh and Randy Coffren opened their bar, Snake Hill, in Highlandtown in mid-November, the duo expected to ease into the neighborhood, building a clientele over time through word of mouth.
Ware House 518 celebrated its first anniversary in October with a rebranding of sorts. The restaurant side remained the same, but its back bar area was renamed the Louie Bar, a nod to the Mount Vernon location's former occupier, Louie's Bookstore Cafe.
A rule that always applies, no matter the restaurant: The higher the cost, the higher the expectations.
Alma has made headlines for its Venezuelan cuisine. The bar is equally not to miss.
"Top Chef" alum Bryan Voltaggio opened Aggio, his fine-dining Italian restaurant, in Baltimore in February 2014.
High-level execution takes time, as I was reminded on a recent Friday evening when I walked into newcomer Brew House No. 16 in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood.
The visit had hiccups -- some more glaring than others -- but the laid-back atmosphere ultimately made them feel fleeting and minor.
In March, after more than a year of inactivity, it was the turn of Robert Wiedmaier (famous for Marcel's and Brasserie Beck in Washington, D.C.) to try and turn the Harbor East space into a winner with Mussel Bar and Grille, his first restaurant in Baltimore.
At Game, the huge sports bar that opened in May near Horseshoe Casino and the stadiums, the enthusiasm preceded the sorrow.
Under new management and with a renovated deck, Nick's Fish House is an improved version of an old favorite.
In late June, Phil Han of Dooby's opened Sugarvale, a quaint bar focused on cocktails, wine and charcuterie.
Last November, Canton newcomer Jokers 'n Thieves arrived looking to alter the landscape. It replaced JD's Smokehouse, a serviceable, laid-back beer bar that opened in 2002.
Since opening in 1997, Mother's Federal Hill Grille has earned the type of reputation sports bars envy.
Sitting at the bar of Belvedere Square's Grand Cru on a recent Friday evening, a middle-aged woman described the changes her favorite bar had recently undergone. Service and food had improved, and drinks were cheaper.
Baltimore's Little Italy has plenty of bars inside its restaurants, but Pane e Vino feels like the rare location that could succeed as a stand-alone bar.
With 2300, the new bar within a bar at Canton's Myth and Moonshine, there is a fair amount to unpack.
Since opening in mid-December, Locust Point newcomer 1157 Bar & Kitchen has attracted three types of customers, according to chef-owner Jason Ambrose.
In November, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" highlighted three Baltimore restaurants, including Hamilton's Clementine, even though it does not naturally fit the TV show's title.
Some suggested the modest Fells Point space on Aliceanna Street was cursed, but what it really needed was a sound concept. The proof arrived on the 1700 block in March 2013 as Papi's Taco Joint, which has been consistently packed every time we've visited the bar.
Adam Scher, a 28-year-old native of Owings Mills, purchased a corner bar in Canton in January, and opened it in March as Mad Dog Murphy's.
When Creme Restaurant & Lounge opened in Mount Vernon in 2010, Ezra Tilaye and his mother, Tegist Ayalew, seemingly had a blueprint to follow.
For lifelong residents and out-of-towners alike, Turp's makes a fine setting to do it in Baltimore.
Formerly Nevin's, Bookmakers Cocktail Club will change your mind about Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood.
From afar, Farmstead Grill in Canton Crossing looks like an oversized barn, but one step inside reveals a beautiful setting with a ceiling that never seems to end.
Follow a visit to Baltimore's Charles Theatre (still wonderful after all these years) with a trip to Pen & Quill, which opened in Station North in mid-August.
Bar Liquorice in Riverside offers classic flavors and strong service in the former Dirty Oars Tavern.
Last fall, Timonium -- home to the state fair and a head-spinning number of chain businesses -- welcomed a city favorite, Ryleigh's Oyster to Hunt Valley.
Walking through Fells Point, Lobo co-owner Jamie Hubbard often stared at Pearl's, a bar on the corner of Aliceanna and Wolfe streets in Baltimore.
The Law of "Chicken Fried" was proven true once again on a recent Thursday night at Tin Roof Baltimore.
Live music could be coming soon to the renovated J. Patrick's Pub space in Locust Point.
Enter Barcocina, a modernly chic bar and restaurant with a Mexican-inspired menu that opened in May in Fells Point.
Everyone has a remedy to beat the summer heat, from a trip to the pool to a snowball from a shack. At Midnight Sun, we prefer the tried, true and futile practice of complaining about unrelenting humidity over cold drinks at a comfortable bar. It accomplishes little besides a buzz, and that's just fine.
Hersh's, a Riverside bar and restaurant, allows ingredients in its cocktails to shine.
While sitting at the L-shaped bar inside Remington's Parts & Labor on a recent Wednesday evening, it was easy to get distracted.
The White Oak Tavern, which opened in January, takes beer seriously, and the proof is in its frequently changing tap list of 30 craft selections.
The cost to transform an underused bar into a buzzing hotspot is not cheap. But as the saying goes, when you pay for quality, you only cry once. Just ask Boathouse Canton co-owner Gene Singleton.
Since opening last fall in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood, Dooby's has emerged as my favorite new coffee shop simply because of its versatility.
In the backyard of Blue Pit BBQ, a new whiskey bar across the street from Artifact Coffee in Hampden, six wooden, beer-garden style tables sit under an intersection of stringed lights.
As in any major city, Baltimore and its bars benefit from a hot ticket.
In October, renovations began to turn the old Geckos into Fleet Street Tavern. It was not a complete gutting, owner Rob Coyle said, but it needed the upkeep.
In mid-March, Dylan's Oyster Cellar, a charming raw bar by Baltimorean Dylan Salmon, moved into the Hatch, and has made the most of the quaint, short-term space since.
Marriott Waterfront's new bar/restaurant Apropoe's has nice beer selection but physical layout is confusing
Canton corner bar Silks is a far cry from what it was years ago.
Welcoming spirit makes lack of beer taps easier to accept at Shotti's Point in the Riverside neighborhood of Baltimore.
Torrent Nightclub, the Towson spot that replaced Recher Theatre, feels a bit off
Toward the end of a blistering set on a recent Friday night, Adam Marans, lead singer of the Baltimore sludgy punk foursome Big Christ, took a rare breather to dedicate the next song, "Boogie Nights," to the deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
At some point after it opened in the fall of 2012, Harbor East's Fleet Street Kitchen realized its necktie was pulled a bit too tight. The stylish farm-to-table restaurant with the four-course tasting menu had earned a flattering reputation for its food, but it was not a place to stop in on a whim for a drink.
"Sit at the bar. It's more fun," greeted our bartender, slightly smirking on a recent Tuesday night in Upper Fells Point. We had just walked into Cockey's, the new neighborhood corner bar that moved from Hollins Market and opened in the former Shed Row space in January.
After years of planning, De Kleine Duivel, the Hampden bar specializing in Beligan beer, opened in December.
The palpable uneasiness has only added to an already cold winter in Baltimore, so it came as a relief last week when we found a warming antidote to our glum in Candi Marie's, a Canton corner bar.
On a recent Saturday night, a friend and I sat idly at the main upstairs bar at Anastasia, the Italian restaurant by Kali's Restaurant Group that replaced Meli in Fells Point last month.
Since its founding in 2011, the local Bagby Restaurant Group has quickly become a name patrons can trust, both in the dining room and at the bar.
Nickel Taphouse in Mount Washington offers lots of beer on tap and a congenial setting.
For staples in the Baltimore nightlife scene, there is a thin line between comfortable and stagnant.
It is still an exciting time for Baltimore's continually progressive nightlife scene. Successful openings debut as fully realized visions from Day 1, leading to exciting additions to an already healthy environment.
Belvedere Square's newest restaurant, Shoo-Fly Diner, has a drink menu that offers a good reason to return.
Close your eyes and imagine the Federal Hill bar scene late on a Saturday night. If hazy images of loud, crowded bars filled with pushy, drunken patrons fill your head, then you have likely experienced the madness first-hand.
At Thames Street Oyster House in Fells Point, the real draw is the food.
Add-on to Corner BYOB is a comfortable place for a drink and good food, too.
For the past few years, Atomic Books owner Benn Ray envisioned one day transforming the back area of his Hampden bookstore from a record store into a cafe. And instead of serving coffee, the bar would sell beer and wine.
A couple of Friday nights ago, it was hard to find a place to comfortably stand in World of Beer, McHenry Row's newest bar.
Early last month, Canton lost a charming bar called Adam's Eve Gastropub. It was not transcendent or life-altering, nor did it aim to be.
Sophisticated but informal, the Southern barbecue spot Oliver Speck's has craft cocktails, bourbon
There's a Greene Turtle less than five miles away from Playoff Sports Bar and Grill, which opened in Reisterstown early in the year. A Buffalo Wild Wings sits even closer, a quarter-mile down the street.
Sometimes, it takes only a single element to elevate a new bar from "perfectly fine but forgettable" to something exciting and memorable. Tavern on the Hill excels in Mount Vernon with strong service, whiskey program.
With new lounge, the arts-centric neighborhood adds another vital piece
With attention to detail and plenty of Baltimore tie-ins, Beatnik in Station North leaves a lasting impression
Baltimore's Paparazzi Nightclub replaced the concert venue Sonar in February
At HomeSlyce Pizza Bar, the food, and not the bar, is the main draw as of now.
Owner, patrons make lacrosse-themed Coach's Rendezvous in Charles Village feel comfortable.
Megaclub next to Baltimore Travel Plaza draws the under-21 set with dancing
Langermann's on Light, the second location for the Baltimore restaurant and bar, opened without fanfare in September 2012.
Inspired by the secretiveness of speakeasies, W.C. Harlan in Remington is a striking success.
Gin Mill's replacement, Moonshine Tavern, drawing crowds, but needs more than a signature drink to keep them.
At Ale House Columbia, 50-odd drafts, many from Oliver Breweries, and 30-odd TVs make up for too-loud Top 40.
At chain brewpub Gordon Biersch, passable beers, little personality but good service.
Mount Washington Tavern looks great, but rude service ruined an otherwise enjoyable experience.
The restaurant section is one of the hottest in town. The bar, not so much.
Hampden's Birroteca offers an extensive drink menu with craft cocktails and local beers in a comfortable, buzzing environment.
Renovations don't bring back heyday of Fells Point corner bar the Admiral's Cup.
Adam's Eve Gastropub in Canton is instantly comfortable.
At Bradley's of Fells Point, decent beer selection can't save bland decor.
Skyline view, decor impress, but can they draw — and keep — a crowd?
Sexy new sports bar has impressive beer list, tempting cocktails
New corner bar has thoughtful cocktail list and sleek, vintage decor
New Museum Lounge in Mount Vernon can't live up to its stylish decor.
Prime Canton spot feels generic and sleepy, compared to neighboring bars
Willow, a Latin-infused lounge and bar in Fells Point, is a winner.
Newly opened lounge has friendly staff, stiff drinks and glowing atmosphere
Wiley Gunter's, formerly Sly Fox Pub, has a much more interesting upstairs, thanks to darts, beer pong and foosball.
Well-balanced, hand-crafted cocktails shine at new downtown bar
The recent interior renovations look great, and the drink list could also use a re-do
Of Love and Regret in Brewer's Hill Baltimore is a beer lover's paradise thanks to its extensive, excellent beer list.
It's not flashy, but Cardinal Tavern in Canton has an extensive liquor selection
Less than 18 months after a fire burned it down, CVP is back with an upstairs bar, updated menu and greater ambitions.