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Mount Royal Tavern named one of America's best bars by Esquire magazine

Patrons gather at Mount Royal Tavern to honor bartender Ralph Retz after he died of cancer in 2006. The bar was just named one of the country's best by Esquire magazine.
Patrons gather at Mount Royal Tavern to honor bartender Ralph Retz after he died of cancer in 2006. The bar was just named one of the country's best by Esquire magazine. (Elizabeth Malby / Baltimore Sun)

Today, Esquire published its "18 Best Bars in America," with the inclusion of a Baltimore haunt. Rather than choose a relatively new spot in the city's rising bar scene, the men's-interest magazine chose a decades-old dive: Mount Royal Tavern.

Calling it a "great dive bar," Esquire points out the replica Sistine Chapel painting on the ceiling as a reason "why you're here." And when it comes to "what you're having," the magazine writes, "A Natty Boh, a shot of Pikesville, and religious thoughts."

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A storied, longtime hangout for nearby college students, Bolton Hill and Reservoir Hill residents, and general fans of frills-free bars, "The Tavern" in Mid-Town Belvedere (1204 W. Mount Royal Ave.) is the only Maryland bar to make the list. It is known more for its quirky personality (a "cuss bucket" benefiting local organizations, for example, was established in 2011) and ambience than its bar program.

Revisit the Baltimore Sun's Best Bars 2015 list here.

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Where does MRT rank on your personal favorites list? Let us know in the comments.

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