Looney's, Claddagh Pub, JD's Smokehouse — basically anything on Canton Square will be mobbed on game day. But for a quieter bar with superior beer selection, go to Baltimore Taphouse.
Located near Patterson Park, this corner bar has seven plasma TV screens with the HD and NFL tickets. At least one of them will be turned to another team that's not the Ravens, so out-of-towners and recent arrivals can keep up with their respective teams.
The bar also has 16 rotating draft lines with nothing but craft fare. The atmosphere is warm, and the service excellent — especially when owner John Bates is around. If the game is boring, pick up a copy of Michael Jackson's indispensable "Great Beer Guide," always sitting by the cash register. As a great local beer destination, it might also be the place to start getting ready for Baltimore Beer Week.
Drinks: As its name suggests, the bar has its best beers on draft: Ace Pear Cider, Brewer's Art Resurrection, Dale's Pale Ale, Stone IPA, Troeg's Sunshine Pils and White Marsh Brewing Company's Blueberry Ale. It also has 25 brands by the bottle, including White Marsh Brewing, and DuClaw, Heavy Seas, and Flying Dog — all Maryland brewers. Prices are reasonable. Draft beers are a dollar off during happy hour, from noon to 8 p.m. every day, so that a Stone IPA can be $3.75. On game day, purple shots are $2 and purple bombs are $5. Bottled beers are $.75 off.
Food: Except for the pretzels by the bar, Taphouse does have a proper bar menu. But, on game day, the bar has hot dogs, chili and chips for free.
Decor: Taphouse got a renovation last year that straightened out the bar's former L-shape. The bar's decor is low-key — mainly beer ads and a giant chalkboard that lists all the draft beers. There are about 15 stools by the front and a couple of high-top tables at the back, in addition to a pool table.
Distance from stadium: Slightly closer to M&T Bank Stadium than any of the bars on Canton Square, but not by much: about 12 minutes by car. Still, Taphouse's main advantage is its draft selection.
Parking: Because of its location near Patterson Park, parking is more available than other places in Canton.