Nightlife

  • Best Bar: 1919

    Best Bar: 1919

    1919 Fleet St., facebook.com/1919Fleet As most of the bars in Canton and Fells Point switch over to yuppie-fied watering holes with kickball teams, 1919, our favorite dive bar on the East side, refuses to change. The patrons are a mix of old-school Baltimoreans and Station North dwellers who venture...

  • Best Bartender: Chelsea Gregoire

    Best Bartender: Chelsea Gregoire

    drinkablegenius.com Chelsea Gregoire is something of a vagabond bartender with a talent for mixology. Her powers behind the bar led her to run for the Vice Presidency of The United States Bartenders Guild, which she lost by one vote. Her chemist-like attention to detail when it comes to cocktails...

  • Best Dive Bar: Griffith’s Tavern

    Best Dive Bar: Griffith’s Tavern

    3631 Hickory Ave. Hampden isn’t what is used to be. Once a strange amalgam of white working-class culture and post-art-school bohemians, the neighborhood is now home to $30-a-plate dining, an organic supermarket, even a charcuterie bar. Still, remnants of Old Hampden can be found holding tight...

  • Best Cocktail: Zandunga at Clavel

    Best Cocktail: Zandunga at Clavel

     225 W. 23rd St., (443) 900-8983, barclavel.com While we love traditional cocktails, it’s pretty exciting to see savory experimentations around town, and the Zandunga at Clavel may be the craziest (and best) of the bunch. Named after a traditional Mexican waltz of the same name, the drink features...

  • Best Shot: Evil at Mum's

    Best Shot: Evil at Mum's

    1132 S. Hanover St., (410) 547-7415, facebook.com/mums.bar Well before Fireball was coursing through the veins of every 20-something around this city (OK, and some of the 30-somethings) there was the similarly spiced shot at Mum’s called Evil. It was, and still is, far superior to the now ubiquitous...

  • Best Beer and a Shot: Boiler Room

    Best Beer and a Shot: Boiler Room

    27 E. Cross St., (443) 253-8002, boilerroombaltimore.com When Boiler Room was opened by the owners of Bookmakers Cocktail Club as their more casual venture, we were impressed to find a bar that harkens back to an ‘80s arcade with old school video games, pinball machines, and mini hoops. But what...

  • Best Venue: The Crown

    Best Venue: The Crown

    1901 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848, thecrownbaltimore.tumblr.com What other city can boast a double-barrelled club complex in a former bus station? Maybe one or two, realistically, but they got nothing on Station North venue The Crown. Some nights are like an art school exploded from a spider...

  • Best New Venue: Joe Squared

    Best New Venue: Joe Squared

    33 W. North Ave., (410) 545-0444, joesquared.com We love the Windup Space, Metro Gallery, and The Crown in Station North, but we always welcome a new venue for music, which is why we were particularly psyched to visit Joe Squared’s new basement space. Where the previous Joe Squared crammed diners...

  • Best New Bar: Flavor

    Best New Bar: Flavor

    15 E. Centre St., (443) 563-2279, flavorbaltimore.com Mount Vernon sees lots of bars open and then close again, and lately it’s the queer bars that have been doing the closing. Finally, a new one opened, and it’s a good one. Flavor is more than just a bar, though. It’s a restaurant with tasty small...

  • Best Queer Party: Queer-ology

    Best Queer Party: Queer-ology

    We’re often torn between wanting to stay in and watch a movie or go out on the town. The monthly dance party Queer-ology, established by TT The Artist with GlitterThighs and Artistland, allows us to do both in one place. Each night starts with a screening of a queer cinema classic—“But I’m A Cheerleader,”...

  • Best Dance Party: Skin Tight With DJ Landis Expandis

    Best Dance Party: Skin Tight With DJ Landis Expandis

    djlandisexpandis.com Every month we eagerly await Skin Tight (formerly Dirty Soul), the dance party hosted by Landis Expandis, of the All Mighty Senators, at The Crown. Expandis is known for his vinyl selection spanning multiple decades and unparalleled collection of boomboxes. He’s not stuck on...

  • Best Dance Series: Baltimore Whiskey Company at De Kleine Duivel

    Best Dance Series: Baltimore Whiskey Company at De Kleine Duivel

    3602 Hickory Ave., facebook.com/DeKleineDuivel What’s better to fuel a dance night than 100-proof, navy-strength gin? That’s what the owners of Baltimore Whiskey Company thought when, earlier this year, they started a monthly dance party the last Saturday of the month at De Kleine Duivel. Featuring...

  • Best Strip Club: The Millstream Inn

    Best Strip Club: The Millstream Inn

    5310 Dogwood Road, (410) 265-8224, millstreamgirls.com This strip club is refreshingly un-douchey, doing away with the outdated, mob-like sleekness of other clubs’ decor and not indulging the dollar store Vegas look of others. Instead, it opts for something more down-to-earth and reasonable, fitting...

  • Best Strip Club Food: Fantasies  Nightclub and Sports Bar

    Best Strip Club Food: Fantasies  Nightclub and Sports Bar

    5520 Pennington Ave., (410) 354-1217, fantasiesnightclub.com Let’s be honest: You don’t go to a strip club for the food, right? But thanks to Fantasies, that’s no longer the case. With a chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America and a menu that goes a little beyond the standard bar food,...

  • Best Happy Hour: Encantada

    Best Happy Hour: Encantada

    800 Key Highway, (410) 752-1000, encantadabaltimore.com This gem on the top floor of the American Visionary Art Museum has always impressed us with their vegetable-focused menu and innovative cocktails, but it’s the happy hour that left us wondering just how it’s possible to serve such quality...

  • Best Road Trip Happy Hour: Dock of the Bay

    Best Road Trip Happy Hour: Dock of the Bay

    9025 Cuckold Point Road, Sparrows Point, (410) 477-8100, dockofthebay.net While sitting in horrible Baltimore traffic on the way to some generic happy hour, we had something of an epiphany: a memory of a place that looks out over the Chesapeake on a pretty secluded “island” that’s a mere 15 minute...

  • Best Bingo Happy Hour: The Sidebar

    Best Bingo Happy Hour: The Sidebar

    218 E. Lexington St., (410) 659-4130, sidebarbaltimore.com After the demise of Hippo and its gay Bingo, our cards consistently read F-U-C-K C-V-S, until we happened into the Sidebar for its pop music Bingo happy hour. The deal is, you get a card and it has a bunch of songs on it from a particular...

  • Best Karaoke: Karaoke Forever at The Crown

    Best Karaoke: Karaoke Forever at The Crown

    facebook.com/karaokeforeverbaltimore It takes a lot of guts to get up on stage in front of a crowd of strangers on a Tuesday night and belt out your best rendition of Hole’s ‘Violet’—but you’re gonna do it. You know all the words; you’ve been singing along to “Live Through This” for practically...

  • Best Trivia Night: Trivia Night Hosted by the Boy With The Blue Beard

    Best Trivia Night: Trivia Night Hosted by the Boy With The Blue Beard

    Pinch, Mount Vernon Market Place, 520 Park Ave., pinchdumplings.com Chyno, the charismatic “Boy With The Blue Beard,” is biting, funny, and one smart trivia master. Now in its second year, his trivia night at the Market is lots of fun, and by the time this goes to print, Chyno will have added multimedia...

  • Best Place to See Drag: The Depot

    Best Place to See Drag: The Depot

    1728 N. Charles St., (443) 324-5190, depotbaltimore.com With more and more queer nightlife spaces closing down, it’s gotten harder to find a good venue for drag in Baltimore. Enter: The Depot’s Drag-A-Mania, a monthly showcase of local queens, lately hosted by Brooklyn Heights, a queen omnipresent...

  • Best Singles Bar: Bond Street Social

    Best Singles Bar: Bond Street Social

    901 S. Bond St., (443) 449-6234, bondstreetsocial.com People think the singles scene is dead, but the patrons of Bond Street Social would beg to differ. On their busier nights, the spacious, dark bar is packed with singles taking a break from their office jobs or the drudgery of working in D.C....

  • Best Country Bar: Pop’s Tavern

    Best Country Bar: Pop’s Tavern

    4343 North Point Blvd., Sparrows Point, (410) 477-0270 Pop’s Tavern is located, as they used to say, just on the edge of town. To hear the best country music, you have to head out of the city, and so it goes with the best country bar. Pulling up to Pop’s with its decades-old glowing neon sign is...

  • Best Irish Bar: The Blarney Stone Pub

    Best Irish Bar: The Blarney Stone Pub

    704 S. Broadway, (410) 342-3947 The Blarney Stone is probably the last legit Irish pub in Fells Point. The bar stocks more than a dozen brands of Irish whiskey and pour Harp and a proper Guinness. Almost in its 20th year, the Stone has been the go-to bar in Fells for St. Paddy’s Day, with a countdown...

  • Best Bourbon Bar: Barfly's

    Best Bourbon Bar: Barfly's

    620 E. Fort Ave., (443) 682-7227, barflysbaltimore.com It seems that every new bar that opens is dubbed a “Bourbon and Whiskey Bar.” But Barfly’s isn’t just following a trend like everyone else: Every inch of the multi-tiered shelves behind the bar is loaded with over 250 bottles of hard-to-find...

  • Best Rowhouse Bar: Roman’s Place

    Best Rowhouse Bar: Roman’s Place

    2 S. Decker Ave., (410) 342-5226 Round the corner onto tiny little South Decker Avenue and you might feel like you’re in the wrong place to grab a drink. The narrow street is heavily residential, but trust us, just a few steps off E. Baltimore Street is a quaint bar and restaurant tucked into one...

  • Best Crush: The Watermelon Crush at Myth and Moonshine

    Best Crush: The Watermelon Crush at Myth and Moonshine

    2300 Boston St., (410) 777-5502, facebook.com/Bmoreshine Orange crushes are definitely a thing in parts of Baltimore, but if we’re being honest, we don’t get the hype. Seems like it’s basically a screwdriver in a tall glass with crushed ice, which is just fine, but not exactly earth-shattering....

  • Best Martini: Tio Pepe

    Best Martini: Tio Pepe

    10 E. Franklin St., (410) 539-4675, tiopepebaltimore.com The bar at Tio Pepe eschews the freakishly oversized martinis that are all the rage, preferring to serve the classic cocktail in a proper glass of perfectly chilled gin and just the right amount of vermouth. The $8.50 price makes the second...

  • Best Patron Saint: Rachel Taft

    Best Patron Saint: Rachel Taft

    Feed the Scene, 3512 Bank St., facebook.com/FeedTheScene It can be rough for any touring band that arrives in a new city. Finding a place to stay and getting some good, cheap grub is essential. In Baltimore, bands both local and national can take solace in the fact that Feed The Scene exists. The...

  • Best Tiki Drinks: Pen & Quill

    Best Tiki Drinks: Pen & Quill

    1701 N. Charles St., (410) 601-3588, penandquill.net Pen & Quill’s tiki drinks have gained something of a cult following over the past year as they’re only offered one night a week. The Station North restaurant and bar hosts a Tiki Tuesday happy hour where it serves up a series of old school cocktails...

  • Best Alternatives to Beer: Taps Fill Station

    Best Alternatives to Beer: Taps Fill Station

    520 Park Ave., (484) 998-8277, tapsfillstation.com Had enough of beer? Gluten intolerant? Taps has you covered. It’s the first bar that we know of that specializes in a rotating and wide selection of local ciders, meads, kombucha, and blends of all three. You can get a glass or a growler of any...

  • Best People Watching: Tapas Teatro

    Best People Watching: Tapas Teatro

    1711 N. Charles St., (410) 332-0110, tapasteatro.com Not only does Tapas have amazing sangria, but it’s also the best spot in the city for people watching. We love to get a table outside, pick five or six tapas selections and a pitcher of red sangria, and sit back and eye up the commuting crowd...

  • Best Reason to Hate Wednesdays (Besides City Paper): Twofer Tuesdays

    Best Reason to Hate Wednesdays (Besides City Paper): Twofer Tuesdays

    The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, theottobar.com Usually, Tuesdays are made for drying out from a long weekend, Netflix and chilling, or getting your work together for the upcoming week. Then you get the text from a friend who’s heading to the Ottobar for Twofer Tuesdays, and it’s...

  • Best Graffiti: The Crown’s Feminine Spectrum Bathroom

    Best Graffiti: The Crown’s Feminine Spectrum Bathroom

    The Crown, 1910 N. Charles St., (410) 625-4848, thecrownbaltimore.tumblr.com Sometimes, you have a bad night in the club and need to spend some time in the bathroom and have a cry. Sometimes you just need to pee—a lot. The artists, poets, and philosophers who have graced the walls of The Crown’s...

  • Best Cry: David Bowie and Prince Tributes

    Best Cry: David Bowie and Prince Tributes

    Baltimore has a hard time getting over lost heroes, even if they technically had almost zero to no ties to the city. This year, we mourned the deaths of cultural icons David Bowie and Prince like they were our own. The tributes never ended; even Artscape—which took place three months after the...

  • Best “Don’t Stop Believin’”: Walt's Inn

    Best “Don’t Stop Believin’”: Walt's Inn

    3201 O'Donnell St., (410) 327-1495, waltsinn.com “Karaoke … 7 Days a week” says the sign on the door of Walt’s Inn. “Best Karaoke Bar” reads another inside. This Canton dive bar has been doing karaoke for as long as we can remember. So when it was tagged with a fine (and the real possibility of...

  • Best Drunk Crowdsource: Idle Hour

    Best Drunk Crowdsource: Idle Hour

    201 E. Fort Ave., (410) 468-0357 Don’t fuck with Baltimore drinkers and their bars. That’s what the owners of Idle Hour discovered after asking customers via an IndieGogo campaign to help save the beloved bar when inspections revealed that major construction would be needed for the building to...

  • Best Resurrection: The Drinkery

    Best Resurrection: The Drinkery

    205 W. Read St., (410) 225-3100 Yeah, go ahead and make your erection jokes. But it was a real boner-kill when the Liquor Board decided not to renew The Drinkery’s license, and it was even worse walking down a deserted stretch of Read Street. Less than two blocks away, folks are lobbying to put...

  • Best Post-trial Motions: The Sidebar

    Best Post-trial Motions: The Sidebar

    218 E. Lexington St., (410) 659-4130, sidebarbaltimore.com If you are ever, like us, in need of reliable Wi-Fi right after the courthouse closes, you can slip into the dark cozy chambers of the Sidebar, just across Lexington Street. Sure, you mainly see it in these pages for its metal and punk...

  • Best Staying Power: Leon’s

    Best Staying Power: Leon’s

    870 Park Ave., (410) 539-4993, leonsbaltimore.tripod.com Mention Leon’s to a Baltimorean and they’ll likely know you’re talking about the oldest gay bar in the city. Leon’s has been around forever, operating as a gay bar since 1957. Back then you could get in only if you knew the password: “Are...

  • Best Burlesque Partners: Betty O’Hellno and Whiskey Joy of TimelessTease Productions

    Best Burlesque Partners: Betty O’Hellno and Whiskey Joy of TimelessTease Productions

    facebook.com/TimelessTeaseProductions Baltimore is a burlesque town. From Blaze Starr to her modern counterpart Ruby Rockafella, the city maintains a healthy and scene that has lasted for over half-a-century. For the past two years, drag queen Betty O’Hellno, who resembles Marilyn Monroe, and her...

  • Best Waiting to Hatch: The Eagle

    Best Waiting to Hatch: The Eagle

    2022 N. Charles St., (717) 825-4141, thebaltimoreeagle.com/home Baltimore’s Eagle was home to the city’s leather community for more than two decades before being shuttered when the city yanked its liquor license. Over two years of work and renovations (and securing the Hippo’s old liquor license)...

  • Best Reason to Go to Lith Hall: YouTube Karaoke

    Best Reason to Go to Lith Hall: YouTube Karaoke

    851 Hollins St.. (410) 685-5787, lithuanianhall.com As if you needed a reason other than inexpensive beers and shots of honey liquor to make your way back to this Hollins Market institution, Baltimore’s members-only Lithuanian Hall hosts a monthly karaoke led by the effervescent MC Dwyer on the...

  • Best Long Goodbye: The Paradox

    Best Long Goodbye: The Paradox

    1310 Russell St., (410) 837-9110, thedox.com Late last year, Wayne Davis, owner of the Paradox, announced via Facebook that the Baltimore’s premier dance club—and one of the best in the world, really—would close in 2016. What followed was a series of last or close-to-last or nearly final shows...

  • Best End of an Era: Beazly at The Brewer’s Art

    Best End of an Era: Beazly at The Brewer’s Art

    1106 N. Charles St., (410) 547-6925, thebrewersart.com If you turned 21 this year, you were just learning to walk when the man who’s now helping/teaching you to stumble out of The Brewer’s Art started working there. Bartender Beazly has been at it for every last one of the 20 years that the Mount...

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