Baltimore is a large, working class city, known for its sports teams and for its historic attractions. The Inner Harbor attracts tourists year round, as does the city’s museums and Fort McHenry, most famous as the setting of the Star Spangled Banner. Many of these attractions, however, are best enjoyed during the warmer months of the year when you can comfortably spend the day roaming outdoors.
If you find your time is to eat and drink your way through the town’s excellent array of public houses and taverns. Bring some cab fare or draw straws to choose your designated driver and then set off on a tour of the city’s many welcoming watering holes.
Here are a few good old-fashioned beer bars to get you started:
This English-style pub has a nautical feel and rightfully so, as it is near the waterfront in the historic Fells Point neighborhood. Fell’s Point dates from colonial times and was the original harbor area. During colonial and early Republic days, many of the nation’s trading and fighting ships were built in Fell’s Point. Today, it is known as a hip area that claims to have the most bars and eateries per square mile in the nation. The food selection at The Wharf Rat is passable, but not extraordinary. Go for the beer and stay for the beer. If you get the munchies, the Hawaiian bread and homemade crab dip is your best bet.
Another Fell’s Point haunt, “The Horse” has the (arguable) distinction of being America’s longest continuously operated saloon. Their self-described establishment date, 1775, would certainly seem to lend credence to that claim, if true. Another of The Horse’s claims to fame is that it is reputedly the last stop of Edgar Allen Poe before his death. Today, they serve up beer, whiskey and live music.
This Belgian beer bar, also in Fell’s Point, serves up good brews and a more than decent menu in the midst of its church inspired décor. The beer menu on the wall is housed in one of those thingies that churches used to use to post the hymnals for a service and you’ll that find the mint dish on the wall was meant to hold holy water, instead of candy. If the borderline blasphemy isn’t too much for you, settle in for a palate pleasing time with all the standard Belgian ales and a tasty selection of mussels. They have other good food if you’re in the mood for something else, but it’s hard to go wrong with the combination of mussels and Belgian beer.
Over in the Federal Hill neighborhood, you’ll have to get out of Fell’s Point to enjoy this Baltimore drinkery. Inside the Rope Walk, you’ll be struck by the dark wood and the interior decorating leans heavily towards wooden statuary. This bar is known as somewhat of a gathering place for political types and there is a definite presidential theme throughout the establishment with a distinct Reagan tendency. All of this, of course, is just scenery and, perhaps, conversation starters. Make no mistake; this place is a true-blue beer bar without gimmicks.