Throughout Baltimore, you will find top restaurants and unique boutiques run by members of Baltimore’s LGBTQ community. Stopping in their businesses to dine, drink and shop is a great way to show your pride and support while also experiencing the city like a local. Whether you’re looking for incredible seafood or special souvenirs, these seven LGBTQ-owned spots have you covered:
Though not an owner, Corporate Executive Chef Brigitte Bledsoe helped open the first Miss Shirley’s Cafe location in the north Baltimore neighborhood of Roland Park in 2005. The Baltimore native’s Southern-inspired brunch menu is legendary. We’re talking Cajun-spiced shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes and Old Bay-packed po’ boys. Even better, there is another Miss Shirley’s location in the Inner Harbor, so you can indulge no matter where your adventures take you.
Located inside the American Visionary Art Museum in the Federal Hill neighborhood, just steps from the Inner Harbor, this offbeat shop is the place to buy one-of-a-kind gifts. Bursting with fun and color, SIDESHOW sells everything from original art and fashion accessories to snarky kitchen towels. The store’s tagline, “Come shopping, leave smiling,” says it all.
This casual eatery serves up delicious bites (hello, sticky peach buns!), but owners Cole and Aisha Pew consider it to be more of a community gathering spot than a restaurant. So even if you come for the coffee, linger and get to know regulars from the surrounding Reservoir Hill neighborhood.
If you love shoes and chocolate as much as Susannah Siger – and who doesn’t? – make a stop at her boutique in Hampden, which specializes in both. While searching for the boots, sneakers or heels of your dreams, you can treat yourself to artisanal sweets from around the globe. And right next door is The Sock Shop selling whimsical prints in all sizes and colors.
Spice up your trip to Hampden at this multi-gender operated, education-focused adult boutique. The shop sells a wide selection of sex toys and aims to empower everyone to express their sexuality with shameless joy and passion. If you want a confidence boost – and some pointers – be sure to sign up for one of Sugar’s sexuality classes.
This renowned restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art has been serving fine, Chesapeake-inspired cuisine for 20 years, thanks to owner, chef, and farm-to-table pioneer John Shields. After you check out the new retrospective of filmmaker John Waters’ work at the art museum (on display beginning October 7), go to Gertrude’s to try some of the best seafood in the region. The main dining room provides a stunning view of the museum’s sculpture garden, featuring work by Auguste Rodin and Alexander Calder.
Vanna Belton’s bistro in the heart of historic Mount Vernon is made for mixing and mingling. The restaurant serves shareable sliders, small plates and specialty cocktails aplenty – and it even has a late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.