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Where to Get a Good Cocktail in Baltimore

In the mood for an expertly crafted drink? Head to these top cocktail bars, from the literary-themed Bluebird Cocktail Room to speakeasy-style W.C. Harlan.

Baltimore, once known as wet city due to the city’s aversion to Prohibition restrictions, has no shortage of watering holes. But if you’re looking for the best bars in Baltimore for a cocktail, you’ve come to the right place. Find out where to get handcrafted and innovative drinks to enjoy Baltimore’s nightlife.

 

Alma Cocina Latina

Drinks on table

Every detail at Alma Cocina Latina is designed to transport you to Venezuela. Known for their aprepas (cornmeal cakes stuffed with meat and other accoutrement), Alma’s menu is full of South American flavor. The beverage program focuses primarily on the spirits and wines from South America and Spain, including more than 60 rums. Cocktails are created by Maja Griffin with a focus on ingredients from the Venezuelan rainforest.

The Bluebird Cocktail Room

Bluebird bar

Stylish and inviting, this second-story cocktail bar in Hampden pairs a sophisticated setting with a literary theme. The name comes from a Charles Bukowski poem and drink offerings change seasonally and take thematic inspiration from literature. A recent menu at the Bluebird Cocktail Room, loosely based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, included a cocktail dubbed Little Snow White and described as “a dry gin cocktail with a bitter heart,” served with an ice sphere. No detail is spared—ice cubes are custom carved from a 300-pound block—and the concoctions are artfully balanced. As a bonus, head to the building’s basement level to check out the Pub, featuring the same level of craft cocktails alongside a global whiskey menu.

The Bygone

Cocktails on table

Located in Harbor East atop the Four Seasons Hotel on the 29th floor, The Bygone pays homage to the roaring ’20s with indulgent foods and cocktails accompanied by unrivaled panoramic views of the Inner Harbor. The bar area includes an outdoor terrace and its own menu, plus enjoy live DJs on the weekends.

The Elk Room

Three customers sit at the bar while the bartender makes drinks at The Elk room interior in Baltimore.

Customers sit at the bar while the bartender makes drinks at The Elk room interior in Baltimore.

Ranked as one of Esquire’s best bars in the country in 2018, this Harbor East speakeasy offers up stellar cocktails in a chic, intimate space inspired by speakeasies. At the Elk Room, the guest list is capped at 50 and photography is prohibited to play up the secretive vibe. The drink menu is lined with concoctions that range from standard to original compositions. One such concoction? A drink titled after jazz great Thelonious Monk’s “Misterioso” and made with Amaro Montenegro, limoncello, locally made cold brew, cardamom, pistachio syrup, rose water, egg and cream.

NiHao

Cocktail in panda glass

NiHao can’t be pigeonholed into one category. The contemporary Chinese restaurant in Canton serves new takes on traditional Chinese flavors with dishes like Peking duck, blue-crab steamed buns and Chinese meatballs. But the cocktail menu is where the fun really starts. Drinks are served in ceramic pandas and tigers, which pairs nicely with the restaurant’s homey decor, and incorporate ingredients like Chinese teas, matcha, ginger, coconut water and more.

No Way Rosé

Chef Ashish Alfred, known for Fell’s Point French restaurant Duck Duck Goose, has brought a fresh concept to Federal Hill. No Way Rosé serves a menu of French-inspired cuisine, fresh seafood selections from a raw bar, adventurous cocktails, and of course, lots of rosé (and frosé) in a gorgeous dining room with plush pink booths and flower-covered walls.

Cocktails on table with pink flowers

Papi Cuisine

Cocktail in a pineappleThis Afro-Latin fusion restaurant is seafood-focused with cocktails straight from your last Caribbean vacation, complete with a rum punch served in a whole pineapple. Papi’s famous crab eggrolls will also pair nicely with a Passion Fruit Pleaser, which includes pineapple juice and passion fruit puree.

R. Bar

At the center of Remington‘s R. House is r. bar, complete with a rotating list of draft beers, wines and hand crafted cocktails. They also have several mocktails on hand, such as the Billie Holiday-inspired “Lady Sings the Booze,” a medley of ginger beer, spiced pear syrup, lemon and black walnut bitters. The cocktail list is often themed based on events going on that week, or the bartender’s mood. Whatever the reason, you won’t want to miss out. Enjoy your drink at the bar or walk around the food hall and sample the many different types of cuisine.

Cocktails being made at rhouse market in Baltimore.

Cocktails being made at R. House. Photograph by Devin Allen.

Rye

This Fell’s Point craft cocktail bar finds inspiration in the historic setting of its neighborhood, creating inventive drinks that are sure to please. A sampling of the selection? Try Rye’s house Pimm’s Cup on draft, which features homemade Pimm’s liqueur mixed with strawberry-rosemary soda and Thai basil. Or go for the Brazilian rum blended with noyaux liquor, a campariesque aperitif, lime, coconut and cinnamon.

Sally O’s

Women standing at bar“Top Chef” alum Jesse Sandlin has breathed new life into the Highlandtown neighborhood’s late-night dining scene with Sally O’s, featuring elevated bar eats and a fun cocktail menu set in a colorful space. Try Sally’s Old Fashioned with marshmallow syrup or the Star Tropics with a secret blend of tropical flavors.

Sugarvale

Cocktail at Sugarvale

The cocktails at Sugarvale in Mount Vernon are made with inventive ingredients like butternut square and housemade fig jam.

An intimate lower-level bar in historic Mount VernonSugarvale, is a neighborhood favorite for a reason. The space is clean-lined and petite, with seating for 35 and walls lined with crisp white subway tiles—and the cocktail menu feels equally modern. Divided into drinks either shaken or stirred, the selection includes intriguing combinations, such as sherry with Mexican bitters, house made fig jam, rosemary honey and egg white, or the Danish aquavit combined with amaro, thyme liquor, ginger, lemon and sesame oil.

The Wine Collective

Women laughing with wine barrelsThough the Wine Collective is first and foremost an urban winery (the wines are made on site), they also make their own vermouth with grapes carefully grown in Maryland and with minimal intervention and minimal added sulfites. The vermouths are showcased with a few different cocktails alongside a menu of pixtos, tapas and charcuterie boards. Located in Union Collective in Hampden, also home to Baltimore Spirits Company and Union Craft Brewing, the Wine Collective is the perfect place to kick off your night.

W.C. Harlan

Tucked into a humble Remington rowhouse, this speakeasy-inspired spot pairs a cozy, candlelit setting—complete with period antiques and an authentic 1920s vibe—with expertly crafted cocktails. Expect new riffs on classic drinks at W.C. Harlan, like old fashioneds and pisco sours, reworked with complex, distinctive flavor profiles and stylishly served in vintage glassware.

Bartender pouring a cocktail at WC Harlan

You can’t go wrong with an Old Fashioned at W.C. Harlan.

Don't forget the mocktails

Whether you're looking to drink less, or you've always abstained from alcohol, Baltimore's zero-proof scene has got you covered.

Clavel

Come for the food, stay for the drinks. Clavel’s delicious tacos and ceviche may steal the show, but its non-alcoholic cocktails rival it. Enjoy flavors like pineapple, watermelon and orange, plus garnishes like nixtamalized corn honey and guajillo-rose salt.

Revival’s Topside

Mocktails

Alcohol-free beverages at Revival’s Topside. Photograph by DJ Impulse.

Located down the street from Baltimore’s historic Washington Monument and the Walters Art Museum, Hotel Revival’s rooftop restaurant Topside offers a full zero-proof menu “made with love but not the buzz” courtesy of Bar Manager Anna Welker. Featured drinks are made with gin and tequila alternatives, as well as fresh ingredients like pineapple shrub and Aztec chocolate bitters.

Wicked Sisters

True to name, Wicked Sisters provides “wickedly good” American fare with a twist. The menu features elevated salads, warm bowls and sandwiches with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. As for drinks, Wicked Sisters provides several spirit-free selections such as the cucumber mule and blueberry mojito, but their Hampden punch—made from apple, cranberry, ginger and lime—steals the show.

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