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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.

 

The Bluebird Cocktail Room

Stylish and inviting, this second-story cocktail bar 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

Located 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

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.

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.

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.

Sugarvale

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.

 

Cocktail at Sugarvale

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

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

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.

Woodberry Kitchen

At this Hampden locale, the food isn’t all that’s farm fresh. The nonalcoholic drink “We Got the Beets” blends hibiscus, chamomile honey and, of course, beets. Add in items from James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde’s sustainable and locally-sourced menu and you’re sure to enjoy an innovative meal made with Baltimore in mind.

 

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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