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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.

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.

Bookmakers Cocktail Club

This Federal Hill bar and restaurant, located next to Cross Street Market, is lauded for its creative cocktails, inspired by traditional styles and seasonal concoctions. One of Bookmakers’ most intriguing inventions? A culinary-influenced drink that includes ryes washed with duck fat and chocolate milk, and then combined with blackberry burnt honey and tarragon. And don’t miss the updated takes on old favorites—think grapefruit daiquiris, martinis and tropical-tinged mules.

 

Bartender pouring cocktail at Bookmakers in Federal Hill

Cocktails become a work of art at Bookmakers.

Sugarvale

An intimate lower-level bar in historic Mount Vernon, Sugarvale, 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.