There’s nothing like traveling to invoke a little stress in all of us, am I right? Whether headed on a short, romantic weekend trip, a rowdy spring break or back home to see family, navigating travel can be a nightmare. What better to calm those frazzled nerves than a crafty cocktail or smooth brew?
Here, we share some top picks for spots to sop up your stress close to two major travel hubs in the area, Penn Station
and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport
. Where do the cars come into play in this “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” theme? Your taxi, Uber or Lyft, from the bar to your departure spot, of course.
Situated between the Station North Arts District and Mt. Vernon, there are plenty of watering holes in the general vicinity. We recommend the aforementioned cab or using a ridesharing app, like Uber or Lyft, from most of these destinations for a truly nominal fee, but some are walkable as well.
This Charles Street mainstay is the place for craft beer. Choose from a brew made by the house, or from an incredibly impressive list from around the world. The wine list is equally expansive. We love the people watching through the enormous windows of the upstairs bar, or snagging a sofa spot by the fire. But we also can’t get enough of the pleasant grittiness of the basement bar with plenty of cozy nooks in which to chat with your travel partner. (1106 N Charles St.; 410-547-6925)
A carafe of what we think is possibly the very best sangria in Baltimore will have you ready to ride to your destination. Plus, their savory small plates are perfect for a quick snack before embarking on your journey. (1711 N Charles St.; 410-332-0110)
Mt. Royal Tavern
An old school cash only spot, this place is known equally for its dive status as it is for its incredible reproduction of the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling. Friendly bartenders pour strong drinks for cheap. What else do you need to know? (1204 W Mount Royal Ave.; 410-669-6686)
Get a little funky before your trip and pop into XS. Their specialty? “Coffee. Sushi. Cocktails.” What? Believe it. This is the spot to stop any time of day before taking the train (they’re open 7 AM to midnight most days; Sunday is a later start while Friday and Saturday have later closings). And the variety doesn’t end there. Pair your crafty cocktails or any other bold beverage with anything from the aforementioned sushi to chicken and waffles, eggs, veggie burgers, paninis or grilled cheese that has so many varieties we’d have to be math majors to figure out how many different types of bread-encased cheesy goodness you could order. (1307 N Charles St.; 410-468-0002)
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport
Within the airport, there are plenty of places where you can sidle up to the bar and tipple before takeoff (we like DuClaw Brewing Company
for local craft beer, Obrycki
for cocktails and local seafood, and Vino Volo Wine Bar
for pre-flight flights of reds and whites). But if there’s a little more time to kill, here are some local bars to grab a beverage or two.
This BWI Hilton Hotel based restaurant may be a little pricey, but if flights align and you’re lucky enough to stop in during the 3–7 PM happy hour, appetizers like crab dip and four varieties of wings are half-price. While it feels like the place to put back a few high end cocktails, there are plenty of better end beers to choose from as well. (1739 W Nursery Rd., Linthicum, MD; 410-694-0808 ext. 5176)
Around five miles from BWI, G&M is known for their crab cakes, but it’s easy to stop in for a drink as well (and maybe get crab cakes to take with you?). Grab a martini or a beer--anything goes here. (804 N Hammonds Ferry Rd., Linthicum Heights, MD; 877-554-3723)
Sure, it’s about eight miles from BWI, but save money using a rideshare app, and gamble away at this Anne Arundel County casino while sampling sips and savory cuisine. Go to the R Bar to bet and imbibe, or stop into any of the dining spots like Chef Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Palace, locally known high end steak spot Prime Rib or tame your travel stress with sweets and sips at the Cheesecake Factory. There are also two Asian restaurants, Luk Fu and Noodles Ramen Bar. Sake it to us, baby. (7002 Arundel Mills Cir #7777, Hanover, MD; 443-842-7000)
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