While Baltimore’s heat may have been slowing some of us down this summer, Baltimore’s restaurant scene has maintained its momentum. There are plenty of new spots to cool down with a drink (and give you an excuse to keep your kitchen cool).
The much-anticipated Sinaloan mezcaleria and taqueria from Lane Harlan (owner of the 1920’s speakeasy-style W.C. Harlan) has been a welcome addition this summer to the Remington neighborhood. With a focus on handmade tortillas and fresh food in the kitchen, and a bar program that highlights mezcal (tequila’s smoky sister), the communal-style tables are frequently packed with diners digging into queso fundido and tacos over craft cocktails and brews. (225 W 23rd St.; 301-848-2849)
This 50’s and 60’s themed lounge is shaking up Pigtown with its classy-yet-affordable cocktails and a light fare menu sporting the likes of Maker’s Mark Bourbon Meatballs and gourmet cheeses and charcuterie. (737 Carroll St.; 410-727-1813)
This newly opened spot in the Can Company has quickly become popular for its Venezuelan-inspired cuisine. The menu’s primary focus is on arepas, pockets made of maize flour with fillings that range from black beans and plantains to slow roasted beef in a dark caramel sauce, and even a Baltimore rendition that incorporates crab and Old Bay avocado mayo. Snacks like yucca fries and baked empanadas are ideal accompaniments to cocktails like Tormenta de Jamaica (Blackwell’s Rum, organic hibiscus liqueur, cardamom bitters, ginger beer, fresh lime) and El Batin (Pierde Almas Jovan Mezcal, Black Barrel Single Grain Scotch, orange bitters, smoke). (2400 Boston St.; 667-212-4273)
In the spot that once housed Elliott’s Pour House in Brewer’s Hill, Huck’s quietly opened in mid-July. Owned by Charlie Gjerde (of Alexander’s Tavern and Papi’s Tacos, both in Fell’s Point), the new bar is focused on craft beer and southern bourbons and whiskies. Local breweries like Union Craft, Flying Dog, and Heavy Seas are well-represented on the menu along with others from around the country like Yards, Breckenridge, and Oskar Blues. Initially, food offerings are limited to light fare but the kitchen is expected to be producing a full menu in the coming months that features regional dishes from around the US. (3728 Hudson St.; 443-438-3380)
Also focused on craft brews, with at least 16 on tap (many local), Quarterhouse Tavern recently opened in the corner bar that was previously NcDevin’s in Canton. Word spread quickly about the early-July soft opening. Quarterhouse Tavern is now serving a full menu featuring bar staples like mussels, burgers, and wings, as well as some diverse additions like veggie thai curry, smoked eggplant dip, and a poutine that uses locally brewed Brewer’s Art Resurrection in the preparation of its braised pork. (801 S Decker Ave.; 667-212-5888)
There is a noticeable lack of Thai cuisine on the east side of the city, but Mayuree Thai Tavern is working to fill that void. The affordable menu is sprinkled with standards like pad thai, tom yum, and drunken noodles, as well as rice bowls, noodle bowls, and “original dishes.” Singha, Asahi, and Sapporo are available along with local brews and well-known domestics, and the “Sips” list features some creative cocktails like the Tom Yum (lemongrass, kaffir lime, thai pepper infused Stoli, Domaine de Canton, syrup, fresh lime) and the Peppa-rita (thai bird chili-infused Jose Cuervo, fresh sour mix, Triple Sec, thai salt chili rim). (2318 Fleet St.; 667-212-5509)
Housed in the American Visionary Arts Museum, Encantada proves that food is art as well. Chef Melanie Molinaro is making Baltimore want to eat its veggies with tons of unique vegetable-based dishes (and a few proteins on the menu as well). Even the cocktail program is on the veggie wagon with sips like the Kick in the Kale, a combination of fresh juiced kale, ginger lemonade, and Cold River organic blueberry vodka. (800 Key Hwy; 410-752-1000)
At the intersection of Boston and Montford Streets, this new corner Canton spot is part of a small chain of sushi and ramen joints in Maryland. Specials like live scallop sashimi and Bluepoint oysters (also available in affordable $3.50 Katana-style shots) grace the menu alongside creative and standard rolls alike. We’re also totally on board for the $1-off domestics and $2-off cocktail happy hours. (845 S Montford Ave.; 410-522-7100)
Though the brewery opened in 2012, July marked the opening of this co-op brewery’s taproom. On Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons Peabody Heights gives tours and pours from the 20 taps that include their own labels (Public Works and Old Oriole Park) as well as suds from Monument City, Full Tilt, Ravens Beer, Snow Hill, and Fin City. They don’t serve food, but that means you can bring your own. (401 E 30th St.; 410-467-7837)
Hailing from DC and NoVA, Harbor East’s newest restaurant focuses on Greek shared plates with plenty of staples like hummus, grape leaves, and saganaki as well as funky takes on classics using traditional ingredients like the Crazy Feta (whipped feta and jalapeno dip) and brussel sprouts with greek yogurt and olive bread crumbs. The wine and beer lists are sizeable, and the brunch beverages are bottomless. (1302 Fleet St.; 443-499-9090)
Owners of Dooby’s opened the doors to this classy Mt. Vernon wine bar in July. With over 40 bottles to choose from, there’s no shortage of reds and whites, and the quality of the accompanying charcuterie choices is just as impressive. Check out Decanter Tuesday for a glass of wine and a chef’s tasting plate for $12. (4 W Madison St.; 410-609-3162)
This BYOB mediterranean eatery in Federal Hill is not only appealing because it’s affordable, but because it also offers a number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options on its menu. There are even kabobs, falafel, and shawarma on a special menu for the little ones. Oh, and corkage for that bottle you choose to bring? Free. (1019 S Charles St.; 443-873-7463)
With an extensive wine list, plenty of creative cocktails, and a beer list sporting local favorites alongside Belgian, French, and Spanish brews, the drinks alone are worth a visit to the newest Meadow Mill spot. However, the Basque cuisine, featuring pintxos (bite sized snacks), shareable tapas plates, and upscale entrees are an equal draw to the chic but comfortable space. (3600 Clipper Mill Rd.; 443-708-3838)
Newly opened in late July in the brand new Ivy Hotel, Magdalena is Midtown's newest upscale dining destination. With appetizers at a near $20 price point and entrees at $40, it may not be the go-to for happy hour with the guys after work, but seats in any of the five dining areas, including the wine cellar and the walled courtyard, could certainly be the place to impress a date. (205 E Biddle St.; 410-514-0303)
This Greek addition to Federal Hill features an affordable menu of small plates that encourages sharing. Split into types of mezze (vegetable, cheese, salad, seafood, meat), as well as a section devoted to dips and spreads, the menu features familiar dishes like tzatziki, souvlaki, and lamb chops as well as unexpected items like lobster crostini and braised pork belly. Happy hour features $2 off cocktails and craft beers on tap, and the wine list offers plenty of perfect pairings. (27 E Cross St.; 410-617-0391)
As if that’s not enough to put on your to-do list, here are a few other spots to look for in the coming months:
The Pennsylvania-based gastropub with about 92 taps plans to move into Fell’s Point’s Ann Street Wharf Building early in the fall.
The popular award-winning small carryout in Fell’s Point announced that this fall it will be opening a second location in the building previously occupied by By Degrees Cafe on the cusp of Harbor East and Fell’s Point. The newest location will feature a full bar.
Intended to open in October, Kippo will bring ramen to Fell’s Point’s new Marketplace. The liquor license hearing is in September - our fingers are crossed.
The Local Oyster
Signed up for a stall at Mt. Vernon Marketplace, the Local Oyster will be shucking the obvious, as well as serving other raw bar favorites along with beer and booze.
Abbey Burger Bistro
Sure, this one isn’t entirely new - nearly everyone knows about the popular Federal Hill location. But we’re excited about the news that they are potentially moving to the heart of Fell’s Point this fall in the spot that once housed Willow.
We mentioned this one in our last piece about new and upcoming restaurants
, but they’re still on our list of places to watch. We were excited to see the new sign go up recently, so we’re anxiously awaiting what we expect will be damn fine pizza. Good things come to those who wait, yes?
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