Neighborhood Happy Hour Crawl: Harbor East

One of the swankier pockets of Baltimore, Harbor East is home to some of the higher end shops, restaurants and hotels in the city. Let this not deter you from getting your bar crawl on - Harbor East is also home to some of the best cocktails (and surprisingly, in some cases, happy hour deals!) in Baltimore. So, channel your inner Iggy Azalea, (fancy, y’know?) and get your classy self to Harbor East for an afternoon or evening of quality bar hopping.

Roy’s (720 Aliceanna Street; 410-659-0099)
While Roy’s is always a top destination in Harbor East anytime in the evening, there is no better way to say hello to the happiest of hours than to sip and savor from Roy’s Aloha Happy Hour menu which features cocktails, wine, and food options for only $6 between 4:30 and 7. Check out their signature Hawaiian Martini with flavors of pineapple and coconut that channel the island feel you need after a long day, or sip on their newest cocktail concoction, the Pacific Rim Cosmotini. This beautiful beverage is a mixture of Reyka vodka, blood orange liqueur, passion fruit juice, a splash of lime juice and some ginger syrup, all shaken with a little egg white to add a hint of frothy perfection.

Need to line your stomach before your night of upscale debauchery? Appetizers like the ebi roll, which features sticky white rice wrapped around crispy shrimp tempura, cream cheese, sweet mango, creamy avocado and a spicy aioli, or the crispy pork belly shaved buns with a curry emulsion and a zesty slaw will definitely do the trick. Have a craving for some serious bar crawl cuisine? The Wagyu Beef Burger ($9 during happy hour) is topped with truffled mushrooms, sauteed onions and a fried egg and served alongside some of the most perfectly seasoned onion rings. Could there be a more perfect bar crawl burger?

And, while we love the cool ambiance of the bar and the friendly quick service of the bartenders, we have to admit we are more than just a little excited about the upcoming outdoor seating, too. Who doesn’t love some al fresco libations?

Wit and Wisdom (200 International Drive; 410-576-5800)
Housed in the Four Seasons Hotel, Wit and Wisdom is but a hop, skip and a jump (or a slightly drunken short stumble) from Roy’s. Choose to sit in the comfortable sofas around the lounge, directly at the bar, or outside on their waterfront patio that also features casual lounge style seating, flat screen televisions, and one of the best waterfront views in all of Baltimore. Happy hour menus differ between the lounge and patio, but plenty of wine, beer, and cocktails can be found on special during that time. We suggest checking out the signature cocktail of the day (we are sort of in love with the idea of a drink du jour) or check out the Guilded Cocktail. A stirred mix of El Dorado 12 year old rum, orange curacao and barolo chinato, this beauty is served neat with an orange peel and absinthe rinse. Yes, we said absinthe! You’re welcome.

Taco Fiesta (618 S. Exeter Street; 410-234-0123)
Now that you’ve hit a few upscale joints, scale it down a bit with some of the tastiest tacos and tequila on this side of town. It seems that this Harbor East favorite is nearly always running some sort of food or drink special from 2 for 1 “Fiesta ‘Ritas” during Sunday brunch and 2 for 1 Mexican beers, margaritas and tequila shots on Mondays to Free Food Friday which is exactly what it sounds like (after you purchase a couple drinks; you don’t have to twist our arms). With imported Mexican beer by the bottle, a couple of draft beers, a variety of wine by the glass, and plenty of tequila, this is the perfect place to stop in for some mid-bar crawl affordable bites and delicious drinks.

Cinghiale (822 Lancaster Street; 410-547-8282)
You may know Cinghiale as Chef Cindy Wolfe’s very successful upscale Italian restaurant on the waterfront in Harbor East. However, the concept was designed with the idea of a split establishment with one side playing host to an elegant dining experience while the other side, the Enoteca, acts as a more relaxed and casual drinking and dining spot. While you can certainly get the perfectly made classic cocktail or a crafty brew at the bar in the Enoteca, we recommend swilling a little vino at this classy joint that surely has one of the best wine lists (with over 600 labels) in town, with renowned sommelier Tony Foreman at the helm.

Ouzo Bay (1000 Lancaster Street; 443-708-5818)
Rated by Open Table as one of the top 100 hot spots in the nation in 2013, Ouzo Bay remains the place to be in Baltimore. Waterfront in Harbor East, this chic Greek gem serves up some incredible cocktails including Athena’s Delight, a gorgeous concoction of pomegranate juice, lemon juice, egg whites, and 44 North Huckleberry Flavored Vodka that is so impressive, it was recently featured on the local cocktail site Have a vodka lover in the group? Ouzo Bay has over 20 types of vodka on the menu, and their other liquor lists aren’t short either. For beer lovers, there are local choices as well as imports and the wine list is sure to please any oenophile. Sink into a chair in the lounge or sidle up to the bar during happy hour to get discounts on bites like spanakopita and meatballs as well as on wine and beer.

Photo: Ouzo Bay


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