Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My weekend in Baltimore

Somehow, I ended up in Baltimore last weekend. Trust me...I am not complaining. Baltimore is one of my favorite cities. I went to college there, and got to spend some time working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, which was both an honor and a priviledge, but I digress...Its amazing to me to see over the years how Baltimore has renovated itself. When I was in college there, the Inner Harbor was just being built. Now, to see how the Waterfront area has been renovated, with construction extending to Fells Point and Federal Hill, it brings a tear to my eye to see how this wonderful city is modernizing itself. I have to point out, in fairness, that a colleague of mine, who is a native Baltimorian, feels the city is going too far, and I can see his point. I do agree that there comes a point where all the new construction does cross the line, and, in my opinion, Baltimore is almost at that point...

In any case, the one part of Baltimore that retains most of its old school charm (remember...Baltimore is known as Charm City) is Fells Point. Although there is some new construction and renovation of the periphery of Fells Point, the heart of this part of Baltimore is untouched. The 100+ bars in an 8 block radius, the cobblestone streets, the regular cast of street is perhaps my favorite place on the planet! (mind you...I haven't been to many places....and this is just my opinion). Fells Point is the home to three of my favorite bars: DuClaw, Max's on Broadway and The Horse.

DuClaw is found at the mouth of Fells Point at Bond Street. Its one of the first sights you see as you enter the Point from the Waterfront. Its in a perfect location, being a stone's throw from the Harbor. Picturesque, with lots of windows and an open feel, it is, to me, the way I start all my trips to Baltimore. The food is excellent; I would put it in the category of a higher end gastropub. Generous portions, good price. But what makes this place is the beer. I strongly recommend you go the website (linked on the name) to get a full description, but suffice it to say their beers are excellent. I always go for the sampler menu, which includes their 6 year rounds and anywhere from 4-6 seasonals. This time around, I brought home a growler of their Mad Bishop, which is their seasonal Oktoberfest.

Max's on Broadway or Max's Taphouse, is located on Broadway in the heart of Fells Point. It is located right by the Broadway Market with a great corner location. The fun begins when you enter Max's. It features a long bar running the length of the place. It features over 100 beers on tap and about 200 in bottles. Plus, they serve the beers at the temperature they were meant to be served! What always amazes me about this place is how the bartenders know exactly where each of the tapped beers are located! Its outrageous to see the bartenders running like madmen back and forth along the bar! This weekend I had the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout on tap and the Oskar Blues Ten Fidy on tap. The BCS was excellent, but I have to say the Ten Fidy was OUTRAGEOUS on tap!!! You have to watch it at Max' can get wicked polluted very quickly (like I did!).

Last, but not least, is the Horse You Came in On, or The Horse. Its this delightful little dive bar on Thames Street. Its famous for being the place that was the favorite of Edgar Allen Poe. For me, its my favorite dive bar on the planet! The atmosphere is not to be missed! The beers and drinks are just okay, and they do have live music, which is hit or miss, but the atmosphere makes it as fun a place as I've ever been. Fun bartenders, barmaids dressed their slutty best, with old wood bars and floors, brick/cement walls....its wonderful!!! The Horse is a great place to spend a bunch of time in for just a darned good time!

Well...that was my weekend. I love Baltimore. I love Fells Point. And my wife's reluctance to move there is weakening....I'm planning on going back in about a month, weather permitting, for another gruelling weekend! Cheers!