Top 10 Dive Bars With Good Pub Grub
The idea seemed like a good one at the time: dive bars that have unexpectedly edible pub grub. The problem seemed to be that no one wanted to label their favorite hangout a dive bar with all the phrase's negative connotations, so I didn't get many suggestions.
Next I asked what a "dive bar" is, and readers came up with some fine definitions.
A dive bar:
* has a pool table and/or pinball machines.
* is usually occupied by three types of people: alcoholics, people wanted by the police, and guys hiding from their wives.
* has a jar of pickled pigs feet (or at least pickled eggs) on the bar.
* is a place where you don't take your girlfriend/wife. ...
* has a condom machine in the men's room.
* offers only Slim Jims, Beer Nuts, or Utz Potato chips in the way of food.
* is a dirtier, nastier, sometimes scarier sort of place.
* has bottles of onions and other pickled nastiness that sound great after you start working on the second sixer.
* doesn't have a house salad.
* offers no vegetables but french fries. (The jury is still out on onion rings.) The french fries better not be rosemary garlic fries either.
Those definitions may seem to have derailed the whole concept, but I never give up an interesting Top 10 topic once I sink my teeth into it. So let's call the following places "dive bars" in the nicest possible sense. They are a little funkier than neighborhood taverns, they haven't been gentrified, and they definitely don't offer any rosemary garlic fries.
Thanks to all the posters, my fellow reviewer Richard Gorelick, and Midnight Sun Sam Sessa for their suggestions.
Let the arguments begin:
* Bertha's in Fells Point. In spite of the afternoon tea, the live music and the famous mussels, it still has some of the good dive bar elements.
* Daniel's on Route 1 in Elkridge. Bikers dive extraordinaire, all the food is good. (Faithful readers will know who suggested this one.)
* Kisling's Tavern in Canton has good, some say great, wings.
* Linwood's in Parkville. (NOT the Owings Mills fine-dining restaurant.) Great french fries and gravy served on a paper plate. Need more information on this one. Anyone?
* Long John's Pub in Remington. Shrimp salad and fried oyster sandwich.
* Mount Royal Tavern in Mount Vernon for pizza.
* Poncabird just off Boston Street on Ponca. Great burgers and decent shrimp salad, but the service didn't get a great review.
* Spirits Tavern in Upper Fells Point. Excellent homemade guacamole, hot dogs, good cheeses.
* Swallow at the Hollow in Govans. One poster mentioned the bacon cheeseburger, the grilled ham and cheese, and the beef stew.
* Wharf Rat in Fells Point. Stick with anything fried.
(Kim Hairston/Sun photographer)