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January 25, 2008

Fab Five Friday

Here it is, my list of the city's bars with the best beer selection.

Remember, the Brewer's Art and Max's Taphouse were left off the list on purpose.

Here is why.
1. Mahaffey's Pub, 2706 Dillon St.

You'll find more than 100 different bottles and drafts at Mahaffey's -- more than any other Canton bar. Plus, it's the only spot in the neighborhood with cask conditioned ale. 

2. Ropewalk Tavern, 1209 S. Charles St. 

Ropewalk offers more than 150 microbrews. Enough said.

3. Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar, 902 S. Charles St.

The list of tasty draft and bottled beer varies whether you're ordering upstairs or down, and rotates often. 

4. Joe Squared, 133 W. North Ave.

Owner Joe Edwardsen stocks a random selection of really good beer, both on tap and in bottles. 

5. Grand Cru, 527 E. Belvedere Ave.

Though a little pricey, Grand Cru is a good choice if you're near Belvedere Square and need some options. 

(Photo by Doug Kapustin/Sun Photographer) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:45 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays


You could add several to the list:
Ale Mary's--Six quality drafts followed by a couple dozen hand selected bottles. Usually at least one seasonal or rarity worth checking out to enjoy with tasty pub grub
Wharf Rat--3 dozen of their own on tap followed by a dozen or so quality bottles. Who needs anything from outside Bmore when you have 3 for $4 specials here?

Not so sure about Ropewalk. The last couple times we've been there, the selection was hurting and the bartender didn't want to be bothered helping us with it. What is the use of having a hundred different beers if the customer doesn't know they are there and the wait staff isn't pushing it?

What about the Stalking Horse?
I was there with my friends hanging out and they have a great beer selection at affordable prices. I would stop in again for sure. (Esp. for the affordable Happy Hour specials)

Ale Mary's also has a nice selection. Outside of Baltimore City, Frisco Grill in Columbia has a nice selection of beer. I know there is a Ramshead in Baltimore, but the one in Annapolis and Crownsville are good for AA County people that might not want to drive into the city.

Mad River has great beers. And the views are good too.

You may have missed the Thirsty Dog on Cross Street near the market. They have great microbrews at a great price, the bar staff is always really friendly, and you can even bring your dog inside!

Still puching the McFaul bars, huh? How many weeks in a row now?

sam, that's a respectable list, but i have to wonder how often some of these other posters leave their houses.

the stalking horse burned all to [heck] months ago, and has still yet to reopen. they have hiring signs in the window but i walked by the other day and they were still closed.

thirsty dog changed to dog pub a while ago, and you cannot bring dogs in anymore. that takes away most of the fun, and i haven't been back since the change.

mad river? seriously? that bar is comparable to baltimore st. indoors.

Except thirsty dog is no longer called thirsty dog due to a legal threat (it's just 'Dog Pub'), and I don't think they allow dogs there anymore. Also they raised their prices substantially (although they are still reasonable)

Anyone around here ever heard of Max's. They don't have any selection at all. They don't have hundreds of bottles and at least ten taps. They were not voted one of the top 70 beer bars in Baltimore. No they were voted one of the top 70 in the world. Why no mention of them?

Are you kidding?
Do you even drink beer?
How about Max's on Broadway, Brewer's Art, and even Owl Bar is better then some of the spots on your list.

How did Max's on Broadway not make this list??? Oh and Red Star has a really nice selection of beers too!

Come on people.

Read the second paragraph before asking 'why isn't max's or brewer's art on your list?'

That's the whole point of the list -- to offer some alternatives to Max's and Brewer's Art. I talk about those two bars too much.

Ropewalk and Stalking Horse will probably be the next bars I retire from Midnight Sun, unless one of them burns down (again).

Yo John R! Apparently you don't read. Sam mentioned that Max's and Brewer's were going to be left off the list.

Add Baltimore Taphouse in Canton at the corner of Potomac and Fleet.

Um, Sam, I think you forgot to mention Brewer's Art and Max's.

i CANNOT believe the Beatles aren't on this list. they should BE this list.


It's interesting that you used a photo of our bar at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbis to showcase you Fab Five Friday city's best beer selection.

We may be in the 'burbs, but our beer selection includes 18 on draft and 43 bottled. Come check us out!

OK. enough with the "great _____ at a great price" please stop flogging your's or your friend's pub. Or at least flog it with more's getting old. Really. Oh yeah, my Stalking Horse comment was a joke.

I second Mahaffey's Pub in Canton, a great beer bar with good food to boot.

How about Racers Pub of off Harford Rd?

Not sure if they still serve peanuts.

Touché to Randy for pointing out that the photo used for this story is from Columbia's best new beer bar addition "Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia" I personally believe leaving out the likes of Ale Mary's, Duda's, Bertha's, each Wharf Rat, the Owl Bar, John Steven's and the Cat's Eye falls under - it's Fab Five therefore we were limited to naming only 5 places - but including bars that you clearly remark "do not get it" should not get credit when this fair city actually has a great wealth of places to imbibe outstanding beers which, numerically could not make your list.

Racers on Harford Rd. still has peanuts and is a great bar as is Baltimore Taphouse, the owner there used to work at Racers. Great beer selections and just great bars period.

I've heard frequent visitors to the Owl Bar comment that the beer list may be impressive, but it usually doesn't represent the beer they actually have on tap. As in, no matter what you order off the menu, the waiter says, "we're out" ... and you go keep making different selections and getting rejected until finally you say to him/her: "just bring me a glass of cold, carbonated beverage. Alcoholic."

Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia has become the local hotspot! It may be outside of the city...but well worth the trip. The staff is Top Notch and to have the owner greet nearly everyone that comes in is a nice blast from the past.
My girlfriend and I have named it "Our Place" and have been raving about it since it opened.
Great Job Randy, Tori and TEAM!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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