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January 18, 2008

Fab Five Friday

As noted before, Baltimore is not known for its good service.

But here at MS, we'd much rather focus on the positive. So, on that note, here are the five bars and clubs with the best service in the city. 

1. Waterfront Hotel, 1710 Thames St.

Even when it's packed, the bartenders are on their game. I've never had bad service at the Waterfront.

2. The Annabel Lee Tavern, 601 S. Clinton St.

The bar staff here bent over backward to accommodate the people I was with, even though it was late at night (they didn't know who we were, of course). We couldn't have asked for better treatment.

3. Birds of a Feather, 1712 Aliceanna St.

Owner and bartender Alicia Horn takes care of her customers with free homemade pizzas and an encyclopedic knowledge of the many scotches she serves.

4. Ixia (pictured), 518 N. Charles St.

Tom Cusack and the rest of the crew run a tight ship. You get better service at Ixia than nearly every other Baltimore lounge.

5. The Stalking Horse, 26 E. Cross St.

Manager Marc McFaul also helps oversee Ropewalk Tavern. But the service at Stalking Horse (which just reopened) has always been better.

(Photo by Monica Lopossay/Sun Photographer) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:39 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Fab Five Fridays


Uhh.. how can you say that the the service at Stalking Horse has "always" been better than any other bar? The place has only existed for maybe 6 months, and was closed for half that time.

Second the Annabel Lee comment. They were great!

agreed on the stalking horse. Actually, I was there twice in the few weeks it was open, and found the service to be somewhat lacking myself.
Kinda odd that the bars on the list (at least the ones I have visited) are all very pricy, Any idea of any reasonably priced bars that still have good service? Frazier's comes to mind

I agree with Bob on Stalking Horse. EVen when it was open, the service didn't stand out. I have noticed an increased amount of coverage on McFaul's establishments.

How is a post that opens with yet another complaint about Baltimore service focusing on the positive? What city or cities are you comparing Baltimore’s service to, exactly? This begs the question, what city or cities are well known for their “good” service in bars and clubs?

Through the Nose - I believe Exton, PA and Tabernacle, NJ are known for their service. We'll use that as our baseline moving forward.

Heh. Well, of course Exton and Tabernacle, but besides those two? I've been in bars and clubs in many of the other cities in this country. Never once did I think to myself. "Boy, the bar and club service is really top shelf here in New York/Seattle/L.A./Philly/San Francisco/Pittsburgh/D.C./etc. Back in Baltimore, the bars and clubs could really learn something about superior bar and club service from this town. We're such rubes when it comes to service."

Lord knows we have plenty of shortcomings as a city, but bar and club service isn't one of them. Why make up shortcomings that don't exist?

Ixia? That depends if you are speaking of the bartenders or the servers. The servers were excellent everytime I've been to Ixia (4 times) but the bartending staff and good service should never be mentioned in the same sentence. I've gone when it hasn't been packed and the service from the bartenders has been bad at best. Maybe things have changed in the past 8 months but I swore I would never go there for a drink again.

C'mon TTNose, these writers gotta make a living - usually writing drivel about nothing. Personally I find the bar service fair in S. Baltimore, good in Arbutus and just [darn] shameful in Pikesville.

Why does the McFaul clan get to own so many bars in Federal Hill anyway?

The "new" McFaul's bar, located right next to Ropewalk, is just a blatent skirting of the laws. Otherwise that part of the block would officially be Ropewalk too.

I wonder if any of this has something to do with the official police Winnebago that's been parked outside of Ropewalk for the past two months???

Ridiculous. Besides, I refuse to enter a city place that touts itself as an official Reagan bar, AND operates and annex in Bel Air. The modern downtown Bel Air only exists because of White Flight in the first place.

So the Stalking Horse is off my list. As if the fire was an "accident"...

When does the George W. Bush Ropewalk Memorial Lie-brary open?

Wow...a political screed. I was really looking forward the the Walter Mondale themed bar...I guess I will just have to wait.

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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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