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August 4, 2009

What's the best neighborhood bar in Baltimore County?

We've done Hampden, Canton, Federal Hill, Mount Vernon and Fells Point (am I missing any?).

Now, I'd like to show a little county love. What, in your humblest of opinions, is the best neighborhood bar in Baltimore County? And why? Remember, you only get one vote each ...

If you recall, I define a neighborhood bar as follows:

First, the place has to have a crew of regulars -- but it can't be exclusive or clicky. Newcomers must feel welcome. It can't be a wild and crazy party zone. MEX in Power Plant Live is not a neighborhood bar.

Coziness is also a factor. Neighborhood bars have to be warm and inviting -- not cold.

A really good neighborhood bar doesn't necessarily have to have good beers on tap, or a big wine or martini list. Heck, I've been in good neighborhood bars that don't have any beers on tap.

Whatcha got for me?

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:34 AM | | Comments (55)
Categories: Commenters' Choice Awards


Crackpot near Towson off Loch Raven Blvd

Casey's, East Joppa Road

Racer's, Harford Road

Mt. Washington Tavern

Piv's Pub, York RD, Cockeysville.

Dave hit all three. Caseys, Crackpot, and Racers.

Della Rose's in the Avenue. Staff have been there forever and best place to watch a football game.

Shultzs in Essex, Della Rose's at the Avenue.

Isn't Racer's technically in the city?

I would have to say the Firehouse Tavern would be a good candidate, but then again some places by Middle River (Carson's Creekside) or Miller's Island (Dock of the Bay) would be just as good. And the Avenue is more or less the Power Plant of Baltimore County - so take that for what it is. Tully's would have probably have gotten my vote had it never closed.

I'll go with Racer's... and it is barely, but technically in the county. According to the city webpage the northern boundary on Harford Rd is Hillcrest ave.

Dead Freddies in Parkville. Hands down! :)

Also in the 'barely, but technically in the county' category that I think qualifies as a good neighborhood bar is Overlea Station.

How about best neighborhood bar in Locust Point?

The Barn in Parkville.

Racer's hand down. Skip is great but I still remember the good ole days with John.

said it before, say it again. The Charred Rib in Timonium. where can you turkey bowl on the night before thanksgiving?

Pop's...North Point Blvd.

Cassidy's Pit Stop Middle River. Lots of good people. No draft beer , only bottles. Alan treats everyone like family. Free grub for NASCAR and Ravens games. The Best!!!

Sadly, I think Dead Freddies is in the city. Sam, can you check it out?

I will go with Racer's or the Barn.

Another vote for Casey's and Racer's

Dead Freddie's is amazing (best wings in Baltimore hands down).....but it is in the City

Hightops- Awesome deck and good drink deals

Racer's. Without fail.

Although a "fun" time can be had by all at Howards, in Dundalk...

I still run into John from Racers occasionally. I'm pretty sure he and his wife own a bar in Canton called Growlers.

Harryman House, Reisterstown. The bar is a little more formal then most, but they have TVs everywhere in the bar, so it's impossible not to have a decent line of sight if you need to watch the game.

For my money its Squires in Dundalk. Same family ownership since the 1940's and one of the owners is almost always there. The food is always pretty good and many of the bar customers have been coming for 20+ years. On top of that the prices are very reasonable. Lots of parking too.

Why not do a best neighborhood in a black section of Baltimore considering that most of Baltimore consists of black neighborhoods?

I had an AMAZING time at Hard Yacht Club in Dundalk on Friday night. Best people watching ever, food was awesome, beers were cheap and the band dedicated an entire medley to my mom for her birthday. She saw them live in Dundalk on her 18th birthday 20-something years ago. How awesome is that?!?

I would definitely go back there. Chilling on the water is my fave, and downtown/Canton doesn't have quite the right vibe for laid-back waterside boozing (the only exception being Nick's, probably). Only drawback was getting all the way out there... cross the railroad tracks, take a right at the Dale Jr. sign and you're there. ;)

Mt. Washington Tavern

Padonia Station

@Sam - What boundaries are you putting on Baltimore County?

@SoBo Bob - for Locust Pt. my vote would be J.Patrick's (Guinness, Harp, céilidh, live music, no cursing, Joe the owner who ran the single-wing at Syracuse, kids running around the place, etc.), but, as you know, there are numerous true neighborhood bars in LP that won't disappoint a weary traveler

Racers, without a doubt. And, I'm pretty sure it's in the county. Terrific beer selection and, I agree, Skip is excellent.

Racers, without a doubt. They have a terrific beer selection and, I agree, Skip is excellent. If I'm not mistaken, Racers recently won the City Paper BOB award for best beer selection. It's never crazy busy in there, but I usually run into familiar faces there. Btw, it's close to the city line, but I'm pretty sure it's in the county.


By far, the Village Inn in Cockeysville. Where the millionaires look homeless and the homeless look like millionaires. Cash Bar,no tabs two pool tables, juke box and a Fine selection on tap consisting of Bud and Bud, not Bud fancy tvs. The biggest crowd ever for the superbowl was six people. The best thing about it is noone admits to going there. If you wanna have an affair, then bring her/him there. The friend who sees you there isn't supposed to be there either. Oh no credit cards. And if you want a popular beer or liquor, I promise you they don't have it. Oh one more thing, if you're in a good band, meaning a national touring type, they go there cause noone knows them. It was also a big "Wire" hangout. The place is classic.

The Mt. Washington Tavern is in Baltimore City.

Raven Inn, Casey's, Valley View.....all in Towson

I'll go with Racers. It is in the county, city line is just south of Hillcrest Ave putting them a block or two north of the Line.

If you go to Google maps street view you can see the Marker welcoming you to the City on the west side of Harford Rd from the Hillcrest intersection looking south.

Ale Mary's in Fells Point/Canton. It has it's regulars and it's cast of characters that can be found there day in and out. Great food and a fantastic collection of beers on tap.

Joel - It's for the county, fool. Besides, Bad Decisions SMOKED the competition for best in Fell's.

Are any of these county bars really "neighborhood" bars? Della's on the Ave? It's in a GD mall for cryin' out loud.

"It's in a GD mall for cryin' out loud."

So I'm guessing Red Lobster is not eligible for nomination?

I vote for the Treehouse in Cockeysville.

Gotta go with JTK on this one, Treehouse in Cockeysville.

The Greene Turtle, brah!!

If you are picking legit county bars I have them in order:
1) GL Shacks in Catonsville
2) Center Court in Arbutus
3) Penguins in Arbutus

probably a geographical bias, but they are all neighborhood bars and you dont hear about them on the radio or anything. if you have money to advertise on the radio or tv you arent a real neighborhood bar

the barn or the firehouse tavern would get easy votes for best local

GL Shacks in Catonsville. They have awesome bottles served from a tub of ice, friendly barstaff, music you can easily talk over, and amazing food in the dining room. Plus it's so easy to get to and it has it's own parking lot.

Now, Center Court and Penguins is just scurry.... sorry Matt.

Next we should do Best Bar on Old Main Street in Ellicott City.

GL Shacks in Catonsville. They have awesome bottles served from a tub of ice, friendly barstaff, music you can easily talk over, and amazing food in the dining room. Plus it's so easy to get to and it has its own parking lot.

Now, Center Court and Penguins is just scurry.... sorry Matt.

Next we should do Best Bar on Old Main Street in Ellicott City.

GL Shacks in Catonsville. They have awesome bottles served from a tub of ice, friendly barstaff, music you can easily talk over, and amazing food in the dining room. Plus it's so easy to get to and it has its own parking lot.

Now, Center Court and Penguins is just scurry.... sorry Matt.

Next we should do Best Bar on Old Main Street in Ellicott City.

Worthington Tavern on Falls Road.

Padonia Station! You can't beat the food and drink specials! But you can't really go neighborhood bar for the county! You have to break it up more! Think about it, someone in Catonsville won't go to Parkville to grab a pint.

Sea Hut, Catonsville. Love this place.

Was there ever a conclusion to this?

Did a "Best Bmore County Bar" get chosen?

@ dave. no. they all stink. Move to Fed Hill...

The Barn in Parkville

Hazelwood Inn in Rosedale . Great food great people. Very diverse crowd.they have an outside area where smokers are welcome to take their drinks. The Karaoke on Sunday is off the chain. Monday is name that tune
tuesday is trivia
plenty of food and drink specials
4937 Hazelwood Ave.( its on the border city county line but its geographically in rosedale!!)

The best? Whichever one is farthest away from Baltimore City.

I like the Stil (An Poitin Stil) near Padonia and York roads. There are regulars, especially when certain bands are playing, and a mix of new peeps too. Great food, warm and cozy but not boring ~ Lemoncello (sp?) machines!!
I can go here alone or with friends or a date and always have a great time!!!

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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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