The five best new bars of 2009
Recession be damned, a bunch of new bars opened in and around Baltimore last year.
Though it might be 2010, there's still time to look back at the area's best new spots. Thanks for all your suggestions and nominations. I thought long and hard about this one, and have come up with the five best new bars of 2009.
Here they are ...
1. Turp's (pictured), 1317 N. Charles St.
Location, location, location. Mount Vernon needed a sports bar like whoa. We said that last March. But Turp's manager (and namesake) John Turpin has thought the same thing for years. Turp's fills a void like few bars can. Finally, Mount Vernon has a proper sports bar. I couldn't think of a better one for the neighborhood than Turp's.
2. Banner's, 1401 Decatur St.
Banner's has everything you'd look for in a neighborhood sports bar: Delicious, cheap drinks, snappy service and colorful decor. I just hope it bounces back from the fire soon.
3. Azul 17, 9400 Snowden River Parkway, Suite 127, Columbia
Who would have thought a chic tequila bar and lounge would take off ... in Columbia? The owners of Azul 17 knew just how to angle it, too: A ton of high-end tequilas and cocktails, including one of the best margaritas I've ever had. And you never see this place coming: In classic suburban style, it's in a strip mall. I love it.
4. B&O American Brasserie, 2 N. Charles St.
Mixologist Brendan Dorr's inventive, seasonal drink lists never cease to impress. Hotel bars aren't known for being adventurous, but the B&O bucks that trend. Not only is it one of the best new bars, it's one of the city's best hotel bars, period.
5. Looney's South, 8180 Maple Lawn Blvd, Maple Lawn
Say what you will about Looney's -- this bar has been a smash hit since it opened early last year. It's clear the area was thirsty for as many flat screen TVs and domestic bottles as possible, and Looney's South delivers. Plus, there's regular live music. Score!
(Photo by Karl Merton Ferron)