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June 30, 2011

Review: Baltimore Taphouse, Canton's low-key taps bar

This week's bar review is on Baltimore Taphouse, a low-key Canton bar with 14 rotating drafts and 25 bottled beers.

After spending some time there, I've become a big fan, and will come back soon.

Here's an excerpt from the review:

Baltimore Taphouse in Canton looks just fine when you walk in. It's a long, narrow hall, with plenty of beer on tap and a pool table at the back.

But the first sign that you might be in better hands than you thought is found above the cash register. There, owner John Bates has propped up a dog-eared copy of Michael Jackson's "Great Beer Guide."

Jackson is the elder statesman among beer and whiskey writers — the Julia Child of beer lovers. His place above the bar suggests that the Taphouse serves one master: beer.

The rest of the review is here.  In Canton, there are lots of other beer bars - Mahaffeys's, Hudson Street Stackhouse - which one is your favorite?


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Posted by Erik Maza at 11:37 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

i've never had a bad time there. great beer and great service. the owner is usually working behind the bar and is super nice and willing to give you advice on beers to try.


While I like the taphouse, it would be a stretch to compare it to Mahaffey's. Mahaffey's has a bigger and better beer selection, and it's hard to beat their 3 for $4 happy hour price on select craft beer.

Hows the eats?

they don't serve food, but always have pretzels on the bar and allow you to order food from local carry-out or delivery places (tutti gusti is recommended)

eats = chips and stuff like that. No kicthen. Try the beef jerkey.

JohnM: And sometimes it's simply not about bigger, better, and more.

John Bates is one of the best bar owners in all of Baltimore, period. I have been his understudy for 15+ years, the man is a genius. He has great beers, no specials needed. Everybody should go to Growlers and enjoy a beer or two.

Maza, how did you end up there? Get lost?

Baltimore Taphouse is the epitome of Baltimore Beer Bars, good luck John, Marty, etc...

Thank you!!!

jz

John Bates is one of the best bar owners in all of Baltimore, period. I have been his understudy for 15+ years, the man is a genius. He has great beers, no specials needed. Everybody should go to Growlers and enjoy a beer or two.

Maza, how did you end up there? Get lost?

Baltimore Taphouse is the epitome of Baltimore Beer Bars, good luck John, Marty, etc...

Thank you!!!

jz

What Jason said! John & Co. rocks. Couldn't be nicer guys. Great crowd too. Love Baltimore Taphouse!

Though concerning the entire review, the reviewer completely forgot to mention JD's Smokehouse (in the Canton Square), which now boasts 50 taps, almost all of which are craft beer selections. And arguably the best food in the area.


@ Alex D. M.

That's a nice sentiment Alex, and if I lived in the neighborhood, then of course there would be other factors to consider.

However, if I'm coming from out of the area, size of the draft list, quality of the draft list, and cost of what I'm buying, are all factors that I think most people would rate as pretty important. I would also mention something about a place's food selection, but as you know, the Taphouse doesn't have a kitchen.

As I mentioined, I've enjoyed myself the times I've been to the taphouse (I believe I said I liked it). I simply stated that I don't think it compares very favorable to Mahaffey's, and I explained why. So I guess I'm kind of missing your point.

Do you have a point?

Yes: "Sometimes it's not about bigger, better, or more."

In worlds (beer geekery and restaurant owners) where far too many people have gotten hung up on who has the most taps, the most beers you can't get anywhere else, the most heart-attack-inducing burger, or other such superlatives, sometimes it's nice to just pop into a smaller corner local, be able to find a beer you can live with at a price that doesn't gouge you, and hang out with a few different faces that may be friends you just haven't met yet.

The sad part is that little treasures like Mahaffey's, Ale Mary's, Baltimore Taphouse, Elliott's Pour House, No Idea, J. Patrick's, Grand Cru, Hamilton Tavern, Racers, and other lesser-remarked places that sail under the radar of forums like this blog/paper (and yes, admittedly, the paper I write for, too) are actually part and parcel of what really makes Baltimore a "good beer town". It's not just the Pratt Street Ale House, Brewers Art, Alewife, Max's, etc.

Philadelphia's "beer scene" isn't just Monk's Cafe, Yards, and the South Philly Tap Room; it's all the little corner bars that still stock at least one or two local craft beers. Meanwhile, we seem to be all falling down and worshipping Natty Boh.

I'm not much of a beer drinker, but my friends are, so many nights I end up at beer bars like Max's, Mahaffey's or JD's. Friday night we stopped at the Baltimore Taphouse. I ordered a Miller Lite, and the bartender (I assume he was also the owner) laughed at me.

Yeah, I know I'm not ordering the most fancy-pants expensive beer at the place, but I'm still a paying customer and I don't deserve that sort of treatment. We drank our round of beers and left. I know I'm not going back.

@Jen-the owner doesn't bartend on Friday nights. Don't be so sensitive to write a bad review about a place that you have never been to before.

Maybe he was laughing at something else. People are so quick to badmouth places without knowing the whole story. You might be a paying customer but hey, customers aren't always right. Your response sounds very stuck up. Relax and have some fun.


"I ordered a Miller Lite, and the bartender (I assume he was also the owner) laughed at me."

In my humble opinion, that's a pretty stupid thing for them to do Jen.

You'r a paying customer for God's sake, and if they think the beer is that bad, then why do they stock it?

I spend most of my time at Max's, where they have 102 beers on tap. The don't carry any of the macros on tap (unless Stella and blue moon qualify), but they have everything in bottles. Yet I have never, and mean never, seen the bartenders there give a customer a hard time about his/her order of bud lite, miller lite, coors lite or natty boh.

They're in business to make money and it's completely up to the customer to decide what he/she wants. As long they carry it, and as long as the customer can afford it, then the customer is entitled to enjoy whatever they want to drink without any attitude.

Frankly, I'm amazed that anyplace would feel any differently about that.

"I ordered a Miller Lite, and the bartender (I assume he was also the owner) laughed at me."

When people used to ask Rick Catalano, the owner of the old Cafe Tattoo on Belair Road (and one of the first beer bars in the area), if they could have a Coors Light, he always used to ask them "How 'bout I just piss in a glass for ya." Baltimore is losing a lot of its charm, unfortunately.

"Yet I have never, and mean never, seen the bartenders there give a customer a hard time about his/her order of bud lite, miller lite, coors lite or natty boh."

@John M. -Mr. Furman runs a great business, but you are full of it if you are saying that the bartenders have never "laughed" at a customer. That's what bartenders do.

stop being so full of yourself.

Where's Rick Catalano when we need him, people are so sensitive!

@Jen-stop assuming! you don't even know if that was the owner, you know what happens when you ass u me! Sounds like the bar is better off without you. Go back to Aqua!

"so many nights I end up at beer bars like Max's, Mahaffey's or JD's." you must be a drunk if you are at bars many nights.


Hey "Not so sentive"

I'll stop being so full of myself if you stop being a complete jackass (I know, I know.... looks like I won't stop being so full of myself any time soon, does it?).

I didn't say the bartenders don't laugh at the customers there knucklehead. I said (and you even quoted me) that I've never seen them give someone a hard time about their order of natty boh or lite beer. As for laughing at the customers, they poke fun (but in a friendly way) at them all the time. Of course I know that. I didn't say otherwise.

Maybe you should take some sort of remedial reading lesson before you post another response to someone else's post "not so senstive."

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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 erik.maza@baltsun.com. 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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