South Baltimore’s Winners in The Sun’s 100 Best Bars

| November 20, 2012 | 2 Comments

Let’s take a look at the South Baltimore bars that made the Baltimore Sun’s 100 Best Bars 2012 (…. make sure to check out the full list and full descriptions on the Baltimore Sun!)

#94 Tiki Barge, Harbor View

It’s a simple idea — take a barge with a swimming pool and add a couple bars and palm trees, and voila! — that will always have a clientele. It’s also part of the reason why Baltimore gyms get so packed come March.

#90 Cowboys and Rednecks, Federal Hill 

There was no guarantee the young, mingling crowds would welcome a new bar, but they’ve embraced C&R’s country-meets-sports bar with open arms.

#87 Captain Larry’s, Riverside

For more than half a century, this Riverside pirate-themed bar has kept things relatively the same, which is how its customers prefer it.

#83 The 8×10, Federal Hill

Home to mostly local funk, reggae, hip-hop and jam bands, The 8X10 feels less like a concert venue and more like bar with an impressive sound system and stage.

#79 The Wine Market, Locust Point

The Wine Market makes a great happy hour location or a place to learn something new about reds and whites.

#76 Nevins, Federal Hill

After bar-hopping to all of the Federal Hill hot spots (and getting a second wind from some much-needed greasy food), there’s only one stop before home, and that’s Nevin’s, the dive karaoke joint.

#73 Barfly’s, Riverside

At first, its pizzas got all of the attention (and for good reason — the loaded pies are no joke), but Barfly’s has steadily gained traction in Riverside and Federal Hill as a low-key spot for local drafts and a game of darts.

#68 Nick’s Fish House, Port Covington

Often thought of as a seafood joint or a tourist trap, the sprawling restaurant has a surprisingly fun bar scene, with a staff that’ll make you wonder why you don’t visit Nick’s more often.

#65 Mad River Bar and Grille, Federal Hill

Yes, it gets so crowded that you can end up sipping your drink in the coat closet (we’ve seen it happen), but there’s no denying Mad River’s appeal: These are college kids (and recent graduates) looking to grind on a dance floor and possibly keep the party going after last call.

#60 Don’t Know Tavern, South Baltimore

Not to be confused with No Idea Tavern, this sports bar — proudly supporting the West Virginia Mountaineers — is another dependable haunt in Federal Hill that offers a spacious alternative to the too-cramped scene along Cross Street.

#51 Paul’s, Riverside 

On any given night, you’ll probably find owner Paul Zang, a former Cross Street butcher, smiling behind the bar. It’s a low key hangout that usually draws an older crowd, but it’s a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

#45 Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, Federal Hill

The Purple Patio (Mother’s answer to Pickles’ outdoor area) is something every Ravens fan should experience at least once. Besides the Patio, Mother’s dance floor — an area where public making-out happens a bit too frequently — feels permanently filled to capacity on weekends.

#40 No Idea Tavern, South Baltimore/Riverside

The games don’t end there: Patrons play ping-pong and shuffleboard as they sip $5 20-oz. drafts from a rotating selection. There was even a pumpkin pie-eating contest in October.

#38 Magerk’s Pub and Grill, Federal Hill

There’s a just-big-enough upstairs for dancing, a more breathable downstairs for mingling and an outdoor patio for those in need of a smoke break. The fact that you can get a close-to-authentic Philly cheese steak only helps MaGerk’s cause.

#32 The Paradox, Camden Carroll Industrial Area

For more than two decades, this warehouse-turned-sweat-mecca has been the best place to experience Baltimore Club, the exuberant, lightning-quick dance music that’s influenced pop taste-makers for years.

#31 J Patrick’s Irish Pub, Locust Point

We miss owner Joe Patrick Byrne, who passed away in July from cancer, but his Irish pub — possibly the most authentic in the city — lives on as a testament to Byrne’s love of his heritage.

#27 Pub DogFederal Hill

Order a pizza for your party, and start double-fisting the cute beers, served two for $4.50, all of the time.

#24 Ropewalk Tavern, Federal Hill

For those in search of a typical Fed Hill night — dancing, shots and the possibility of hooking-up — this deceptively massive Republican bar offers the best experience.

#22 Ryleigh’s Oyster, Federal Hill

Rightfully known for its food, this Federal Hill spot also offers one of the best places to meet new people in a setting that’s more comfortable than obnoxious.

#21 Idle Hour, Riverside

Idle Hour’s combination of mood lighting, strong-but-affordable cocktails and eccentric regulars makes it a bar that must be experienced first-hand.

#14 Pickles Pub, Ridgely’s Delight

Maybe we’re still high on Orioles Magic, but there’s an undeniable charm to bar across the street from Camden Yards.

#11 Crazy Lil’s, Federal Hill

Crazy Lil’s maintains the energy of a Fed Hill bar yet manages to remain intimate. It’s the ideal place to drink on a budget: $3 Car Bombs and $1 Natural Lights on Tuesdays.

#6 Little Havana, Riverside/Harborview

On a summer night, having a beer on the back deck of Little Havana — off Key Highway in Federal Hill — could be the most pleasant outdoor experience in the city.

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.