Charm City’s thriving bar and restaurant scene continues to flourish with tons of recent openings and even more on the horizon. From Mediterranean to Mexican menus, upscale casual spots to delightful dives, and stylish wine bars to speakeasy inspired haunts, here’s our list of the newest places to drink and dine this year.
Boasting quite the selection of whiskey, this small spot on a Locust Point side street was recently opened by Jason Ambrose of Butcher’s Hill’s highly successful Salt. Upscale sandwiches and inventive appetizers grace the simple menu. Dine and drink at the communal table, small bar or two person booths. (1157 Haubert St.; 443-449-5525)
Set to open soon on High Street in Little Italy, this classy wine bar will be the little sister to neighboring Cafe Gia of the same ownership. There’s been little word yet on food, but the peek we’ve had into selections of wine and liquor by Gia herself has us pretty excited for the opening of this new spot to sip. (408 S High St.; 410-685-3300)
With a name taken from E.E. Cummings’ poem about settling in to imbibe at New York’s historic McSorley’s, we have high hopes for this newly opened Locust Point joint serving bar noshes, like nachos and vegan samosas, while slinging specials like $4 glasses of wine and $3.50 cocktails. (1401 Decatur St.; 410-555-1212)
Lane Harlan’s first bar is the humble speakeasy styled WC Harlan in the tiny neighborhood of Remington. This spring, Harlan is opening a new spot on the same street serving housemade northern Mexican cuisine with a chef straight from Sinaloa. Expect to see lots of mezcal and tequila on the drink menu, as well as beer and wine from south of the border and Spain.
Serving fish delivered daily from the Aegean sea as well as ethically raised meats, this warm and inviting Mediterranean restaurant sits directly on Broadway in the heart of Fell’s Point. Stop by Broadway Liquors, just up the street, before your visit - Mare Nostrum is BYOB. (716 S Broadway; 410-327-6173)
This restaurant with a focus on Asian cuisine is intended to open in March in the corner spot on Boston Street that has sat empty since vacated by Hollywood Burger Bistro (which was previously Tangiers, which was previously Meridian 54, which was previously Red Fish… and so on). Like other Katana locations in Maryland, sushi is on the menu, but as a departure from the norm, this location will be adding ramen (including a vegan broth) to the menu. (845 S Montford Ave.)
Slated to open in August with around 100 taps, this newest addition to Fell’s Point’s Ann Street wharf will be the third location for the Pennsylvania-based brewpub. Pizza, pretzels, pierogies and poutine are all on their menu, in addition to fire roasted meats and some interesting appetizers.
Burgers and poutine are the specialties at this popular, new neighbor to the classic Senator Theater. Have your burger and brew in house, or enjoy it during a movie in the adjacent theater. Load up on the authentic poutine with the squeaky cheese curds, but try to save room for the boozy shakes, too. (5906 York Rd.; 410-323-2356)
Classically trained in France, Chef Steve Monnier has brought farm-to-table style French and New American cuisine to his new BYOB spot in Hampden. The simple seasonal menu features the likes of squid ink bread and coffee rubbed hanger steak. (3520 Chestnut Ave.; 410-235-0035)
Pizza made popular in Federal Hill and Mt. Vernon is now available at the recently opened Canton corner bar and restaurant. Sandwiches, salads and Mediterranean appetizers like hummus, spinach pie and baba ghanoush are also available. Domestics, rotating craft beers and several varieties of reds and whites are also available. (900 S Kenwood St.; 443-501-4000)
With over 20 taps and nearly as many varieties of whiskey, Mussel Bar, opening in March, appears to be as much about the booze as it is the mussels. Also on the menu are pizzas, comfort foods like creamy mac and cheese, shrimp and grits and braised short ribs, as well as a raw bar, naturally. (1350 Lancaster St.; 410-946-6726)
Getting their start in Bel Air, this local chain is opening its fifth location on Boston Street in Canton. Slated to open any day, the family friendly restaurant serves all the Mexican favorites like fajitas, enchiladas, burritos and, of course, margaritas. (2324 Boston St.; 410-683-3340)
In the latter part of 2014, The Smoking Swine food truck took over the kitchen at what is commonly referred to right now as “the old JD’s” in Canton. In late January, The Smoking Swine vacated the kitchen at the spot they were calling Smokehouse Canton for their brief pop up, making way for previous Top Chef contestant Jesse Sandlin to take over as the newest executive chef. With yet a new name, Jokers & Thieves is featuring a menu with brisket, chicken and waffles and Sandlin’s signature shrimp and grits. We’re particularly excited about the breakfast poutine served during brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and don’t forget the 56 beers on tap and pretty decent whiskey selection. (3000 O’Donnell St.; 410-674-4029)
Filling the spot left vacant after Lamill Coffee closed in the Four Seasons Baltimore, Loch Bar will pay homage to Maryland with a focus on seafood (oysters, crab cakes, shellfish) while also featuring over a dozen beers on tap and serving up signature cocktails and martinis. The restaurant is expected to open in June. (200 International Dr.)
Just opened in the beginning of February, this 1920’s styled speakeasy bar, upstairs from Myth and Moonshine, features French creole inspired dishes (duck rillette tart, pate en croute) and pre-prohibition style cocktails with a focus on bourbon and scotch. While sharing the same property and management, 2300’s menu, drink program and overall concept is entirely separate from Myth and Moonshine. (2300 Boston St.; 301-690-5668)
On the ground floor of the Ritz Carlton Residences, Sip features 72 bottles of wine in self-pour machines allowing drinkers to help themselves to 1, 3 or 6 ounce pours. Newly added is a whiskey self-pour machine that is not to be missed. There’s a cozy lounge, a wide open dining room and bar-style seating that serves a chef’s table overlooking the kitchen. (807 Key Hwy.; 667-239-3105)
Newcomer to Federal Hill, the BYOB, Local Fry, offers up tons of french fry choices. Go somewhat simple with poutine or fries simply seasoned with Old Bay, garlic and parmesan or ranch, or choose more complex flavors like Greek Fries (fresh cut fries, homemade Greek seasoning, shredded romaine lettuce, tomato, gyro meat, shallots, feta cheese, homemade tzatziki sauce), Buffalo Chicken Fries (fresh cut fries, chicken tenders, buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, crumbled blue cheese, celery slaw), or Bulgogi Fries (fresh cut fries, Korean marinated beef ribeye, sauteed carrots and onions, crema, scallions, toasted sesame seeds). (21 E Cross St.; 410-244-1283)
Cask and Grain
in Canton plans to expand into the neighboring property, previously a hair salon, to create new bar and restaurant Cask and Grain, a farm-to-table style spot that would share Portside’s kitchen. Slated for a summer opening, the restaurant’s menu style is expected to also, by default, elevate the food at Portside. (2823 O’Donnell St.)
Family Meal opened with all of the fanfare expected for a restaurant from Chef Bryan Voltaggio, and for good reason. Serving up wholesome comfort food (crispy fried chicken with the fluffiest of biscuits, shrimp and grits, short rib onion soup topped with croutons and golden melted vermont cheddar), the restaurant’s bar has also crafted creative beverages. For brunch, we’re in love with the Bloody Mary made with the restaurant’s pit beef barbecue bloody mary mix, and before dinner, we adore the smoky, smooth and subtly sweet #8 AKA Hometown Hero, a blend of avocado infused mezcal, cinnamon, grapefruit soda, lemon and Cocchi Americano. (621 E Pratt St.; 410-601-3242)
While it’s taken a while for this pizza place to get its Hampden location open, it looks likely that Neapolitan pizza will soon be available at the Chestnut Street space. A particular draw to the restaurant is expected to be the vegan pizza menu, but we are also adoring the clever names for pies like “Grapeful Dead” and “Anise and Anephew.” (3535 Chestnut Ave.)
Slated for an opening in the early part of the year, Alma Cocina Latina will fill the space that once housed previous tenants Soyomba Grille, Bang Bang Mongolian Grille and Austin Grill. Ceviche and soups, as well as salads and other Venezuelan inspired cuisine, are expected on the menu. (2400 Boston St.)
Start by choosing crusts like traditional, gluten-free or whole grain and flax seed, sauces like spicy bbq, EVOO, basil pesto or tomato and cheeses including mozzarella, goat and feta. Then, decide how to top your pie from the long list of veggies, meats and spices. Pizza Studio will be all about letting you create your own pizza masterpiece when they soon open their Charles Village location. (3201 St. Paul St.)
A veggie forward menu is expected at this sure to be stylish restaurant taking over the space left vacant when Mr. Rain’s Fun House left the American Visionary Arts Museum space. Andrew Weinzirl, previously of Maggie’s Farm, is lined up to be executive chef, and owner Robin Haas is also the owner of Birroteca and The Nickel Taphouse. (800 Key Hwy.)
Top image: Sip Kitchen & Wine Bar, Interior: Mare Nostrum, Mussels: Mussel Bar, Bahn Mi Fries: The Local Fry
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