With summer well and truly upon us, who wants to stay indoors? At this time of year, the city of Baltimore is alive with both locals and visitors enjoying the long evenings and exploring all that the city has to offer. But where are they going and what are they doing? Baltimore’s night life is as varied as the people who make up the city, and there’s something to suit every taste. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular venues for a night out – how many of them have you visited?
Stretching across two floors and covering 122,000 square feet, Horseshoe is the second largest casino in the state of Maryland. It is owned by CBAC Gaming, a consortium led by Caesars Entertainment, one of the giants of the casino industry. In this age of online gaming, the land-based casino sector has taken something of a hit, and Horseshoe Casino hit the headlines by reporting significant losses over recent months. The trend is an understandable one, given the incredible amount of online gaming options that are available through scores of different websites, but still, there is nothing quite like a night at a real world casino. As well as all the usual slots and table games, Horseshoe recently unveiled its state of the art virtual golf game, Topgolf Swing Suite.
Illusions Magic Bar
If casino blackjack is not for you, how about card games of a completely different kind? Every evening, resident magician Spencer Horsman wows audiences with his unique blend of theatre and illusion, all in an intimate setting in this art deco venue close to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. From first dates to bachelor parties, every show attracts an eclectic crowd, and when the 90 minute show is over, you’ll be wanting to return again and again. Entry includes two drinks of your choice – leave the car at home and try one of the house cocktails!
The Elk Room
Some bars spend a fortune in marketing to make sure potential customers know exactly where to find them. But when a venue keeps its location a closely guarded secret and makes finding it part of the experience, you know you are onto something out of the ordinary. The Elk Room is a traditional speakeasy that will transport you back to the prohibition era – if you can find it, of course. The theatre of the peephole entrance and 1920s costumes is all in place, but where this bar really stands out is in its impressive, and authentic, array of period cocktails.
This lounge bar and music venue doesn’t just encourage a more mature clientele – it insists on it. The sign on the door tells you that it is “over-30s only” which must be the most stringent age requirements in the city, if not in the entire state. As you might expect, there’s a decidedly retro vibe to the music, with 90s rock and a little old-school house being the order of the day. Check out the frequent two-for-one drinks offers, and indulge in some similarly retro food offerings for a great way to relive your care-free youth.
This “radical bookshop and coffeehouse” has been a feature of the Baltimore sub-culture for more than a decade. It recently moved from its original location in the suburbs to larger facilities in North Avenue and extended its opening hours till 11PM. Coffee shop, meeting place, library, general hang-out, Red Emma’s is all things to all people and you are guaranteed a warm welcome. The venue hosts a range of interesting speakers on the hot topics of the day, from politics to social matters to the environment.
Pier Six Pavilion
Baltimore has plenty of popular music venues, but most are located on the outskirts of town. Pier Six, on the other hand, is right in the inner harbor, and in walking distance of all Central Baltimore’s main facilities. This is a venue that takes pride in eclectic mix of music on offer, and there is certain to be something coming up that will appeal to every taste, from classic rock to metal to country to R&B. There’s even something for the younger fans when the Kidz Bop World Tour comes to town on the first weekend of August.
Accessed through an anonymous-looking door on Frederick Road, there’s something of the speakeasy about Slow Burns. This cigar shop and smoking lounge is definitely another throwback to a bygone age. Leather armchairs abound, and there are big screens to catch major sporting events in sophisticated surroundings. Snacks and soft drinks are available, and customers are welcome to bring their own drinks if they want something stronger. Note that there is a minimum purchase of $6.00 per person.
Passion Lives Here, says the website, and to the people at Boordy, creating great wines is certainly more than just a job. With a history dating back to the early 1700s, this must be one of the oldest family-run businesses in all of the United States. For a night out, it is a case of Thursday being the new Friday, as this is when Boordy runs its weekly wine tasting night. As well as their own delicious offerings, there’s a farmer’s market, food stands and frequent live music. It’s only a 30 minute drive from Downtown Baltimore, so give it a try.
Charm City Roller Girls
Here’s a night out with a real difference. If your knowledge of roller derbies is taken from the movies of the 1970s, be prepared for a surprise. Dramatic hairstyles and plenty of ink are the orders of the day, while the team members create edgy and sometimes risqué stage names. The teams are run and operated by the skaters themselves, and the food sold on stands is typically made by their families. Roller derby is a rapidly disappearing art form, and the Charm City girls are the best of the best, so give them your support! Having outgrown the Canton facility, where they had performed for years, they recently relocated to The Gardens in Laurel.