No passport required to revive—and refresh—your outlook this summer. Behold our list of 10 scenic local spots to relax and enjoy a designer drink in a setting you won’t soon forget.
Encantada at the AVAM
Trademark Cocktail: The Cheshire Cat, a gin-based concoction that turns from clear to pink with the addition of a “magic” ice cube.
Menu Must: Nashville Cauliflower, a vegan dish that beverage director Nick Ramey swears tastes just like boneless buffalo wings.
Scenic Perk: Carefully curated art serves as a continuation of the AVAM’s quirky collection.
LB SKY BAR
Trademark Cocktail: The Sky Mule—a twist on the Moscow Mule, according to food and beverage director Brad Daniels—with strawberries, cucumbers, mint, Tito’s Vodka and lemon, topped with ginger beer.
Menu Must: Keep it fresh (and quintessentially Baltimore) with the signature sushi rolls—theLord Baltimore, the Lady Baltimore, the Lord Calvert and the O’s roll.
Scenic Perk: As one of the only public sky bars in the city, Sky Bar offers a beautiful skyline view of Charm City. It also boasts a state-of-the-art sound system so you’ll hear a guest DJ’s every note.
Trademark Cocktail: The Citta Vuota—made with Barr Hill gin, Dell’Erborista, Aita Rhubarb, grapefruit and Prosecco—translates to “empty city,” but the only thing empty will be your glass.
Menu Must: For a perfect light plate to complement your cocktails, go for the insalata di polpi—grilled baby octopus over a salad of potatoes, celery, red peppers and capers with a lemon-anchovy vinaigrette.
Scenic Perk: Cosima’s charming outdoor patio behind the restaurant is perfect for summer, says General Manager Alan Hirsch, with an unbeatable view on the Jones Falls—the only waterfront restaurant that is not located on the Inner Harbor.
Trademark Cocktail: What else? The Cinghiale, made with Aperol liqueur, fresh orange juice, fresh basil and a splash of soda.
Menu Must: A classic done right—la lasagna marchigiana—made with veal ragú, fonduta and a red wine reduction.
Scenic Perk: With a prime location on the waterfront in Harbor East, Cinghiale is both an elegant night out and a perfect after-work wind-down. Catch front patiog seating or sip drinks at one of the longest marble bar tops in the city.
Trademark Cocktail: Bluejay Way consists of Cold River vodka (made with organic Maine blueberries), Meyer lemon juice and peel, simple syrup and fresh mint. Ahhh…
Menu Must: An exemplary traditional Chesapeake crab cake, perfectly pan-fried.
Scenic Perk: The stunning terrace overlooks the BMA’s celebrated sculpture garden, including a to-die-for view of the fountain and reflecting pool.
13.5% WINE BAR
Trademark Cocktail: Though wine is obviously the bar’s specialty, try the Avenuedier, a Hampden-esque take on the traditional Boulevardier.
Menu Must: Calamares a la plancha, a minimalist tapas plate featuring paprika-seared squid. “It’s simple, but very delicious,” says manager Jack Gillies.
Scenic Perk: The orange indoor ambience (built around the “mid-century modern stools,” according to Gillies) and dim lighting lend an air of endless sunset.
Trademark Cocktail: The Firecracker, a sweet summer sip made with cucumber-infused vodka, muddled watermelon, lime and simple syrup.
Menu Must: Offerings change so frequently that a signature dish is impossible to pin down, but you can always expect the freshest seasonal seafood from local watermen.
Scenic Perk: The gorgeous panoramic view affords an unmatched waterfront experience. As manager Jami Curtis says, “You can’t get much closer than this!”
Trademark Cocktail: In the 15 years since Qayum Karzai opened shop, Tapas Teatro has perfected the art of sangria. Cocktails, like the Red Dress (above)—cava and Aperol—are divine, too.
Menu Must: The Iberico ham, a Spanish staple bought whole and thinly sliced in-house for sandwiches, salads and many other yummy small plates.
Scenic Perk: Located next door to the iconic Charles Theatre, Tapas Teatro has been many Baltimoreans’ pre- and post-show joint of choice for years. The people-watching is a cinematic bonus.
Thames Street Oyster House
Trademark Cocktail: The Thames Street take on a Manhattan, made with Rare Wine Co.’s Historic Series Boston Bual Madeira instead of vermouth. Dubbed the “Boston Manhattan,” the rest of the ingredients are just as tasty: Bulleit bourbon, bitters and the house cherries (which are soaked in Madeira and brandy, says owner Candace Beattie).
Menu Must: Of course, Thames Street lays out an impressive raw oyster bar. But the Chef’s Chesapeake Blue Catfish Sandwich—buttermilk-soaked fried catfish plus aged Virginia ham—is great too.
Scenic Perk: The back courtyard is perfect for those warm summer nights.
Trademark Cocktail: Owner Lane Harlan recommends their unique margarita, meticulously crafted with “old-school” tequila, fresh-squeezed lime juice, agave nectar and a little bit of salt.
Menu Must: Ceviche Sinaloense, a fresh dish featuring wild-caught shrimp cured with lime and chiles and served with diced tomatoes, serranos and cucumbers on a freshly made tostada. “It’s perfect for summertime,” says Harlan, “and perfect with the margarita.”
Scenic Perk: An airy courtyard-chic vibe, complete with string lights and plenty of outdoor seating.