A City Fan’s Guide to Charm City (Baltimore)
- 03 June 2010 09:40
Baltimore Part 1
In the last 10 years Baltimore has become a great football town. With the combination of ex-pats, local soccer enthusiasts, increased international games, developmental teams for the European leagues, the MLS and increased exposure to international football on television we have grown exponentially in our crowd sizes AND passion for the sport. With that said – I think you’ll find many warm and friendly places to celebrate before and after the match as well as a welcoming city that is happy to have all of you!
The Actualities – These are the major areas you’ll interact with if traveling from out of town to the game
Baltimore Airport – BWI – Located about 20 miles outside of the downtown area. Any taxi should take you to the airport for no more than $25. It is a city law that the airport fair be standard. So – don’t let them overcharge you.
Baltimore Train Station – Penn Station – Located 10 minutes (3 miles) north of the Inner Harbor and the Stadium.
M & T Bank Stadium – This is where the match is being played. It is located in the heart of downtown. You can’t miss it… and don’t forget to rub the statue of Johnny Unitas for luck – Any taxi should take you here if you just say “take me to M and T Bank stadium”. You can also walk to it from any destination below (less than 2 miles)– and probably follow the large crowds that are going to be walking there the day of the match.
Drink and Tavern Fare - Baltimore has 4 major areas for you to imbibe and taste our local tavern fare. Below are a list of where you can go to possibly catch some other local football fans and to see where Baltimore people enjoy our Saturday and Sunday football rituals as well as some great food and great places to celebrate.
Fells Point – Possibly the truest and definitely the most long standing football bar in Baltimore is Slainte. It’s easy to recognize because it’s the one with all the team flags outside. It’s right on the harbor and it’s where hundreds of fans every weekend gather to watch the beautiful game. Stop in and say “Hello” to me – because that’s where I’ll be celebrating before and after the game. Fells point is also the home to Baltimore’s oldest and most famous bars. Even if Slainte is “out the door” you can throw a stone and hit 10 other great pubs that have live music, great food and other various nightlife activities. I would highly recommend heading to this area for the best food, best atmosphere and still very accessible to all hotels and the grounds for the game. You can easily just get into a taxi and say “Take me to Fells” and they will know exactly what you are talking about.
Federal Hill – The Abbey is traditionally a Gunner bar - but they support all walks of life. They have great burgers and a knowledgeable staff. Federal Hill is much like Fells Point in that there are tons of bars on Cross St. for you to duck in and out of. It is approximately a mile walk from the stadium. There are dozens of bars on both sides of the street and legendary Cross St. Market which serves up steamed shrimp, oysters, and 32oz draft beers all day long.
Canton – The youngest demographic of all the Baltimore nightspots is a little bit farther from the stadium but for some it will be worth the trip. About 2 miles further east than Fells Point you will find a bit “younger” nightlife. If you do find yourself wanting to make the trip to Canton’s numerous night life bars make sure you stop into football friendly locals like Claddagh’s and Looney’s. They’ll take care of you.
Inner Harbor – The harbor is usually for out-of-towners and since most of the people in our fair city will be out-of-towners that day feel free to take your first walks around Baltimore’s most breath taking scenery. There are steak houses, world class seafood restaurants and they are all about of the same quality so don’t feel the need to be picky if you are looking for a nice sit down meal. It’s a great place to say you’ve “been” – just don’t spend your entire evening there because Fells Point, Canton, and Federal Hill will serve you just fine once you decide it’s time stretch your legs. James Joyce is a football friendly bar just on the edge of the Inner Harbor dining experience.
Local Delicacies / Restaurants - Baltimore is usually paired with one food above all others. Blue Fin Crabs. The blue fin crab has been cooked in every way in this town. From crab cake to steamed with Old Bay seasoning. If you are looking to try our local delicacy because the people in town keep saying you “HAVE” to have it – then these places are within arms reach of your journey. You will also – most likely find variations of a crab dish at EVERY restaurant in town… so don’t worry – if you want crabs all you have to do is find a waiter.
Obrycki’s – A tad on the dodgy side when it comes to the neighborhood. However, if you aren’t intimidated by the surroundings this is your most “Baltimore” of crab places in the inner harbor area. A very nice place inside – they’ve been around for over 60 years. A Baltimore classic.
Phillips Seafood Grill – A great place for crabs and other large quantity fare from the sea including clams, oysters, muscles, and shrimp.
Captain James – Eat crabs right on the water. This “crab house” is very close to Fells Point and Canton. It is a reasonable price, no frills crab eating establishment.
The Rusty Scupper – Possibly Baltimore’s most famous restaurant. It stands like a bird on a perch overlooking the harbor. It’s a little bit more fine dining and you may want to make a reservation. But if you tell people that know Baltimore that you ate at the Scupper – they’ll know you had a true Baltimore experience.
Baltimore also has it’s own “Little Italy” with dozens of amazing restaurants – some open until 2 am. You will find everything from fine dining to home made lasagna family style with your friends. They are all located right next to the Inner Harbor and within walking distance to all major attractions.
Aldo’s – It is arguably one of Baltimore’s best restaurants. If you are looking to experience a finer side of dining you will want to invest some time at this Baltimore staple.
La Scala – A little more casual and has wonderful food and a warm atmosphere. A Baltimore cornerstone that fits the wallets and palettes of all fans of Italian cuisine.
Sabatino’s – Open until 2 am and has served freshly made house style Italian for over 50 years.
Outside of this you will find small amazing restaurants and expensive steak houses littered through the other 4 boroughs I mentioned above.