Subscribe




Blue Ribbon

The Bluebird Cocktail Room ups the local bar game.

Jess Mayhugh - September 2017

Review: Bluebird Cocktail Room

The Bluebird Cocktail Room ups the local bar game.

Jess Mayhugh - September 2017

Hemingway daiquiri and Old Fashioned. -Scott Suchman

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Hampden’s latest addition, The Bluebird Cocktail Room (3600 Hickory Ave., 667-303-3263), brings a sophisticated cachet to Baltimore while still maintaining an approachable vibe. 

Native Marylander Paul Benkert was inspired by his time at Woodberry Kitchen and jazz bar Vie de Boheme in Portland, Oregon, when he opened Bluebird in July. He transformed the massive 3,000-square-foot space above De Kleine Duivel—formerly a sparse gallery spot—into a stylish bistro with navy blue walls, gold accents, communal tables, corner lounges, and a fireplace. In the early evening, natural light spills through the windows. At night, it’s lit only by candles. 


⇓ Article continues below ⇓

Starting with its cocktail program, The Bluebird does a lot right. The menu reads like an eight-page book, which is appropriate for this literary-themed bar named after a Charles Bukowski poem. Cocktails are divided into four chapters: Simple, More Complex, Long Sippers, and After-Dinner Drinks. A recent favorite in the summer heat has been the Hemingway daiquiri, made the traditional Cuban way over crushed ice (and best enjoyed on one of their outdoor porch swings).

Even ice isn't overlooked here, as bar manager Ben Poole uses a machine that produces a 300-pound block of ice that can be carved, crushed, or cubed depending on the drink. This artistry can be seen in many of the drinks on the menu, including an Old Fashioned topped with a seamless sphere to keep it cold. 

Have no fear: Though there is care taken with the bar’s design and cocktail menu, not everything here is overly fancy. There are still $3 Natty Bohs and a Monday-Friday happy hour when draft cocktails are $5 and small plates are half-off. Not one of the bar's food items, including cured salmon and steak frites, is over $20. 

Opening weekend—with its excellent service, impressive drinks, and neighborhood locals bellying up to the bar—was a great sign that Bluebird has already hit a sweet spot.




You May Also Like


In Good Taste

Chef Brigitte Bledsoe Talks Recent Health Scare and Miss Shirley's Cafe

The longtime executive chef discusses new menu items and inspiration from mom.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Rheb’s Candies; Palio; Piazza 27; Doughnut Dispatch

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

On The Town

29th Street Tavern Opening in Long John's Pub Space

Swallow at the Hollow owner restored "perfect corner watering hole."


In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Cross Street Market; OpenTable Top 100 List; Hotel Revival

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Food & Drink

Old Sage

Homespun medicines are just what the doctor ordered.

On The Town

Urban Axes Will Bring Hatchet-Throwing and Beer to Highlandtown

Coming in 2018, new space encourages beginners to try axe-throwing.

Hemingway daiquiri and Old Fashioned. -Scott Suchman

Connect With Us

Most Read


Former Terp Makes Catch For the Ages: Wide receiver Stefon Diggs shocks the world.

Baltimore Women’s March Moves Downtown as Thousands Plan to Participate: This year’s theme encourages voter registration in 2018 elections.

Here’s What We’d Like to See in the New Penn Station: Penn Station Partners will be refreshing the century-old train station.

Ryan’s Daughter Owner Shares Fond Memories Before Closing This Weekend: Marwan Daas and his wife pay tribute to their 14-year-old Irish pub.

Walters Curator Says Google Arts App is Good Start But Not Perfect: The museum has more than 1,400 works represented in the app's collection.