Casinos are confusing. They intentionally don't display clocks, there are mazes of slot machines, and, let's be honest, your mind is usually in a foggy state—from consuming one too many or weeping over your lost life savings.
So we wanted to help you navigate the nearly 10 unique spaces to grab a drink, catch some live music, or enjoy a brief respite in Horseshoe Casino until you're ready go out and face the big, bad house again.
14Forty: The only 24-hour bar in Baltimore is so named because there are 1,440 minutes in a day. Located in the dead center of the casino, this one is hard to miss. The multi-level space features a semi-circular bar at its base, a stage above the TVs, and a mezzanine lounge for bottle service and VIP tables. The stage hosts acts like Beatles tribute bands, country music on military appreciation night (Tuesdays), and karaoke contests. The "screen ribbon" that projects various lighting displays can turn into four TVs during sports games. Essentially, this is the nightclub of Horseshoe or the "heartbeat of the casino," as one staffer told me.
B'More Beers: On the bottom floor of the casino is one of our favorite parts, the marketplace, which eschews most casinos' chain-friendly inclusions for locally owned businesses (like Heavy Seas, Mallow Bar, and Tark's). At its center is B'More Beers—a completely local beer bar with 22 taps that rotate regionally sourced craft beer. The bar features all the usual suspects you'd think of: Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, DuClaw, Union Craft, The Brewer's Art, Raven Beer, and Stillwater. The bar will be hosting a Black Friday beer tasting on Nov. 28 from noon-6 p.m., where tickets get you 10 5-oz. samples and 15-percent discounts at the marketplace.
Twisted Yard Bar: Another marketplace location is Twisted Yard, which isn't local but instead New Orleans-inspired. The bar serves up frozen drinks, with your choice of liquor, that come in a souvenir pint glass glass ($8-10) or a more festive 36-inch tall plastic vessel ($15). Flavors include strawberry, piña colada, peach, lemon ice, mojito, rum runner, and margarita. (Plus, if you're feeling bold, you can "energize" your drink with Red Bull for a $4 up-charge).
Tag Bar: If you just can't shake the urge to gamble, there is Tag. This is a sports junkie's heaven with electronic table games at every seat, more than 40 televisions throughout, and a constant ticker tape of sports updates. We didn't sample anything at this flashy, bright red space for fear of sensory overload, but Tag boasts "beers from around the world" on its website.
Diamond Lounge: This one was extremely hard to find (top floor, back corner) but with good reason as this is Horseshoe's exclusive VIP lounge. The space is only open to Diamond or Seven Stars level players (the top two tiers at Caesar's). Maybe if you play your cards right, you'll end up in this swanky exclusive space—adjacent to the beautifully elaborate Asian gambling rooms and with access to outside balconies.
Johnny Sánchez: This John Besh-Aarón Sánchez hybrid restaurant boasts a huge bar and a tequila-tasting room with nearly 50 version of the agave-based liquor. The tasting room is small, though there has somehow been room for private dinners, and diners can sample tequila flights inside or rent it out (in advance) for group events. Of course, there is also a standard cocktail list—we recommend the fragrant and spicy jalapeño margarita or the boozy prickly pear lemonade with Maker's Mark. (Soak it up with delicious tostadas, like the crab and jalapeño or pumpkin and pomegranate.) The restaurant also features salsa lessons on Thursday nights and live flamenco guitar on the weekends.
Guy Fieri Restaurant & Bar: If want you want is over-the-top and excessive Americana, this is the place. The cocktail menu sounds like something out of a hair-metal biopic (there is actually something called the Crazy Hagar made with Sammy's own rum) combined with all your college go-to libations (lemon-drop and sweet-tea cocktails abound). If you're so moved, there are also frozen shots made with liquid nitrogen. The Buffalo lollipop wings passed our bar-food test and there's a courtyard right outside that features live music for Ravens tailgates and, otherwise, is open seasonally (April-October).
Jack Binion's Steak: For something a bit more upscale, there is the white-tablecloth atmosphere of Jack Binion's Steak. The front room features an illuminated marbled bar and hight-top tables, as well as live jazz on the weekends. (Throughout December, there will also be a jazz brunch.) We really liked the iPad-based wine list, which was easy to use and constantly updated to reflect what's in stock. We tried a perfectly temperature-controlled bottle of Sanctuary 2010 cabernet sauvignon that would pair well with many of the cuts on the menu.
It should be noted that all of the bar spaces abide by the same happy-hour deal: On Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m., drinks are 2-for-1 and appetizers are half-priced.
Good luck out there!