Food & Drink

Mini Bars

New bar spinoffs are making us extra thirsty.

A visit to The Boathouse Canton provides many options. Maybe you’ll wander indoors to the dining room to slurp oysters. Maybe you’ll grab a seat on the deck overlooking the docked boats bobbing in the harbor. Or, as of this summer, maybe you’ll make a right at the entrance and head into The DockBar, an outdoor space replete with a dedicated food-and-drink menu, games of cornhole, and plenty of crushes to spare.

The DockBar (2809 Boston St., 410-773-9795) is the latest in a trend of breakout bars—a way for drinking establishments to re-brand sections of their spaces, offering exclusive menus, signature events, and, in many cases, the best views of the city.

Such is the case with DockBar, with its dog-friendly patio, pavilion bar, and seating area that’s open from April through October. The outside area features a station for smoking and shucking, and for watching O’s games on TV. We recommend fare such as tasty ahi tuna tacos with pickled red onions and refreshing orange crushes (just $5 during weekday happy hours).

If you want to make a night of it, head uptown (both geographically and in altitude) to experience The Lord Baltimore Hotel’s outpost, the LB Sky Bar (20 W. Baltimore St., 855-539-8400). Located on the 19th floor of the French Renaissance-style hotel, the sky bar offers impeccable views of the downtown skyline, and an up-close look at the art deco NationsBank building. Open Wednesday through Saturday evenings (when weather permits), the rooftop space seats 65 at high-top tables and lounge chairs.

Though the bar offers a selection of sushi, we were intrigued by the “trilogy” menu (three small plates) and opted for the Italian, comprised of Parma ham and dried figs, eggplant caponata, and a Caprese salad. On what was a balmy day, we went with a refreshing Sky Collins (Hendrick’s gin, muddled cucumber and honey, lemon, cranberry, and club soda).

End your bar crawl by meandering a few blocks north to Ware House 518’s Louie Bar (518 N. Charles St., 443-869-3382), which pays homage to the building’s former occupant, Louie’s Bookstore Café. The literary-themed space, which was re-branded last fall, is dedicated to from-scratch craft cocktails and is open Friday and Saturday nights.

Louie Bar’s menu is divided into bookish “chapters.” Among them: Adaptations (twists on classics like a Sazerac), Short Prose (served up in rocks glasses), and Tall Tales (served over ice in Collins glasses). We went the “when in Rome” route and tried The Vernon with Leblon Cachaça, Fernet-Branca, and lavender bitters. The drink was just as a cocktail should be: three ingredients that ideally balance fruit, bitter, and aromatics.