Food & Drink

Review: Baja Tap Brings a Summer Party Vibe to Fells Point

The taco and tequila bar opened in November, but seemingly everyone has been waiting for warm weather to pack the outdoor patio.
The the house margarita, plus guacamole and chips. —Photography by Justin Tsucalas

You could feel the buzz from down the street. On a picture-perfect Tuesday in March—the kind of early spring evening when everyone wants to be sipping summery drinks outside—the patio at Baja Tap was crowded. The taco and tequila bar opened in November, and seemingly everyone had been waiting for weather like this to pack the outdoor space.

“Fells Point was definitely our dream neighborhood to open something in Baltimore,” says co-owner Scott Parker, a veteran of the restaurant industry who has owned establishments in Washington and Northern Virginia. “We loved the corner location and the patio with the view of the water.”

Baja Tap occupies the space that previously housed Bond Street Social. The interior, highlighted by a long bar and communal, beer hall-style tables, is utilitarian with a bit of a Southwestern flair. Parker said the concept was inspired by trips to Mexico and Southern California, and that does shine through.

Margaritas are the star here, unsurprisingly, and they’re done well. The classic version (available for $7 during weekday happy hour) is the top-seller, but for those who like a little more spice, the Caliente, made with jalapeño-infused Jose Cuervo Silver tequila, habanero agave, and house margarita mix, delivers a jolt.

The Cucumber Skinny, which uses Milagro Silver tequila, doesn’t skimp on the cucumber flavor. Our favorite was the Smoke Paloma, a mezcal drink with lime juice, grapefruit soda, and simple syrup. Red and white sangria are also available, along with a selection of Mexican and American beers on tap.

The food that emerges from chef Greg Lloyd’s kitchen is inspired by the cuisine of Baja California. Among the best things we tried was the guacamole, which comes in three varieties, including one with grilled pineapple and puffed corn, and another with crabmeat and Old Bay.

Nachos, quesadillas, and other standards are here, but tacos are the main attraction. Two of the best are the birria and the Buffalo chicken, which had plenty of hot chicken chunks jammed into the flour tortilla. If the large number of options paralyzes you with indecision, go with the Torre de Tacos, a selection of 24 street-style tacos for $95. Bring some friends. Most people do just that.

A party vibe envelops Baja Tap, which offers bottle service and features DJs and live music. While we have only visited during happy hour and dinner, the place turns raucous late-night on weekends. We know this because televisions behind the bar play scenes of twenty- and thirtysomethings dancing and drinking the night away. (Oh, to be young.)

That March night on the patio, the crowd was more mixed. Parents with their kids, people out for a post-work drink, and couples with dogs (which are welcome on the patio) all happily munched on chips and queso, grilled sweet corn, and, of course, tacos while they savored salty sips of margaritas.

It felt like summer, and Baja Tap felt like the place to be.