Baltimore Comedy Factory has nonviolently busted guts with nationally sourced joke-slingers for nearly three decades. Several nights a week, the club schedules sets by stars pulled onto the stage fresh from appearances in blockbuster comedies and hit TV shows. Tucked within the Power Plant Live complex, the expansive new location finds room for comfy table seating, a beach-themed bar pouring sodas and cocktails, and an ample supply of super-size prop sunglasses.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon's Chicago-based piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
Luckie's menu is filled to the page brim with salads, sandwiches, and pizzas for sporty Sunday brunch-goers and late-night libationists. Sip an after-work brew and pass around a plate of buffalo, barbecue, honey mustard, or Old Bay wings ($9), or settle in for a bigger evening meal with a full rack of baby back ribs ($16), which you can pile on top of one of six pizzas ($9–$12) like the margherita ($9). Sandwiches and burgers anchor the rest of the menu with two-handed tastes such as the tuna melt with aged cheddar, sliced apples, and strips of bacon ($9).
While technically a chain restaurant, Houlihan's bedazzles its chain with glitter and winsome intrigue, boldly preparing every last bite of its savory fare by hand. Hosts of diverse ingredients culminate inside one open kitchen where professional food handlers slice, sauté, marinate, and arrange food to its tasty and aesthetic best, allowing each meal to display its individuality before being broken down into individual nutrients for absorption in the body. Casual dining is elevated by meticulously designed restaurants that pepper a patron's experience with a playlist of hand-picked tunes and customer-designed coasters that give a voice to condensation-catchers.
Tavern 101's chefs pair the menu's pub fare with quenching libations inside a historic, eco-friendly eatery, which was lauded by The Baltimore Sun for its inviting ambiance. Pamper palates with the crab-cake sandwich's appetite-soothing crustacean chunks slathered in tartar sauce ($14.99), or tooth-trek across a flatbread pizza's terrain, lush with basil, olives, and feta ($7.99). Chic lettuce-and-tomato garb adorns the Tavern burger's all natural Black Angus patty, readying it for the runway at the Hamburglar's annual fashion show ($7.99).
All Stars Sports Bar's chefs sizzle up hearty pub grub within a lively eatery boasting a long, sleek bar and a roomy, wood-floored dining area. Recharge stomach batteries with a meaty burger or a cheesy mini pizza while admiring the gallery of wall hangings depicting athletic triumphs and mathletic algorithms. Ice-cold gulps of domestic draft beer, smoothly poured into glasses by one of the enthusiastic and often jersey-clad bartenders, complement chew-infused conversations about stats, fantasy football, or the ancient practice of mascot husbandry.
Lisa Markiewicz lends more than her zen-like surname to the wine bar and lounge she recently opened in Mount Vernon. Her extensive knowledge of pan-Mediterranean cuisine—including grecian tapas and grecian lamb chops—informs the menu at Waterstone Bar & Grille, and her love of the region’s signature libation shines through in a drink menu that features more than 100 wines sold at retail price.
The restaurant’s chic lounge space, recently opened for lunch in addition to dinner, strikes a balance between Old-World elegance and the hipness of the Mount Vernon neighborhood that surrounds it. Exposed-brick walls give way to plum pastels—a contrast mediated by the gauzy black curtains draped over windows and doorways, and the restaurant's prime location puts theaters such as the Hippodrome, Lyric, and Centerstage within close walking distance.