Weeknights in Baltimore bring a question to choosing a dining destination: Who has the best specials? With so many restaurant choices and a plethora of enticing drink and dinner specials, deciding on where to go to avoid heating up your own kitchen can be a challenge.
Fortunately, Bartenders in Canton is an easy answer to the question of how to dodge the oven and enjoy a casual evening out during the week. Conveniently located right on Boston St., Bartenders is a small, dimly lit pizza joint that is the perfect place to hunker down in a booth, or hang out at the bar when you need a night away from home and some top notch pizza and drinks.
On the night of my most recent visit, I was fortunate enough to stop in on $8 pizza night (Monday). With most pizzas typically hovering around the $11 to $13 range, this is a nice break in price for Bartenders’ well made pizzas.
In addition to the pizzas, we decided to celebrate Monday Night Football with an order of wings as well. Sauced in one of four flavors (Hot, BBQ, Old Bay or Buffalo) we asked for a mixture of BBQ and Buffalo, rather than one or the other, and the bartender pleasantly fulfilled our request.
Our wings, amply covered in the mixture of sauces for which we asked, were delicious and served with the requisite bleu cheese and celery. The pizza, half just cheese, the other half with pepperoni, had a perfectly crispy crust, a well seasoned sauce and pepperonis with just the right amount of crunch around the turned up edges.
While we stuck with a fairly simple pizza choice, Bartenders does offer quite a variety of options that include anything from White Pizza, to a meat and vegetable covered pie that hardly leaves off any topping ingredient on the menu! For those looking for a pizza choice with an upscale feel, the Greco, made with housemade sauce, lump crab, shrimp, mozzarella and parmesan is the ultimate choice.
In addition to pizzas, Bartenders does offer some salads and sandwiches. Particularly interesting is their grilled cheese made on pizza dough. Additionally, appetizer include standard bar fare like nachos, steamed shrimp, and the wings that we tried.
Of course, any place called Bartenders should be expected to have a quality drink list. Bartenders doesn’t disappoint. Their beer list included, in addition to the standard domestics, a variety of local and semi-local (think Dogfish Head and Yards Brewing in Philadelphia) brews. To start, my dining partner chose a Yards Love Stout, currently on tap and always a satisfying brew on a cool winter night. Their wine list features a variety of reds and whites, by the glass and the bottle, and our bartender, Andrew, was more than happy to give a recommendation. Both glasses of red, one syrah and one garnacha, were top quality wines and paired beautifully with the meal. The $1 off our already reasonably priced drinks for happy hour made helped them go down that much more smoothly.
In addition to having a great selection of beer and wine, Bartenders does, of course, turn out cocktails as well. However, the real story on drinks at Bartenders involves one type of liquor and a recent award. In September of this year, Baltimore’s City Paper revealed that Bartenders has an amazing selection of bourbon on their shelves, at least 20 varieties, and thereby named them Baltimore’s Best Bourbon Bar. Impressive!
Bartenders runs specials on food and drinks nearly every night of the week starting when they open at 4 p.m., making it an ideal casual dining destination. On Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, Bartenders opens at noon making it a good choice for lunch, dinner, or your destination for football watching on Sunday.
And if you don’t enjoy the football on television, or chatting with the regulars and bartenders, they’ve been clever enough to include boxes of Trivial Pursuit. They seem to have thought of everything.