You've got to grow up here to have that soft twang as the city's name rolls off your tongue. Newcomers never quite acquire the knack, but the local habit of calling everyone "hon" is much more easily adopted.
This big city has a long history of embracing immigrants from many lands. It has an almost small-town way of mixing people up together, whoever they are, whatever their inclinations -- a world of difference from nearby Washington. You won't stand around like a wallflower at bars here for long.
Baltimore/Washington International has easy rapid rail and bus connections to downtown.
Penn Station is the arrival point for Amtrak trains as well as commuter trains.
Baltimore has good rapid trasit from the airport, through the city and Union Station, to northern suburbs; also a subway line from Owings Mills in Baltimore County, through Downtown to Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore. See MTA for details. The rest of the city is badly served by buses, so for convenience, skip the aggravation and rent a car.
Mount Vernon. The semi-official “gay village” occupies the north side of Mount Vernon, along North Charles. It’s about halfway between the Inner Harbor and Johns Hopkins University.
Local Media & Resources
The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore has services for, and information about the local gay community.
For locations and website links to businesses listed below, see our Baltimore gay map & listings pages.
Bars & Clubs
The gay village area bars include the Hippo and Grand Central anchor at the center, with the Drinkery, the Gallery, Jays, and Leon's not far away. The 1722 and the Eagle are a bit further north, around North Avenue. Other bars are scattered all over the metro area. For locations and web links see maps & listings; for photos from around Baltimore see pics & events.
Club 1722 (1722 N Charles St) mixed 18-plus crowd, weekend after-hours dance club with hip-hop and top-40 on Fridays, gayest on Saturdays for house and techno.
Backdoor Lounge (at Gold Club, 5801 Pulaski Hwy), Thursday night male nude strippers, private rear entrance, full menu food and bar. Baltimore Eagle (2022 N Charles St) leather men's cruise bar with Full Moon, and Blackout parties, plus buck-fifty draft beers for bare chested men Sundays.
Club Bunns (608 W. Lexington St) mostly men, hip hop and house music dance club with go-go boys, in Mt Vernon.
Eclipse Fridays at Club Orpheus (1003 E Pratt St) Baltimore's wildest underground dance party in Little Italy, young 18-plus mixed crowd, pansexual, goth and fethish.
Drinkery (203 W Read St) neighborhood bar with family vibe, good jukebox tunes, mixed ages, mostly men.
Gallery (1735 Maryland Ave) mixed men and women locals' tavern with food, good jukebox music variety, bottles to go.
Grand Central (1001 N Charles St) popular video bar and dance club complex with pub, leather bar, upstairs Sapphos women's bar. Special nights include Wet Undies, Lube Wrestliing and game shows.
Hippo (1 W Eager St at Charles) large dance floor, young mixed gender crowd, cabaret and drag shows.
Jay's on Read (225 W Read St) laid-back piano bar has welcoming regulars, and food is served.
Leon's (870 Park Ave) at 52 years, truly a gay institution. Bears' nights Wednesday, Friday and Sundays, popular happy hours, lunch, Sunday brunch, dinner and late night meals, Wi-Fi connections.
Mixers (6037 Belair Rd) mixed gay/straight club, Fridays are gayest, easy parking out on the North East side, weekend DJs, good sounds, patio deck, monthly drag extravaganza.
Paradox Saturdays (1310 Russell St) huge crowd, 18+ mixed-gender dance night in East Baltimore, with hip hop on one floor, house music on the other. Also with restaurant, courtyard seating and half-court basketball.
Port in a Storm (4330 E Lombard St) the city's most established lesbian bar with Tuesday pool tournaments, weekend games and summer cookouts.
Quest (3607 Fleet St) long-time neighborhood cruise and pickup bar retains a bit of the old Highlandtown, and regulars welcome newcomers.
Rowan Tree (1633 S Charles St) upscale neighborly bar with downscale prices and mixed crowd.
Sapphos (1001 N Charles St) women's bar above Grand Central.
Waterstone Bar & Grille (311 W Madison St) Mt Vernon former Coconuts, wine bar, cocktail lounge, Mediterranean cuisine restaurant, good wines, women and mixed crowd.
Big hotels such as the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront (700 Aliceanna St; 410-385-3000) cluster around the Inner Harbor with all the amenities and conveniences of their kind, much like in any big city. But the smaller hotels and Inns scattered around town can provide a far more intimate experience of Baltimore.
1840s Carrollton Inn (50 Albermarle St; 410-385-1840), a bed & breakfast of interconnected rowhouses around central courtyard, has antique furnishings and lavish comforts. Located just north of Little Italy, steps from free shuttle to all points of interest.
4 East Madison Inn (4 E Madison St; 410-332-0880) small and elegant boutique hotel in Mount Vernon, close to restaurants, museums, gay bars, and Amtrak connections at Penn Station.
Abacrombie Restaurant and B&B (58 W Biddle St; 410-244-7227) fine food and accommodations at the heart of Mount Vernon between Johns Hopkins and downtown, close to restaurants and most gay nightlife.
Celies Waterfront Inn (1714 Thames St; 410-522-2323) Fells Point B&B convenient to harbor ferries, shops and restaurants and downtown attractions, or for a quiet retreat getaway.
Grammercy Mansion B&B (1400 Greenspring Valley Rd; 410-486-2405) elegant b&b rooms and suites, antique furnishings and art, fireplaces, bountiful breakfasts, set in tranquil gardens just north of the Baltimore Beltway.
Hotel Brexton (868 Park Ave; 443-478-2100) new boutique hotel in historic building with luxurious accommodations and first-class service, close to most of Baltimore's gay establishments.
Inn at 2920 (2920 Elliott St; 410-342-4450) downtown B&B in Canton, minutes from Fells Point, comfortable rooms, full breakfast and personal concierge services.
Mount Vernon Hotel (24 W Franklin St; 410-727-2000) renovated 1907 building with easy walk to the convention center and Inner Harbor shops and restaurants.
For some suggestions see our map and listings tab, at the top of this page.
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