I'm only a tourist, not a local, so can't really answer your question specifically but am bumping it up, so maybe the locals will add on.
In addition, I've been to lunch in both areas several times --- but not dinner --- so I'm no expert on dinner and bar-hopping.
As a regular Baltimore tourist (up to 2 weeks a year) and with you only spending one night for a special occasion, it seems a lot of trouble to hit both the Inner Harbor and Fells Point, on the same evening.
If it were me, I'd pick one of the two areas and do the dinner and bar-hopping in the same area rather than trying to make them both in one night. There are tons of good restaurants and bars in both areas. If you had three nights, you could spread out, but with just one night? Plenty to do without having to run around/across the harbor.
Hope that helps.
Hopefully a local will weigh in.
Can you give us a better idea of what kind of dinner you are looking for - pricewise? There are some really special restaurants in Fells Point, too. Where you are staying, you will certainly get to see the inner harbor area and stroll around the promenade, but I personally prefer the intimacy and historic charm of Fells Point. Do you want a restaurant with a great view, or one with an intimate ambiance?
Price is not really an issue but we'd like some place with good food and great ambiance. I'm just looking for something memorable. Thanks.
Dinner - my favorite topic. here are a few that I like- different types of food, mid price range... general rule of thumb is to avoid the harbor for food, it's mostly chains and overpriced (with a few exceptions)
Pazo - Harbor East - tapas, fancy, if you order bottles of the house wine (it's good) and choose your items wisely, you can get away with a reasonable check. It's walking distance to fells point
mamas on the halfshell - In canton (next neighborhood east of Fells) really great... fresh seafood, it's a very Baltimore-local type of feel - one of my favorites... great fruit crushes and oyster shots... it's in the middle of a bunch of bars, Helens Garden, the bar in the restaurant of Mamas, or the speakeasy probably wouldn't be too young - some bars can get crowded, but they're all pretty close together so you can pop in and out
Sammys Trattoria - Italian restaurant in Mt. Vernon (which is downtown, very different feel from fells point) . just went there for the first time last weekend, it was amazing! from here, you'd probably go out in the mt. vernon area -- more lounges whereas fells point is mostly pubs
Black Olive - right in Fells on a cobblestone street - Greek restaurant with really fabulous seafood- they even let you pick your own fish from the case... it's in a little rowhome so you almost miss it if you're not looking for it - but it's really a gem...
There's also some good Pub food in Fells if you want something less formal -
Slainte Irish Pub
One Eyed Mikes
Waterfront (some people love it, i think it's okay - better for drinking than eating if you ask me)
For Fells Point Bars, definitely check out the bars listed above, and the Cats Eye for some live music. have fun!Edited: 04 March 2010, 07:02
Wow - Shannonziggy - great summary! I really like Black Olive, too. It's a very cozy spot and definitely memorable. If you go, you'll want reservations because they don't have very many tables at all. If price is literally no object -Charleston is food heaven. McCormick & Schmick's, although a chain, has good food, and beautiful views of the harbor. Almost any of the restaurants in Little Italy are decent, but I don't find them memorable - maybe it's just me.
For the restaurant, I'd also vote for Pazo, between Pier 5 and Fells Point in Harbor East. Kali's Court and Louisiana are also nices restaurants located in Fells Point. Bar hopping is also much more fun in Fells Point. John Steven Ltd, the Wharf Rat, Silante, One Eyed Mike's, Max's, Bertha's are all fun places, and there are many more to stumble across and enjoy.
Thanks so much for all the suggestions. Sounds like there are a lot of bars and restaurants to try. We may have to come back for a longer visit!
Definitely come back for a longer visit. I go every year and never run out of things to do (or places to eat) and there is always something for *next time.*
Thanks for the list, Shannon. I'm going to use this myself in September.
Totally agree with Shannon on this one. If you want memorable meals stay away from the Inner Harbor. All of her suggestions are superb and memorable on their own. Many people ask about things to do in the Inner Harbor and I sometimes find it hard to keep someone in the Inner Harbor AND show them Baltimore at the same time. IH is where I go to be treated like a tourist in my own town.
I'm also going to recommend Fells Point for bar hopping given that your husband is 50. Here are some specific bars where you will see people of all ages:
Cat's Eye Pub
The Inner Harbor tends to have more chain restaurants, etc, which, honestly, are the same wherever you go, so I'm only going to recommend places in Fells Point.
One restaurant you might consider is Sam's Kid (I know the name is a little off-putting). They just opened in Fells Point and I've been there twice so far for lunch and was blown away. Excellent food, not expensive. Pazo is another good choice, as is Kali's Court, Black Olive, and another new tapas place called Tapas Adela.