I lived in Baltimore for many years, so while reading this New York Times piece about Canton, I thought of some additional insider info I could share. First of all, no one calls the heart of the neighborhood by its real name, O’Donnell Square. But it was nice of Mr. Villano to fill us in on who Captain O’Donnell was. Locals just call it “the Square”.
Secondly, (and I’m sure some native Baltimoreans will argue with me on this one), I think that the very best crab dip in the city is served at Looney’s Pub. My mouth is watering as I write this…it’s the cheesiest, served with veggies and warm bread for dipping, and they’ll bring you more of either if you ask. It’s the best sports bar in town, at least through when I left there in 2005.
Next up, the beer. Sure, Yuengling is a popular beer in Baltimore, but what about Natty Boh, and the mustached grin that smiles down on Canton from a tower atop the former site of the National Brewery building? It’s Baltimore’s beer! The Boh man’s presence is also strongly felt within the walls of Nacho Mamas, an institution on Canton’s Square. (Shame on Mr. Villano for leaving this one out!) This Mexican eatery is small, so you almost always have to wait — but a visit to Baltimore is just not complete until you’ve sipped a margarita from a hubcap and signed your name in chalk on the bathroom wall. Need I say more?