Drinking in the Rye at Fells Point, Baltimore

Baltimore is known for the Orioles, Camden Yards, the Ravens (nee Colts), Fort McHenry and Edgar Allan Poe. But, if the city had a drink of historical choice, it’d be Rye Whiskey.

According to the experts, Rye was the mainstay of the Baltimore cocktail scene before the foolishness of Prohibition – the booze that made the city famous. During a recent travel story exploration of the city and a stroll through its historic heart in the Fells Point neighborhood, I came across a mixology hub that proudly wears the name of the area’s distilled past.

Related: 21st Amendment, New Orleans: Dedicated to Mixology

Rye feels like it’s been in Fells Point as long as the colonial city stood with its uneven brick walls and well-worn furniture. Bartender Doug Attwell keeps the atmosphere subdued and social, inviting the locals to explore both classic cocktails and Rye’s collection of unique recipes.

To get a feel for the overall menu, I tried two different Rye creations. The Pisco Sour uses egg white to smooth out its sour, sharper edges. The Daiquiri takes the classic recipe that intrigued the likes of Ernest Hemingway and modernizes it with Banks 5 Island Rum. A traveler should focus on Rye’s unique offerings, but craft beers and classic cocktail recipes subsequent visits.

Though it plays against a pile of tourist-friendly competition in Fells Point, Rye sets itself apart by establishing itself as a local social hub — bringing in a steady flow of young, hip locals eager to get away from the common, cookie cutter rail drinks and mass market beers served up by most taverns and pubs. Everything from themed cocktail nights to regularly scheduled mixology lectures make Rye not just a prime drinks spot, but a meeting place for Baltimore’s local culture.

If you want to get a quick feel for the best of downtown Baltimore culture while sampling a unique collection of tastes, you can catch it at Rye.