It can be hard to unwind at Charm City’s local haunts when the clamor of sports fans is galvanized at every touchdown or fumble. Even some Ravens fans sometimes crave an escape from the commotion of Purple Pride for a relaxing drink and good conversation. For avoiding football raucous-— even when the Steelers are in town-— these bars prove to be swanky without being pretentious, chic without being exclusive, and deliver both impeccable beverages and ambiance.

Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Idle Hour
201 E. Fort Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21230

From the outside, this bar could be deemed just another hole in the wall. But step inside and you’ll find yourself enveloped by Idle Hour’s muted class and inimitable style. Smoky wood paneling is paired with a chilled ambiance created by the low lighting and art décor. Idle Hour is enigmatically alluring and the staff is always personable. Don’t leave without trying the infamous pickle back, which consists of a shot of Jack Daniels followed by pickle juice. Sound disgusting, but it’s delicious. Find out why.

Related: Best Bars To Take A Client In Maryland

Grand Cru
527 E. Belvedere Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21212

There’s no shortage of variety when it comes to picking something to sip on at Grand Cru. Three dozen small-vintner wines are available by the glass, and beyond the bar Grand Cru doubles as a shop, offering patrons more than 300 bottles from around the world by prestigious importers. For those more in the mood for a spirit, enjoy a litany of creative cocktails. Try the Bellini-— prosecco, fruit puree, a culmination of sugars, bitters and champagne along with a curl of orange peel in the champagne cocktail. Grand Cru also offers several tasty noshes to pair with its wines and cocktails, such as bread and hummus, cheese plates and smoked meat samplers.

Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery

Vino Rosina
507 S. Exeter St
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410) 528-8600

Vino Rosina proves that it’s hip to be square… literally. The cube of a building is quaint without being cramped and emanates style that manages to be both posh and welcoming at the same time. The accolades Vino has received from critics and patrons alike as one of the best wine bars in Baltimore are well deserved. With a selection of more than 150 bottled wines and 50 wines by the glass, patrons may safely be more than a bit choosy. If you find yourself having trouble deciding, the staff is extremely knowledgeable in finding the perfect sip for every palate, along with what pairs the best with its scrumptious plates. Wine isn’t Vino Rosina’s only specialty, however.  The bar offers award-winning, house-infused cocktails that are both inventive and delicious, along with an eclectic beer selection.

Five: A Martini Bar
106 W. Padonia St.
Timonium, Md. 21093
(410) 308-1800

An outpost of the Christopher Daniel Restaurant, Five appears from the outside to be the type of upscale martini bar where you are expected to sip with your heels on and pinkie out. Don’t let the exterior fool you. Five emphasizes its lounge component with an interior that is adorned with comfy couches and friendly atmosphere, making for an idyllic place to unwind. Its ultimate Cosmos are good enough to put Sex and the City to shame. Speaking of New York, the New York lemon drop is a refreshing burst of citrus that makes for an invigorating cocktail on the last of Charm City’s warm days. Five also offers happy hours for food and drink Monday through Friday.

Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images

13.5% Wine Bar
1117 W. 36th St.
Baltimore, Md. 21211
(410) 889-1064

One step into the modernly decorated 13.5% and you’ll feel like you died and went to oenophile heaven. Lining an entire wall to your left is the 30-by-10-foot Wall of Wine, which features more than 200 bottles for purchase. The wines are of exceptional quality without being exceptionally pricy. In fact, most would probably run the same price or even a buck more at one at your local liquor store. If you’re new to wine or just want to learn more, the almost excessively pleasant servers are more than ready to educate on any of the wines on the menu, along with 13.5%’s robust list of beers, cocktails and sumptuous noshes. Outside of bottle prices-— usually $12 to $18 and very small corkage fees-— everything is reasonable, with specials changing daily such as a “No Corkage Fee” on Tuesdays, and $2 off all wine by the glass on Thursdays and Fridays.

Related: Best Wine Bars In Maryland

Tracy Dye has always had an affinity toward writing and the arts. A fan of exploring all the hidden gems in Baltimore outside of her work and studies, Tracy is thrilled for the opportunity to bring residents all the latest on nightlife and music in the area. Her work can be found on