Baltimore is a historic city, having been in existence since before America was a nation. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore has always been a port town, welcoming fishing and naval vessels alike. And like any port town, there has always been a healthy demand for bars and taverns. The demand continues to this day, and some of the bars and taverns found in Baltimore now have been around for quite a while. The ones which have lasted have done so because of their quality as much as their history. Stop in to any of these locations, take in some of the rich older times spoken of by the walls within – and have a drink while you’re there!

The Horse You Came In On Saloon
1626 Thames St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 327-8111

The United States of America became an independent country in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence officially liberated them from the control of England. One year before, in 1775, a humble saloon branded The Horse You Came In On opened in Fell’s Point, and has remained a local institution ever since. Known simply as “The Horse” by the locals, this Baltimore bar has the distinction of being the oldest American bar still in existence, making it quite the historic landmark. Its rich history has seen a number of interesting events over the years. It is rumored to have been the last destination of poor Edgar Allen Poe before he wandered off into the fog-shrouded night, never to return. It also managed to remain open during prohibition. The bar serves up several local craft beers along with the usual selection of spirits. Most nights you can enjoy live music, and if you like the history, feel free to browse their merchandise!

Owl Bar
1 East Chase St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 347-0888

The Owl Bar is located in the basement of the grand old Belvedere Hotel, built in 1903. One must enter the opulent lobby of this beautify testimony to early twentieth century architecture in order to descend to the low key bar beneath. The bar, formerly a speakeasy, has not quite shed the intimate and subversive feeling of sneaking a drink in the 1920s. One will find the brick walls studded with stained glass – an elegant feel which makes it a favorite for after-parties of the weddings that take place in the hotel above. On tap, you will find local craft beers, and an affordable menu with filling and delicious fare, familiar to pub patrons.

The Cat’s Eye Pub
1730 Thames St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 276-9866

The waterfront community of Fell’s Point dates back around 300 years, and The Cat’s Eye Pub is a product of this community, opening it’s doors 40 years ago, and becoming a community mainstay every since. The pub is situated in buildings with a long history dating back to early times in the waterfront community, and stories of pub hauntings by these sea-fairing spirits are often passed around the maritime-themed bar with a smile and a wink. But real spirits haunt this charming establishment: be prepared to sample local craft beers, plus a wide variety of international bottled lagers, ales, and stouts. Make sure you enjoy the live music while you drink.

Related: Best Historic Baltimore Tours

The Waterfront Hotel
1710 Thames St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 537-5055

The building in which this pub and restaurant is housed was built in 1771 as a private residence, and then converted into a hotel a decade later. As hotels of the time were also bars and restaurants, Waterfront has maintained the name “Hotel” in their name, and the bar and restaurant in their business ever since. The amount of Baltimore history which these walls have seen is truly impressive, but then it would be in 230 years. As a famous barfly, Poe honored the establishment with his presence – as did Civil War troops, Baltimore athletic teams, and European nobility. The bar is still a fantastic place to spend an evening listening to live music (a tradition started by a traveling fiddle salesman in the early 20th century), enjoying mixed drinks and local brews, and savoring a truly mouth-watering menu – all within a venue draped in impressive history.

Bertha’s Restaurant & Bar
734 S. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 327-5795

It’s difficult to drive anywhere in Maryland – indeed, in the tri-state area – without spotting a bumper-sticker that reads “Eat Bertha’s Mussels.” Based on this slogan alone, Bertha’s has built up quite a reputation – but then, they have had 40 years to do so. Indeed, the mussels are worth a try: large and juicy, and with a variety of dipping sauces that greatly enhance the appeal. The decor will tell you that this place has been around for forty years, since they have kept it looking classic, but tasteful – with stained wood and stained glass as the primary theme. At the bar you will find well-blended cocktails and a good variety of beer, and on the stage, live music.

Related: Best Sports Bars In Baltimore

Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.