On first glance, Bartenders (2218 Boston Street, 410-534-2337) looks like any other Canton or Fells Point bar into which you might stumble: tin ceiling, plenty of TVs tuned to sports, and plenty of baseball-capped patrons downing their suds. But here and there, you'll see a couple leaning in close to each other and delicately touching thin-stemmed wine glasses. Bartenders has a surprisingly ambitious wine program— especially fun on Wednesday nights, when they feature four more unusual wines that aren't on their normal list. Ever heard of Monastrell? Well, now you have, and Bartenders even prints a helpful guide to navigate you through such little-known grapes. Most bottles are about $16, and well worth trying. Bartenders also serves a limited food menu—mostly pizza. Thin-crust devotees may not care for Bartenders' pies, but if you don't mind a puffier crust, they make a good light dinner for two. And really, you need a thicker crust to handle toppings like andouille sausage, roasted red peppers, and onions—or, our favorite, the Greco, with shrimp, lump crab, mozzarella, and parmesan. Bartenders is easily overwhelmed by crowds, so it may be visited best during off-peak hours; if your bartender isn't busy, he'll be eager to talk wines (or beer) with you.
Bartenders has suds, pizza ... and old-vine Carignan wine.
Issue date: October, 2007