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Baltimore Nightlife

Duckpin Bowling

Legend has it that this esoteric sport, with its squat pins and light, melon-size bowling ball, was invented a century ago in Baltimore. It's been a popular mid-Atlantic pastime ever since. Just east of Little Italy, Mustang Alleys sports four duckpin and eight regular lanes. A classy venue with a well-stocked bar, high-def TV screens, and upscale comfort-food menu (crab nachos, lobster mac 'n' cheese), it's open daily until midnight and attracts an under-30, professional crowd. About a mile east, on the outskirts of Fells Point, family-friendly Patterson Bowling Center has been setting down pins since 1927, making it the oldest operating duckpin alley in the nation. Its 12 lanes are open for league play as well as walk-ins. There's a small snack bar, but you can also bring in your own food—and beer.

Mustang Alleys open Mondays through Wednesdays 4:30 pm to midnight, Thursdays through Sundays noon to midnight.

Patterson Bowling Center open Mondays 1 to 9:30 pm, Tuesdays 9:30 am to 9:30 pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 1 pm to 9:30 pm, Fridays 10 am to 12:30 am, Sundays 2 pm to 9 pm.

James Joyce Pub
616 South President Street
Baltimore , Maryland
Tel: 410 727 5107

A literary Irish pub may seem incongruous amidst the condos and hotel construction in Harbor East, but this six-year-old establishment manages to feel authentic. Owner Jimmy Fagan, an Irishman who formerly managed The Dubliner, one of Washington, D.C.'s most popular bars, had this pub designed and built in the Emerald Isle then shipped over and fitted on-site. The padded-leather bar stools, wooden booths, and beaded-glass panels provide a hale atmosphere for sipping a well-built pint of Guinness draft or a dram of single-malt Scotch. Pub grub includes beef and Guinness stew, and the Molly Bloom salad (grilled Atlantic salmon over greens, cherry tomatoes, and hard-boiled egg, tossed with onion relish dressing). Live music makes things a bit rowdier on the weekends.

Open daily 11 am to 2 am.

Max's Taphouse
737 South Broadway
Baltimore , Maryland
Tel: 410 675 6297

A wildly popular watering hole for 20-something night crawlers, this Fells Point tavern caters to a classier postcollege crowd with pressed-tin ceilings and hardwood floors, and Maryland's largest selection of suds. There are 80 beers on tap and more than 1,000 by the bottle, heavily weighted to rare imports and obscure microbrews: Try the Ottersan, a Japanese-style amber, or Cantillon, a Cognac-casked Belgian. There are tables, but for service it's best to make yourself seen at the bar and heard over the '60s soundtrack.

Open daily 11 am to 2 am.

Pub Dog
20 East Cross Street
Baltimore , Maryland
Tel: 410 727 6077

This ultrafriendly bar in Federal Hill, a revitalized neighborhood south of the Inner Harbor, gets high marks for its house-crafted microbrews and individual-size ten-inch pizzas. A bit removed from the axis of tourism, it attracts a local, diverse crowd. A pair of draft beers cost just $4—quaff both a Brown Dog (a nutty ale) and a Reservoir Dog (an IPA-stout "mixed breed") while nipping at a Baja Chihuahua pizza topped with chipotle sauce, mozzarella, lime-marinated chicken, spinach, sliced tomato, red peppers, red onions, and hot-pepper flakes. The third floor has a classic barroom-style shuffleboard table and, of course, prints of dogs playing poker.

Open daily 5 pm to 2 am.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.