Wet City
223 W Chase Street
Baltimore, Maryland • 443-873-6699

When I’d been asked to go to a place called Wet City in the heart of the gayborhood, I wasn’t sure if I needed to wear a rubber suit or not. As the establishment explains, “When the rest of the nation went dry during Prohibition, Maryland was the only state that refused to pass an enforcement act to support the federal restrictions…we love calling Baltimore our home, and think this wet city’s history is worth bragging about.” In other words, Maryland kept the alcohol flowing when the rest of the nation did not. Now that have the restaurant’s name all squared away, let me tell you about our dining experience there.

We had met our good friends, Doug and George, for a drink at Leon’s, and mutually decided to give this new place a try. From other friends we’d heard Wet City looked like a high school cafeteria but the food was worth trying. My friends couldn’t be more right. We walked into an open dining room with predominantly white walls. There were not too many tables and chairs, but they do certainly remind one of school days. The bar was busy. Given the open space, noise travelled freely throughout, so it was a bit difficult to hear our friends sitting across from us.

As you’d imagine from a bar, there were many drink options offered, with a mix of hand-crafted beers on tap offering varying levels of alcohol content. For those of you that enjoy beer, the variety is wide for all flavors and tastes. Ryan, our server, told us that there are 20 beers on tap and they change every few weeks. The same is true for their assortment of cocktails. As for the food menu, the opposite is true. Sure, there were starters, salads, sandwiches, small plates, and main entrees, but the options were limited. We decided to share the Chips and Dip ($3), which were homemade with a special dipping sauce. Dinner was off to a good start, the chips were great!

For our meals, we each ordered something different. George ordered the Chicken and Blue Cheese Fritter (smoked blue cheese, strawberry chutney, cilantro – $13), Doug ordered the Grilled Cheese (with chicken confit, apples, pear jam, and goat cheddar – $13), Nick had a simpler meal, Grilled Caesar with Chicken ($14), and I ordered the simplest meal, the No Temp Burger (five-ounces with American cheese, house ketchup, house pickle, and fries – $9). Keep in mind, there are other options on the limited menu ranging from a Lamb Burger (8 ounces, merquez spice, saffron taziki, Cherry Glen feta, packed shallots with fries – $16), Korean Best Empanadas (Korean BBQ short ribs, kimchi vinaigrette, spicy pickles, and chili sauce – $10), and Steak ‘n’ Egg Ramen (braised beef cheek, soft egg, and house noodles, kimchi, and pickles – $14).

Overall, we enjoyed our respective meals well enough. I found it interesting that the menu options seemed more likely to be found at a more traditional restaurant setting, not at a bar. We all agreed that due to the open space, it felt as if we were not dining alone. It was challenging to focus on our friends. So, overall, I’d say if your intentions are to share some drinks and light laughter with your mates, I’d definitely recommend Wet City for that purpose. If you are looking for a place to spend some quality time with your friends and loved ones, start with a drink at Wet City, and then take it to a quieter place.