Cocktail Prices: $9-$15
Address: 31 E. Cross Street, Baltimore
Federal Hill is where I grew up. No, not literally. I spent my twenties there. I danced at McGerks. I spent game days at Mother's. I ate my hangovers away at Spoons. As time went on, I spent less and less time in Federal Hill and longed to recapture the good old days. So when I heard that a "cocktail club" was opening in my old play ground, I knew I had to be there.
I stepped up to Bookmakers, greeted by a gorgeous plaque and a wooden door adorned with the bust of a horse. I feared that I needed to know a secret code or handshake to get in. I swallowed my apprehension and stepped inside.
A cool marble bar top before an altar of booze. Shelves of inviting spirits beneath luminous archways. I sat upon a perfectly cushioned barstool not sure if I was there to make confessions or create them. Either way, I knew I had found sanctuary.
I sipped The Witch's Word while reminiscing about every birthday spent on Cross Street. I moved on to a Heart Shaped Box remembering my best friend Amanda singing Delta Dawn at the top of her lungs to no one in particular. By the time I had the Bookmakers Old Fashioned, I knew that, even though we had just met, Bookmakers and I were family.
I've been back many times, it seems I can't stay away. It calls to me. As I make that pilgrimage from Mt. Vernon down to Federal Hill I know that once I get there I'll be at rest. "My church offers no absolute," but it does offer chartreuse on tap. And that, I feel, is good for the soul.