There are numerous restaurant choices at Harborplace but an invite from the Bookmakers Cocktail Club in Federal Hill to dine could not be turned down. I was enthusiastic to again be able to partake of Executive Chef Sarah Acconcia’s creations and of course, a craft cocktail. We were relishing a staycation at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, which is located across from Harborplace and the harbor. The hotel is less than a block to the Orange, Purple and Banner free Charm City Circulator bus stops – we took the Purple Line to Federal Hill, the Cross Street stop and onward to Bookmakers which is across the street from the Cross Street Market. (Read the full staycation story HERE.)
The dark grey exterior of the building matches the grey covered chairs and high back banquettes, bar stools and walls. The long bar with nine recessed shelving arched sections, becomes the stage for the diverse and vast selection of libations. Wood tables, both small and communal, fill the space with bright notes coming from white chandeliers, sconces and fresh flowers.
A cocktail to start, of course, it is called Bookmakers Cocktail Club. The Blind Melon 2.0 made with St. George Green Chili Vodka, Ancho Reyes, fresh lime, watermelon and a sprig of Thai basil was a yin and yang of heat and refreshing fruit – I’m not sure what the Blind Melon 1.0 was but we were pleased with the 2.0 rendition. Beverage Director Ryan Sparks’ latest creation and new to the cocktail selection was the Corsican Rose with River Rose Gin, Cocchi Americanno, yuzu juice, fresh cucumber juice, mint and rose water – the refreshing description and taste was ideal for a very hot evening.
|Blind Melon 2.0 - Corsican Rose|
Coming to an agreement with my husband on which appetizer to share was difficult because our taste in food aren’t very much aligned when we dine out. On that hot night, I might have chosen the Barren Island oysters or the special strawberry gazpacho, but I conceded to share lamb and ricotta meatballs with a basil chimichurri. Entrees choices were still of the early spring selection: our choices that night were the Bison Meatloaf with grilled asparagus, walnut romesco mashed potatoes and scallions and the Seafood Risotto but instead of Arborio rice it was Anson Mills rice grits, shrimp, bay scallops, squid and pickled chilis (sans the chorizo listed on the menu).
The daily featured dessert arrived in a Mason jar, a strawberry shortcake trifle, which highlighted locally grown strawberries and was topped with whipped cream, strawberry syrup and colorful jimmies for the little kid in all of us.
When we arrived at Bookmakers, it was early, happy hour early and by the time we left the place it had filled up. I expect with their newly introduced happy and reverse happy hours, Bookmakers will be quite busy. Happy hour is seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. offering $2 off all items on the food menu (no daily featured items), $2 off all cocktails, drafts, wine by the glass (no straight alcohol) and from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – ½ price bottles of wine. The late night reverse happy hour is $2 off all alcoholic beverages runs Sunday through Thursday - 10 p.m. until closing, Friday and Saturday – 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.