Gay Travel: 36 Hours in Mount Vernon, Baltimore

Baltimore’s Mount Vernon community is a lively cultural arts center filled with some of the most beautiful, well-preserved 19th-century architecture in the United States. Palatial homes face small parks that surround the area’s centerpiece, the Washington Monument. Mount Vernon is designated a National Landmark Historic District and a City Cultural District. Once the LGBT haven of the city, it’s now filled with an influx of a younger hipsters who have taken advantage of some empty storefronts and created a vibrant community filled with delicious food, historic landmarks, and only-in-Baltimore shops.

HOTEL REVIVAL 

Hotel Revival, a Joie de Vivre property, opened in the Mount Vernon Cultural District in early 2018. Highlights include a ground-floor signature restaurant and bar, three private karaoke boxes, a second-floor reception, a lobby lounge with a dedicated bar; and an enclosed rooftop bar and restaurant with prime views of the Washington Monument and surrounding neighborhoods. The hotel’s design is funky and Jonathan Adler–like in its homage to bright colors, local art, and history.

TOPSIDE 

Executive Chef Wilbur Cox of Topside features a menu with fresh-from-the-sea dishes to be paired with a rotating selection of craft beers, including Hotel Revival’s specialty brew, Thirstay, crafted by Peabody Heights Brewery—one of the oldest breweries in Baltimore. Home to locals and travelers for lively group happy hours, weekend brunches, and intimate date nights, but the real star is the rooftop view overlooking the Washington Monument.

SUGARVALE

Sugarvale Interior

Sugarvale Interior

Sugarvale is an intimate cocktail bar, located in the historic arts district of Mount Vernon in Baltimore, MD. Sitting a few steps below street-level, it’s easy to walk past this unassuming bar. The clean, modern space features 35 seats, including eight seats at the bar, a row of cocktail tables along a refurbished church pew, and a counter-height communal table that seats eight. The white subway tiles that fill the walls reflect the dimly lit space, providing the perfect date spot ambiance.

DOOBY’S

Grab breakfast at Dooby’s, an approachable Korean-influenced restaurant. Where simple breakfast is ordered at the counter. Try a breakfast burger to soak up those cocktails from the night before.

George Peabody Library

George Peabody Library

GEORGE PEABODY LIBRARY 

The George Peabody Library is the 19th-century-focused research library of The Johns Hopkins University. Completed in 1878, it is often regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. This library is open to the public.

WASHINGTON MONUMENT 

The first ever monument to George Washington in the United States has recently reopened is run by the Mount Vernon Conservancy, not the National Parks, so be sure to pay the few bucks to climb the 227 marble steps to the top.

THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM 

Mummy at the Walters Art Museum

Mummy at the Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum is acclaimed as one of the best art museums in the United States, the Walters offers 55 centuries of art, including Egyptian mummies, medieval armors, and 19th-century masterpieces.

MOUNT VERNON MARKETPLACE

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The Local Oyster at the Marketplace

Mount Vernon Marketplace offers the finest, freshly prepared artisanal food with over 14 purveyors offering everything from artisan sandwiches and charcuterie, fresh local oysters and seafood, noodles and dumplings, French crepes, Ethiopian cuisine and coffee, vegetarian bean burgers, vegan soups and falafel, cold-pressed juices and salad bar, Korean style bibimbap, and more.

Afternoon Shopping

Knits Soy and Metal

Knits Soy and Metal

KNITS, SOY AND METAL and KEEPER’S VINTAGE 

Knits, Soy & Metal produces handmade vegan-friendly products that are high quality and sourced in the USA. The Hand Knitted items are made with close attention to detail using extra soft material that is both warm, durable, and completely free of all Animal bi-products.The locally crafted jewelry is simple and bold enough to wear as an everyday piece. The all natural 100% Soy candles are hand poured in small batches (right here in Baltimore) to produce the best quality and freshness using scents that range from earthy, to floral, to food inspired. Attached is a small vintage shop offering some on-trend fashions.

BABY’S ON FIRE

Baby’s On Fire serves Stumptown Coffee, breakfast and lunch from Chef Shirlé of Four Corners Cuisine and is also a new and used record store.

BOTTLE OF BREAD

Located in a 19th-century storefront in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, MD Bottle of Bread has a tightly curated collection of vintage for men and women, as well as a selection of independent makers and artists ranging from jewelry, prints, textiles, to art objects and ceramics.

WET CITY 

Wet City

Wet City

Grab a drink before heading to dinner at Wet City. 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. Instead, Maryland was determined to keep on drinking despite pressure from the feds and other states. Thanks to stubborn, free-thinking Maryland rule-breakers, the Chesapeake Bay became the prime port of call for the nation’s bootleggers, making Maryland the wettest state in the union. Baltimore served as the nation’s center of resistance to prohibition and you better believe that sales and consumption of alcohol kept on keeping on right up until the rest of the nation caught up with us and repealed Prohibition.

BAR VASQUEZ

Bar Vasquez

Bar Vasquez

Bar Vasquez pays homage to Chef Cindy Wolf’s mentor, Chef Marcelo Vasquez, originally from Argentina. The restaurant celebrates the vibrancy and energy of Buenos Aires and reflects the Argentine love of meat and seasonal ingredients of the Americas in the menu. Surround yourself with the whim of the bar and lounge, or the romance and business of the formal dining room upstairs. Each night, live music is performed by local musicians that keeps a crackle of energy in the space.

B-SIDE KARAOKE 

B-Side Karaoke has private multi-functional rooms are hidden in plain sight. Choose between three exclusive rooms, each with a distinctive personality of its own and a vibrant curated experience tailored to each space. Regardless of the room, order the signature drink, Liquid Courage, or experience specialty cocktails on tap. Pour as you go, and order from a rotating menu that offers food specially crafted to accommodate each occasion.

GERTUDE’S

Chef John Shields, Owner

Openly gay John Shields opened Gertrude’s in 1998 as a tribute to Chesapeake Bay food and his grandmother, Gertie. John Shields is a chef, a television host and an author. His popular restaurant, Gertrude’s, has been thriving at the Baltimore Museum of Art since 1998. Called the “Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay,” John has written three popular cookbooks and hosted two television series on the cuisine of the region.

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