It’s funny how sometimes a dive bar can be recognized so very often by all sorts of people as one of the “Best Of’s” here in Baltimore and yet somehow the general pop and even the establishment itself is gleefully oblivious to that fact. Venice Tavern is such a place, located on the outskirts of Higlandtown on Conkling, it’s at its very best (and worst) a rough and tumble establishment full of old timers, pool enthusiasts, reprobates and people like me whose very definition of Dive Bar needs to be shattered every so often.
And I’ve been to plenty of dive bars, but this place is Merriam-Webster. $1.50 Buds? Check. Dingy walls and drop ceiling? Check. Mothballs in the urinal? Check (wait what?). Zillions of old school photos and paintings of boxers from around Maryland over the ages? Check.
(with the exception of this one from 200x, photo courtesy of @justin_fenton - AS IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY FOLLOWING HIM)
Like most lvl. 99 Dive Bars, Venice Tavern can easily traverse the line from “Man this place is so divey! These people are a riot!” To “Oh shit, these divey people are starting a riot.” The regulars there are the Old Guard, the patrons of yesteryear that have absolutely no problem blowing half a paycheck or more on cigarettes from the machine and Keno and having a liquid dinner until close, but are mostly friendly. So be patient and be careful when you’re checking it out, as they’ll have no problem telling you to fuck off if you’re too snooty for their tastes (As it should be). And hey, the pitchers there are like $5 and it’s on the way to Laughing Pint (3531 Gough St.), so why not give it a whirl.
Then and only then will you truly understand The Way Of The Dive.