So close, Washington. So close. A lucky bounce here, a leg plant that goes as it should there, and we could be talking about an entirely different Super Bowl.
This bar is a favorite in the Hampden neighborhood, which you might know as the quirky part of town that hosts the annual Hon Fest of beehive hairdos, pink flamingos and Baltimore charm. There's nothing too fancy about Frazier's, but it offers decent bar food and a side room with more than enough space to accommodate a large crowd. You won't miss a down on the large television screens all around the bar.
If you're a football fan and a beer connoisseur, grab a stool at Max's to enjoy the game and some of the 140 draft beers and more than 1,000 bottle selections. Few places offer the chance to sip on a rare Belgian ale while watching the big game, and Max's has more than enough flatscreens to accommodate what surely will be a big beer-loving crowd. For a bit of local flavor, try the brews from local favorites Union Brewing, Brewer's Art and Stillwater Ales, to name a few. Max's occupies prime real estate in Fells Point, so if there's a victory party to be had, you'll have a front-row seat.
Considering the celebrations in Federal Hill after the playoff wins against the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, the epicenter of any postgame party would be on Charles Street, just outside Mother's Federal Hill Grille. This is one of the best sports bars in the city, and it's become such a popular spot that it's charging a cover, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Pay in advance and get there early for a good spot inside or out on the patio. The Mother's menu features 20 varieties of wings and 20 burgers.
Feel like watching the game with a mix of metal heads, punks and hipsters? This venerable rock club is the place for you. During the regular season, the couches and pool tables in the upstairs bar are reconfigured to face a large projector screen boasting a razor-sharp high definition picture. And in what is perhaps the bar's most unique feature, after every big Ravens play, a regular performs all sorts of recognizable tunes - movie scores, television themes, pop songs - on a jerry-rigged hornlike instrument. For the Super Bowl, they're turning it to 11, using both levels of the club and showing the game on four
If you're looking for a quick trip in and out of town, these two bars offer easy access to Interstate 95. Pickles, just across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, has a ton of character and is the quintessential pregame destination during baseball season. When the Ravens are playing out of town, Pickles typically offers specials and a menu of tailgate favorites.
Just down the way, in the B&O Warehouse beyond Oriole Park's right field wall, sits Dempsey's, a handsome new sports bar named for former Orioles catcher and 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey. The bar boasts ample space with specially made craft beers, a locally inspired menu and plenty of large TVs.
Brandon Weigel is a Baltimore native and former Weekend staffer at The Washington Post who never let his former co-workers forget when the Ravens or Orioles were playing.