A secret stash of 5 Hampden hipster hangouts in Baltimore City
Ditch Baltimore's inner harbor tourist attractions for a day and head a few blocks northwest to find a little neighborhood known for its hospitality, offbeat style and of course local food that will knock your socks off.
Hipsters, hons and a hella good time
Hampden isn't like the rest of Baltimore City, it has a different beat, and there is no right or wrong way to dance to it. Come take a peek in this cozy neighborhood and I bet you won't want to leave. From bangin' eats to sassy and sweet unique boutiques, I'll take you through five spots that you can't miss on your next trip to Baltimore.
(Disclaimer: After reading this you may feel a sudden urge to buy flannel shirts, distressed jeans and glasses with abnormally big frames. A.K.A. You might turn into a hipster.)
"Literary finds for Mutated Minds." The name says it all, this store has comics, novels, zines and practically anything that your messed-up mind might want to read. And to make it just a tad more enticing, they serve beer and wine. Atomic Books has been a part of Hampden for 24 years so they must be doing something right. (Something tells me it's the booze that's keeping them in business, but hey that's just me.)
The Wine Source
Located in the heartbeat of Hampden, this shop has all your alcoholic needs covered. They have wine from across the globe, spirits that would never be found on the bottom shelf and of course any IPA, craft or hoppy beer that could please any hipster's picky palette. If you're trying to impress a wine snob, and don't know jack about wine or spirits (except maybe the kind that comes in a box) don't hesitate to consult any of the expert staff members. Explain your needs and they will hook you up with suggestions and options so you can drink your way into the euphoric drunken stupor you've been craving.
If you want the freshest taste of Baltimore this is where you need to be. Farm to table is the name of the game and they mean it. I asked for a cranberry and vodka and my server smiled at my naïve question and noticed I was totally lost on the whole concept and pointed me towards the menu and said, "we don't have cranberries."
Well I would have been pleased with some vodka sprinkled with Ocean Spray 100 percent cranberry but I didn't want to be rude ... or sound like an idiot. He suggested a (fresh) watermelon juice and vodka cocktail called the Farmer's Daughter. I was apprehensive at first, but hot DAMN it was the bomb. By the end of the dinner I crushed at least four and wanted one to-go. The food there is served beautifully as well. But don't forget to wear your flannel shirt and distressed jeans because if you don't you might stick out like a shoobie.
The name says it all. It's a cafe with a bar and they have brunch on weekends. And by brunch, I mean it is acceptable to drink as many mimosas as your heart desires, even if it is only 10:00 a.m. The decor and ambiance is straight outta Balwmer, hon: pink flamingos, big hair and big sunglasses. The staff are a bunch of sweeties that will make you feel like you're eating at your grandma's.
This is one shop for all the ladies to at least take a peek into. "Retro inspired with a modern edge" is their motto. Accessories, clothing, shoes, home, gifts; all I need is a 50 percent off sign in the window and I might buy the entire store. The merchandise is as diverse as the creators, ranging from local hipsters with their handmade jewelry and such, to international designers that supply the modern style and edge that you can't resist swiping that plastic on. Let's face it, even if you aren't hip and trendy, you know you try to act like you are. So, what are you waiting for? Stop in, style up and stun the world.
Diane Peterson is Baltimore-born and has been published in Ask Miss A. Always stashed with emergency chocolate, she is on a mission to uncover the hidden gems of Charm City.