Max's Taphouse

BA SCORE
98
world-class

299 Ratings
Max's TaphouseMax's Taphouse
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

737 S Broadway
Baltimore, Maryland, 21231-3407
United States

(888) 675-6297 | map
maxs.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Ratings:
299
Reviews:
183
Avg:
4.43
pDev:
7%
 
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 299 |  Reviews: 183
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I think it was (like) 2 years ago that Handsome Ed started with his "We should do a weekend in Baltimore" talk; a terribly good idea implemented never. It was always something with him, you know? "We're trying to move to Pennsylvania and buy a place" or "I have to work 83 days straight to finish this highway project". I might have considered it him just talking smack and let the whole thing go but I'd developed a want for crab smashing so I had to put it away in the back of my head and wait and wait and wait. Eventually they moved to PA and the highway project got done. He finally got a breather and I moved on it, no rest for the wicked (me, not him). Get your shoes on, Ed, we're going to Baltimore...

Easily parked and all metered up, we backtracked up and around the block to Max's. Taking up residency at the bar, we had some good attention this early Saturday afternoon. Seating 2 dozen and then some, this long straight wood bar with an "L" on the end runs the length of the whole place. A copper foot rail below and the bar top done up slat wood with beer labels and then varnished over, plus inlayed "chill discs", of which Phil says "They are an abomination".

72 unique tap selections spread over everywhere. 24 taps in a row on the middle of the bar, a 5 tower tap at each end, and then 2 rows of taps (9 atop 14 below) to both sides of center on the barback wall. Also, down on our end, I think I saw a single Delirium pink elephant tap, and there were definitely 2 hand pumps as well.

A center wide counter on the bar back holds booze 5 tiers high, and a pair of flatscreens above with a neon "prescriptions" sign there. To each side, rows of taps and 2 or 3 coolers with flatscreens and a row of TV's above. A cooler with vintage selections and a cigar display case at the end of the bar. Pressed tin ceiling with fans, well worn wood floors, brick walls and windows looking over Broadway, mounted lighting and sunken spots, pillars here and there, and an adjacent bar counter. A shelf above and behind you holds glassware, steins and old beer cans. The walls done up with brewery pub signs, mirrors, neons, metal signage, a blackboard on the far wall with bottle beer specials, and a giant 5' X 8' framed mirror on the back wall. Shirts, hats, kids bibs and wing sauces displayed here, and 10 tables in a slightly raised pen near the staircase leading to the upstairs cigar bar/lounge, with a bar holding 2 dozen taps.

Access to a rear room just past the looking glass. The "L" shaped bar seats a dozen, glassware and booze hanging upside down above, and shelved on the bar back. 2 dozen taps in a single row on the barback. English pubby bar with an airplane propeller mounted on its overhang and lined with coasters. An adjacent bar counter with space for a dozen below stucco walls, a blackboard listing the tap selections, a De Dolle Randy Oer Bier portrait, and Sam Smith prints. Lighting on the ceiling fans on the old pressed tin ceiling above. And out the back side to a rear rear room. 5 dart boards in a row on the far wall running its length. Faux bindings packing bookshelves below and on the opposite wall, a mounted Yak's head, a wooden Indian, a cigar display, animal skulls, and "Max's" barrel heads above.

A side room holds a single pool table and Phil's golf game (complete). A bar counter runs the far wall, a showcase on the opposite wall displays 8 years of Gales Prize Old Ale & JW Lees Harvest Ale vintages, and a nice collection of tap handles wrapping around the border above on 3 walls.

An absurd selection of taps, roughly half of them micros, local and Mid Atlantic/NorthEast regional (Brewer's Art, Heavy Seas, Wild Goose, DogFishHead, Southern Tier, Ommegang, Brooklyn, Blue Point, Southampton, Magic Hat, Smuttynose, Cape Ann, Harpoon, Sam Adams, Troegs, Victory, Weyerbacher) and beyond (Oskar Blues, Avery, Flying Dog, Great Divide, Rogue, Sierra Nevada). The remainder being imports, some interesting (Samichlaus, Liefman's Kriek, Peche Mortel, Hoblon Chouffe, Witkap Pater Single), and some of the usual import suspects, and even a handful of macros.

And an equally ridiculous bottled collection. The list holds 200 and change, roughly 1/3 of them US micro, another 1/3 Belgian and German, and the rest English, various beers of the world, maltos, meads and Champagne Bieres. Also another 40 big bottles (mostly Belgian and US), and 2 dozen special reserve selections, primarily vintage JW Lees, Gales, A. Les Coq, Thomas Hardy, Fullers, Sinebrychoff, etc.

They let us try a little of this and that, service was attentive, beers were clean and fresh. Simply outstanding. I believe it was EyeDrinkAleOutOfASmallRefidgeratorInTheBackOfMyCar who said "Yeah, I think Max's is the best beer bar in the North East, definitely one of my top 5 in America". Second time he's been right about something in a month's time.

 4,881 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of SDRedDevil
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of BJB13
4.64/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Spent nine hours here on a Saturday with a couple of other BA members from out of town. Time flew by as we tasted and compared beers with some dinner and plenty of conversation. We were there until 12:30 which gave us an hour or two of overlap with the Saturday night party crowd.

Food was good and the service was excellent, we never had a problem getting prompt service regardless of whether we were ordering draft pours, from the bottle list or food. Selection was about as good as it gets, while there are obviously plenty of beers they don't have I can't imagine ever running out of new things to try while you are there. I even knocked a few things of off my current list.

I had not been there in over fifteen years. I won't make that mistake again, though I may drink one or two less beers and leave a little earlier.

 829 characters

Photo of jsb89
3.4/5  rDev -23.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4

Not an LGBT-friendly business.

A large group of us decided to enjoy some casual drinks here on a Saturday night for a friend’s birthday. We were all let into the bar by the bouncers with no issue. One of us (who happens to be gay) stepped out to smoke a cigarette, and when he attempted to reenter he was asked for his ID. After providing his ID, our friend was denied reentry to the bar, with the rationale being something along the lines of “you’re too drunk.” Okay. Totally understandable.

Moments later, another member of our group left the bar and overheard the bouncer say to his colleague, “I wasn’t about to let that gay guy in!”

With six years in the service industry under my belt, I completely understand denying someone initial entry into your establishment because they are too intoxicated. Guests cannot be allowed to pose a danger to themselves or other guests. However, I understand it less when someone has already entered the establishment five minutes previously, has caused no trouble inside and is entirely coherent, and then attempts to reenter. I draw the line at denying someone entry because of their sexual orientation (or race, gender, religion, etc.).

With so many establishments to choose from in Fells Point, I see no reason to return to Max’s and drop another $100.00 only to hear about nonsense like this. Somehow, I think I’ll be able to find a bar that, at the very least, can hire bouncers that just do their very important job while keeping their personal opinions to themselves.

 1,541 characters

Photo of HeartofMiami
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of socon67
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Place was lively on a Wednesday night. It was Craft Beer Week, so plenty of new options. About 70 taps roughly, covering local, domestic, and some import. Bottle list is terrific. Certainly worthy of the hype.

 213 characters

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Rivals Mekong for taps (over 70) and bottles list. Super knowledgeable and attentive bartenders. Classic rock on the radio. Friendly patrons who liked to talk about beer. Didn't eat anything but menu looks like standard pub grub. Beer is a little on the pricy side, but you can get 5oz pours and there is a special on a couple different drafts every day. Can't wait to go back!

 377 characters

Photo of Newport_beerguy
4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Rifugium
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Finally, I made it to the famous Max's. Good location. Somewhat grungy atmosphere, which I prefer, but seems like it could turn into a nightmare during sporting events or busy hours. I went at lunch time and there were only a few other people there, which worked out good for me, as I had my little daughter / travel buddy along for lunch, before our trip to the Aquarium (which is only about a mile's drive away). Tons of crazy crap on the walls, breweriana and whatnot.

The beer selection was top notch as expected, with a wide variety of styles from many breweries on tap, and lots in bottles too. There was a massive lambic/sour ale bottle sale event a few days after my visit, which I unfortunately could not attend, but it looked insane. When I was there, I didn't have anything that nuts, just a few samplers of brews that I hadn't had yet, including one from Manor Hill, which was seemingly the featured brewery of the day, with 10 or more on tap just from them.

The service was fine...hard not to be with only a few people in the place (although I've had bad service in those situations elsewhere). The bartender was friendly and accommodating to myself and the tot, and the food came out quickly. I wasn't too impressed with the menu, but it was fine for a snack. Basic pub grub mainly. I had a quesadilla--can't really go wrong with that--and I got some sliders for the kiddo, which for a youngster was okay, but for an adult would have been pretty disappointing.

I can see this definitely being the major hub for craft beer in Baltimore, and I'd like to go back some day soon.

 1,591 characters

Photo of Brian29
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Buck89
4.81/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped by when I was visiting Baltimore. Phenomenal experience. Unbelievable tap list and equally great bottle list. Had a Rodenbach Alexander on tap. Great locals and Belgians. Friendly and professional service. Nonjudgmental for the non beer snobs in the bar. Typical food-bar fare. Overall a great experience and I will return the next time I'm in town.

 357 characters

Photo of StoutLover14
3.61/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75

Photo of BubbleBobble
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Hop-Dawwg
4.19/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 5

Awesome beer selection. Come here when it's slow, otherwise you'll wait an hour for a beer.

91 characters

Photo of Kubishark
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

Was there during the early afternoon on a weekday. Had the entire place to ourselves besides for one other couple seated down the bar. The bartender was very nice and gave good recommendations. I really really really like that they do smaller pours on all the beers. Helps when you're feeling full or need to drive later but still want to try something new. Wonderful selection of beers, with lots of German stuff. Food is average.

 431 characters

Photo of mynie
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

In the trendy Fell's Point neighborhood. Parking is difficult. But like almost everywhere else in Baltimore, it's easily accessible overall.

Old facade. Pretty-looking, but unexceptional for the area. The building is bricky and cavernous, with a decent amount of beer schwag and regular bar decor. Nothing too great about it.

The beer is great, though. One of the five or so best tap lists I've ever seen. The selection is gigantic and well-curated, although it does tend toward whatever styles are trending within beer geek communities. When I last visited I think there was maybe one solitary pilsener available? So they don't got a beer for every mood, necessarily, but they do get in a ton of rares and one-offs, frequent tap takeovers, a stellar rotation of Belgians, and a dedicated Rodenbach tap.

The vibe is usually quiet, like a beer bar. NFL Sundays are loud and packed, but the crowd is convivial and more or less respectful. They also have great specials on gigantic pours during games.

The food is standard pub fare. There's better dining options surrounding the place. But nothing touches the beer.

So, overall, I don't know if I'd say Max's is *quite* in the "World Class" category, like with Mekong, Map Room, or Falling Rock. The vibe is just a bit too plain for me. But it's still an excellent beer destination.

 1,358 characters

Photo of lupercmda
4.61/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of cjgiant
4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of jophish17
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of mig100
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of eluvah
4.55/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

Photo of johnnnniee
4.53/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

The place was packed with beer geeks on a Thursday night, of course there was a convention of us in town. Old wooden bar spanning most of the right wall of the place. Tables to the left and in back. Huge tap list and I hear the bottle list is even better, but I never got past the taps. bomb! and parabola on tap and a hundred of their friends. I had a chicken sandwich that was messy but tasty. Service was pretty good for how busy it was. It is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for I guess. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

 526 characters

Photo of dwagner003
4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of WheelsPSU
4.61/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Resuin
4.01/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Max's Taphouse in Baltimore, MD
4.43 out of 5 based on 299 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.