Sean Bolan's Irish Pub & Restaurant

Your Rating: None
5 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

1236 Light St
Baltimore, Maryland, 21230-4306
United States

(410) 837-4440

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Ratings: 5 |  Reviews: 5
Reviews by cracker:
Photo of cracker
4.45/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

An excellent pub sort of the beaten path from the loud, more crowded and annoying parts of Federal Hill. One of the best beer bars in Baltimore. Knowledgeable and friendly staff. The owner Ken loves to talk to customers who have questions about styles, what's on draft, the firkin of the week etc.

Great beer selection with decent turnover. There are about 12-14 draughts with about 6 or so having a permanent place (Guiness, Resurrection, Boddingtons, Bass among a few others which I cannot remember at this point). Of the remaining rotating draughts, these include locals such Victory, Troegs, Brewers Art, Clipper City, DogFish Head, Lancaster etc. and imports from Belgium, Germany, and the UK. Food is also quite tasty, especially the hearty seafood chowder.

I'd say this is one of the top five places to have a pint in Baltimore.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Dithyramb
4.15/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

With the new update feature, I've decided to go back and update some of my favorite spots around town. Not many places are nice enough to tempt me to travel to the Federal Hill area. Sean Bolan’s, thankfully, is the number 1 reason to travel to this side of town. Now that I work/live on the SE Balto area, I only go to SB once or twice a month.

The frat boys stay over at Mad River, but if you are looking for a quality place with quality brews, Bolan’s is your place. By far, it is one of the best bars to have a pint in the city. The owner and bartenders have bright smiles, and love their product.

My old review stated it was "a little on the dark side." Within the last year, they remodeled the front of the bar, including the window and door. A steady stream of light comes in. They are nestled in the Southern end of Light Street. The atmosphere is comfortable. Comfortable seats, comfortable wood walls and furniture, and comfort food. It’s clean. The piped-in Irish music isn’t as annoying as I expected.

Food is great pub grub. For starters, there are buckets o'peanuts for you to enjoy. Throw the shells on the floor (I have an anal friend that rolls his shell in a napkin...) All the sandwiches are tasty and filling. I stick to the sausage with Irish mustard. The chowdah is thick, creamy, and full of seafood. Wings are on the smaller side, but nicely done.

The beers are always of a top notch distinction. Lambics, Belgians, America's finest microbrews all come through the door and get good mention. The taps themselves change depending on when the kegs get kicked. A dozen or so taps with a firkin on the end of the bar.

I took an entire point off for quality. We used to stop in for Firkin Fridays and I hit the firkin everytime I'm there. However, I'd tell you to steer away from it. It hurts me to tell you this, but I've had a bad firkin there now the last three times straight and have had multiple in the past. I had an infected Uerige there just two weeks ago. An infected Lancaster Milk Stout kept me away from the beer for two years. The other lines, however, are top notch.

They only open up before 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and for their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Although they open at 8 a.m. on St. Pat’s, you won’t be eating a regular lunch at Bolan’s (except on Fridays). Sign up online before your trip, and you can get yourself a free bowl of chowder with your meal. I've personally had a party upstairs and had a great time.

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Photo of PudTinkler
4.2/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Sean Bolan's is off the beaten path a little bit, and is a very small place that can be tough to locate if you're not paying attention!

Once inside, the place screams "Irish"..there are a few tables in the downstairs...the place remains quite dark and has a definitive pub feel. I remained downstairs for my stay, so I probably missed out on a greater area upstairs, but the downstairs is nothing to complain about. There were about 14 draughts to choose from, including Belgians, some local makes and Irish reds, etc. etc. It seems like the joint of choice among the local beer enthusiasts in Baltimore. All in all, a very good place to include in a Baltimore-themed pubcrawl...

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Photo of ChrisBowers
4.95/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is by far the best beer bar in Baltimore and one of my favorite bars period. Its setup in an Irish pub motif, but its not cheesy like most irish pubs around the US. It feels like its been there forever. Its not a huge place, but not small either with an upstairs complete with dart boards. Ken, the Owner, is a great guy and really goes out and beats the bushes for the best and most unusual brews around and it definitely shows. Every week there are about 4-6 tap offers that weren't there before. They have about 17 taps and a hundred or so bottle selections. They generally keep some US micros, a few belgians and some Euro beers on tap as well as the standard Irish Pub fare such as Guinness and Harp. Each week there's a new Firkin as well as a cask on weekends. The bartenders are all knowledgable and are always happy to chat about beer or anything else on your mind. They take great care in always serving in the proper glass and pouring beers properly.

The food is quite good and very reasonably priced in my opinion. They have standard pub fare as well as some higher end items that are quite good. The peanuts are also a nice touch around the bar.

The specials at Sean's are unbelievable. Every monday night all of their 100 or so bottles are half price. With dozens of rare and expensive beers on the menu, you can sometimes get away with actually paying less than you would at the liquor store. I guess they figure they'll make it up on the idiots who still buy Bud Light on a night like that (and yes they exist).

If you're in Baltimore, you owe it to yourself to go here. Don't worry about insane crowds on weekends, its a little off the main drag of Federal Hill bars, so the crowd is always a very comfortable size.

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Photo of John_M
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

As a recent transplant to the East Coast from the West Coast, I initially had my doubts about the quality of the beer and beer bars available out here. Fortunately, good brew is readily available out here, and while I can't say anything quite approaches the great ale houses of the NW, Sean Bolan's come pretty darn close. Ken and Mike are both extremely knowledgeable and articulate when it comes to all things beer, and are constantly on the look out for new, exciting and unusual brews. The pub has an excellent standard line-up of imports, lambics and micros, but also rotates in weekly anywhere from 3 to 6 new beers. As one other reviewer noted, the owners take considerable pride in their Guinness, pouring one of the best pints I've seen outside of Ireland. It probably doesn't hurt that SB's runs a Tuesday night special where imperial pints of Guinness cost just a paltry $2.50! If that's not enough, pretty much every thursday there's a new firkin available to try, and there's also usually at least one beer on cask. The prices here are quite reasonable, and Ken and Mike make it a point to always have the correct glassware available (if possible) when they put on a new Belgium or German beer. Until recently the food was really the only weak link at this pub, although there was nothing really wrong with the typical fish and chips, champ and chowder. However, Ken and Mike have recently upgraded the menu, and I've been very impressed with the current cuisine. With the improving food, excellent and ever changing beer line-up, it will probably come as no surprise that I generally visit Sean Bolan's at least a couple times a week... even though it's more than a bit out of my way to swing by. The place is that good!!!

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Sean Bolan's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Baltimore, MD
Place rating: 4.52 out of 5 with 5 ratings