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March 1, 2024

W.C. Harlan: Remington’s modern speakeasy

By CAMILLA DOHLMAN | March 2, 2017


COURTESY OF CAMILLA DOHLMAN AND TESS FIELDS The bread plate with two tasty cocktails.

Remington is experiencing a renaissance.

Old favorites Paper Moon Cafe and The Dizz have been joined by newcomers to the Baltimore food scene such as Parts & Labor, R. House and Clavel, which have become instantly popular among Hopkins students and locals alike.

Meet W.C. Harlan. Located at 400 W 23rd St on the corner of Hampden Avenue, about a 20 minute walk from campus, it is Remington’s best kept secret.

It is like Clavel’s older, cooler sister (it is literally owned by the same person, Lane Harlan). Open since 2013, W.C. Harlan has managed to fly relatively under the radar: I’m a second semester senior and I first heard of it in the fall.

Of course, its inconspicuous position in Baltimore’s bar scene is probably intentional, as W.C. Harlan has billed itself as a 1920s-esque Speakeasy.

Poorly marked, it’s almost as if it doesn’t want to be found. (I walked by it about four times before finally finding it. Look for a black door that says “Enter” on it in white script.) Inside you’ll be greeted by a flannel & beanie-wearing bartender, soothing jazz music and a spicy aroma the source of which I can’t quite put my finger on.

Yet if you come on a weekend night, this narrow townhouse bar is likely to be full of hip Baltimoreans enjoying Old Fashioneds by candlelight. The decor reminds me vaguely of my grandmother’s house — if she had been a 1920s bootlegger — but the aesthetic is enjoyable all the same.

W.C. Harlan’s menu rotates regularly, offering a panoply of seasonal choices and daily specials using liquors I’ve never heard of. Cocktails at WC go from anywhere from $8-$13 (The cocktail du jour, which changes daily, is always $8).

While definitely a pricier option than PJ’s or Charles Village Pub, the unique drink selection makes it worth it. Although if your budget is tight, Natty Boh is still an option for only $2.50.

If you’re feeling a bit more lavish, go for the Pisco Sour, a frothy, creamy egg white drink that is seasoned with chamomile and yerba mate honey syrup.

The Vin Chaud, i.e. mulled wine, is another great option that complements W.C. Harlan’s cozy, grandma’s attic-esque vibe.

For munchies (and for the under 21 crowd), the bread plate ($12) is an excellent option that comes with brie, dates, tapenade, and pickled green beans. Trust me, it’s good.

WC Harlan is a perfect location to take your friend who is visiting from out of town if you want to convince them that you were telling the truth when you told them that Baltimore is cool. And since it is only a short walk (or Uber ride) away, you have no excuse not to go.

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