Best Neighborhood Hangout

The Baltic

What makes a hangout a hangout? Is it the food? The music? The atmosphere? The clientele? Is it the way the bartender stirs your martini, or the nook out back where you can relax over drinks on a sunny day? Or is it that indefinable something or other that makes you say: I'm home? The Baltic has been Point Richmond's premier hangout since 1904, and after more than a century as town speakeasy, bordello, nightspot, restaurant, and bar, the place has become a venerable symbol of neighborly good fellowship. This dimly lit old Victorian is creaky with character, from its exposed brick and stained glass to its worn wood and vintage mirrored-back bar. But it also sports a tiny gallery lined with colorful modern art and a sunny beer garden with arbors, picnic tables, and its very own (tiny) waterfall. There's a dining room where you can sup on German grub like bratwurst, spaetzle, sauerbraten, and strudel, and several nights a week the sounds of jazz, rock, and blues ring from the tiny stage, encouraging local and visitor alike onto the well-trod dance floor. Most importantly, the affable barkeeps and friendly regulars make you feel right at home. What we have here, in other words, is a hangout.

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