TIPSY TOURIST: Silo.5% Wine Bar

Silo.5%'s Wall of Wine.

Silo.5%’s Wall of Wine.


An occasional series of bars, taverns, saloons, watering holes of note — not that we’re advocating tipsiness, of course.

Nook tablets shone at me from the tables as I walked into this sleek waterside wine bar in Locust Point, near Fort McHenry. The bar glowed an unearthly green.

And I wondered. Is Silo.5%  just too cool for me?

The waitress answered me right away. No, it is not, she said with her welcoming smile. Sit down over here on this comfy leather couch nestled against a two-story wall of concrete and stacked stone; and let me bring you something wonderful to drink.

Popcorn, flavored according to the chef's whim, is one of Silo.5%'s snacks to share. Wine is offered by the glass, by the bottle or in a flight of three glasses.

Popcorn, flavored according to the chef’s whim, is one of Silo.5%’s snacks to share. Wine is offered by the glass, by the bottle or in a flight of three glasses.

She may not have used those actual words, but her friendly manner and the wines we ordered — a flight of dry/citrusy/herbal whites, a tawny port and a smoky amontillado — warmed us up right away on a quiet summer evening in Baltimore.

It was long after dinner so we ordered snacks and promised ourselves we’d come back for some of those small plates or dinner entrees. (Silo.5%, alas, is not open for lunch or even weekend brunch. But they do take reservations.) A flourless chocolate brownie sundae arrived along with a bowl of popcorn flavored according to the chef’s mood.  His mood had produced popcorn with maple and bacon —  a perfect complement to our fortified wines.

Your high-tech menu at Silo.5%.

Your high-tech menu at Silo.5%.

Those Nook tablets contain the menu, wine and cocktail lists, who’s playing during Monday night’s live entertainment and whatever other events (including wine and painting lessons monthly, Wednesday night wine tastings, happy hour) are in the works. And they are the closest thing to a television you’ll see in this bar.

I counted 21 TVs in the last new bar I was in. This one is different. There wasn’t one. The low-key furnishings (except for maybe that glowing bar), the comfortable seating and the quiet tunes on the sound system make this a place that actually encourages conversation.

Generous glasses — and they're all for me?

Generous glasses in a wine flight — and they’re all for one person?

And as interesting as the menu looks, wine is central here.  A flight with three generous pours is $15; a glass is $7 to $10 in most cases. And there’s a wide range of choices, more than 30, as well as a well-stocked cocktail and beer selection. Prefer a bottle? These get a bit pricier but some are in the $25 to $30 range.

You could travel the world just reading the labels of 200-plus bottles on the wall of wine — with vintages from Frederick County to South Africa.

Or you could just sit back and enjoy a glass of wine, a snack or two and the conversation and laughter of your friends and family around you.  No rush, take your time. Really, the waitress did said that to me.

Update: Feb. 14, 2014. Visited again with my Valentine and it was quite different. Different management, different chef. Different experience.

The Nook menus were piled up, unused, at the end of the bar. Wine flights weren’t an option — and the wine list was small. The food was good even though the servers were way overwhelmed. (Dinner took two and a half hours.) One waitress told us the place was suddenly slammed with reservations made that very day so they hadn’t been able to react with sufficient staff. Please come back, she asked us. 

Oh I will. The space is lovely still. The food was good. The staff tried very hard to keep up. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and visit again.

© Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman

Silo.5% has a long bar well-stocked with wines, liquor and beer, both local and national.

Silo.5% has a long bar well-stocked with wines, liquor and beer, both local and national.

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If you have a favorite spot you’d like to see here on Thirsty Thursday, let me know.