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5 Reasons Baltimore is the New Brooklyn

For the last three years, I’ve commuted back and forth from Brooklyn to Baltimore while filming the HBO series, Veep. Most recently, Baltimore was the backdrop for my short film, Trouble & the Shadowy Deathblow starring Tony Hale. My love for the Charm City has grown and now it feels like my second home—my new Brooklyn. It could be everyone’s new Brooklyn. Here are the five reasons why:

1. Great coffee: I’m obsessed with the Cafe Con Leche at Lamill inside the Four Seasons. They layer in cinnamon and brown sugar as they make this deliciously addictive concoction. This drink should come with a warning label because there are six shots of espresso inside every cup. The best coffee shop in town is definitely Spro. Their menu changes weekly and they offer multiple ways to brew the perfect cup, from vacuum pot, chemex, eva solo, and aeropress to a cold brew drip tower (I have no idea what that is).

5 Reasons Baltimore is the New Brooklyn

Layer upon layer of deliciousness. (Photo: David Wang)

2. Hampden: This neighborhood in northwestern Baltimore rocks. It is a mix of Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, and Fort Greene, with its eclectic storefronts, art galleries, and restaurants.Try The Other Corner Charcuterie for terrific food. Don’t forget to sign up for their exotic meat club while you are there. Visit Ma Petite Shoe for shoes and, surprise, Chocolate! Need a haircut? Check out Old Bank Barbers. Their motto is, beards, ears, mustaches, eyebrows …. if it grows and needs cutting, they’re happy to oblige. And just when you thought Hampden couldn’t get any more adorable, it does. Every Christmas, residents go bananas with the Christmas lights for their very own “Miracle on 34th Street,” on, you guessed it, 34th Street.

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Trying to out-Brooklyn Brooklyn for the holidays. (Photo: Kevin B. Moore)

3. There are locally owned restaurants aplenty: They take this seriously in Baltimore and they’re really good at it. Try the gastropub, Fork & Wrench. Have an intimate dinner at Henniger’s Tavern or my favorite restaurant, Birroteca. They have delicious pasta and craft beers. For the best sidewalk dining, head to Peter’s Inn. If you’re in the mood for an ice cream sundae, head to Woodberry Kitchen for the best one in town.

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More meat than you could ever ask for. (Photo: Stuart Davenport)

4. Food trucks are everywhere: It’s hard to keep 150 cast and crew members happy, so we’ve had many food trucks visit our set and one of our favorites is Iced Gems. We are also obsessed with one of the grilled cheese trucks: GrrChe. Soup and grilled cheese on a cold day makes everyone happy, at least for an hour. 

5. Parking is hell: If you’re the new Brooklyn, you’re bound to have Brooklyn-style problems. The biggest one for Baltimore is its parking predicament, which feels like “parkingmageddon” every time you venture out. Good luck trying to find a spot anywhere in Federal Hill. I suggest parking on Key Highway and taking a hike up the hill or leave your car and cab it. In fact, parking in Baltimore might be worse than in Brooklyn.

Stephanie Laing is the producer of the HBO shows Veep and Eastbound & Down. She blogs regularly at putyourprettyonbysl.com and lives in Brooklyn with her three children.

There is a special preview screening of Trouble & the Shadowy Deathblow starring Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) and Frankie Faison (Banshee, The Wire) on Friday May 8th from 1-2 p.m. in Baltimore. Tickets to the festival can be purchased here

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