The Baltimore House 43 King William Street

Kristin read a recent article in The Spec about this new coffee joint on King William and had been following their online presence via Twitter for the past couple of months. Already planning a Monday outing to Bodega, we decided to make it a double tour stop kind of day. Alas, we lunched at Baltimore House.

Walking through the doors and up the stairs, there was a poster on a table just outside. It said, “Come write the next great novel of our times in our cafe. Brooding Encouraged.” Immediately, we knew this was our kind of place.

Turning left, we entered the Maryland Room Cafe and were just blown away by the décor. Exposed brick, brocaded walls, high ceilings, chandeliers, church pews, a pink chaise, candle stick holders everywhere and an incredibly imposing bar. We grabbed a pew and just so happened to choose a table with a massive Poe book on top. Our literary queen, Kristin, was impressed.

We shared a pot of Maritime Cranberry tea, with its intriquing description of rose petals. It definitely warmed us up on the cold winter’s day, and the couple of chocolates on the side were such a treat. It was the perfect thing to sip on while being completely enamoured with the room. We mostly just sipped and sat across each other with scanning wide-open eyes and gaping mouths. Kristin and I, two girls that can’t seem to talk and giggle enough, were completely silenced by this place’s look and feel. I think the most that I could muster was, “This place is just so cool.”

Hungry, we both ordered the Ulalume. On food tour stops, we usually try to order different things on the menu. This time, though, this Ulalume pear grilled cheese sandwich caught our interest. It’s description: “The skies were ashen and somber … but a sandwich with grilled Havarti cheese, caramelized onions and pear slices sure helped take the edge off!” And, honestly, it was nothing short of heavenly. I think that I recall telling Kristin that I was even in love with the pickle on the side. That was how amazing this food was. Just oh so gloriously delicious.

A self-defined bar/lounge/cafe/art venue such as this has all of the weary possibilities of an exclusive hipster hangout. It isn’t, though. Chatting with owners Grant Winestock and Jimmy Skembaris just before we headed out, they were nothing but charming and welcoming. It’s just an open space in the middle of the revitalizing King William neighbourhood. Honestly, it’s the place that I wish was around when I was going to Mac. It would’ve been the perfect halfway home spot to sit and read and write – and brood.

Oh, and one more thing. There was this secretive doorway covered with a curtain that my seat made me stare at for the duration of our visit. That, good sir, is the ever-elusive Parlour. And, although we’ll obviously be back for the coffee, the food, the service, and the environment, we’ll be there for the parlour’s unveiling. We got to experience the cafe, and we wouldn’t miss experiencing a new kind of Hamilton nightlife full of music, theatre, and good company.

xo Carly.

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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