Battle of the Bars: Frederick, MD

To college students, a bar is a place to go with friends and drink on a Friday night. Everyone has their favorite bar, which is usually one that serves drinks cheap. At Shepherd University, students know the local bars—Tony’s, the Mecklenburg Inn, or the Devonshire Arms Pub—but not many bars outside of Shepherdstown.

Just 30 minutes away in Frederick are some bars that not only serve great craft beer but also a fun atmosphere.


If you’re a fan of a good old-fashioned Irish pub, Magoo’s on 2nd Street in downtown Frederick is perfect for you. It has two levels. The top is a more quiet sitting area for having a few drinks with a friend, and the basement is for a more party atmosphere.

It’s kind of out of the way on a side street that makes it easy to miss, but the beer and the woman who owns MaGoo’s make it worth checking out.

They serve good classic Irish beer like Guinness and Harp but with a twist. You can get five kinds of mixed beer using Guinness and various other brews.

The best was the Blacksmith, which consists of Guinness and an Irish red ale called Smithwicks. The combo of dark and light is simply great.

However, the best part of MaGoo’s is the owner, Jennifer Dougherty, who also happens to be the ex-mayor of the city of Frederick. She is an interesting person whose eccentric, loud personality makes it feel like you’re sitting in a pub in Ireland.

I recommend it to anyone who wants to sit down and have a good Irish beer and a good conversation.

Roast-House Pub:

If you’re driving through Frederick down near Target and Office Max, there is a little roadside building surrounded by a small motel. It does not seem anything really special, but trust me when I say go inside and have a drink.

Inside they have 20 craft beers on tap from local breweries. These beers range from lighter ales to dark porters and stouts.

Also, when a keg is empty and the beer is gone, another beer takes its place. They don’t even have beer like Bud Light or Coors, only local craft beer.

Not only is the beer good, but the food is fantastic. All the food is roasted and ranges from pot roast and fantastic sandwiches to gourmet hotdogs. It is the perfect complement to the great beer.

The interior is small but cozy with bartenders that are friendly and really know their beer.

The bar itself is a slab of rock cut and finished to have a rough, raw look to it. The bar taps are finished with sheets of bronze that, like the rock bar, look old-fashioned but classy.

Every Monday at the Roast-House Pub is trivia night. If you like great beer with friends and trivia, come on out for a great night


A new edition to Frederick is BJ’s Restaurant and Brew House. While this is part chain restaurant, their home brewed beer can’t be faulted.

The have a range of beers all with colorful names like the Abby, Normal, Belgian ale and the very popular Nutty Brunette, an American style brown ale, although my personal favorite is the Tatonka Russian Imperial Stout.

All their beer is made at their brewery in Annapolis, Md., and then shipped out to the restaurant each week.

It is more of a restaurant then a bar, but it does have the largest TV screen in Frederick that usually has some kind of sports game on it.

The bar section of BJ’s is a good space, though. There are booths to sit in and high tables along with low tables. The bar is made of marble, and all the beer taps are out in the open for everyone to see.

While it is kind of a chain restaurant, if you need a place to watch your favorite sporting event with a good beer, BJ’s is the place to go.

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