Yeah, the Swallow is a dive. In fact, it's such a dive that it got caught up in the recent slew of bar busts by police Commissioner Kevin Clark's Social Club Task Force. But it's the kind of dive in which you're more likely to find the guy on the barstool next to you at church or a PTA meeting than in a knife fight or on a drug corner.
Where Govans' Swallow at the Hollow rises above dive status is in the food department. Its kitchen doesn't make Baltimore's best burger (though it comes close), tastiest crab cake, greasiest chicken wings, or most savory Maryland crab soup, but it does a damn good job on all four of these saloon staples, averaging out as the Best Bar Food in town. Our usual waitress often tells us that Swallow makes everything in-house, and we believe her. Especially good are the burgers (get the one topped with English cheddar--on an English muffin, of course) and soups. Try the shrimp bisque just once and you'll find yourself calling every night to see if it's on the specials board.