Provision: I have only been to Rye while visiting Baltimore, so I'm not a regular. That said, I'm pretty sure I would be if I lived there.Rye started up in August 2011 with a self-proclaimed mission to serve great cocktails, and are clearly still oriented toward that. They have high-quality alcohol behind the bar, and the variety of liquors, liqueurs & etc. that I would hope for. They don't have the largest selection in terms of, for instance, lots of different gins or rums, but nobody would call it small. And they have a great bitters collection!
The bartenders I talked with know their stuff, and they appreciate customers who do. They have a changing cocktail menu, can mix cocktails at request, and were happy (at an off time) to talk about more obscure bottles or describe and let a curious drinker compare different types of celery bitters. They seem to enjoy what they are doing and are happy to share that.
For the food side of things, they have a high-quality locally-sourced attitude. I enjoyed what I had, but can't comment on it more broadly. The Baltimore Sun gave them a positive review earlier this year.
I personally liked the atmosphere. The long front room has a seasoned-wood bar with a row of small tables against the wall behind, and the back room has more seating. I'm not sure why they have their front windows covered with paper--frankly, I think it makes them look like they've gone out of business--but it does lead to lighting that fits the brick walls. There is some outside seating that looks onto the public square.
Note that their website does a good job of getting the right image across, but it lacks important information, including a sample menu or even their hours (5pm+). Fix that!