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May 13, 2008

Mother's on the Alley

Before I went, I heard the new Mother's on the Alley expansion would be big.

But I wondered -- would it thin out the typically crammed Mother's bar?

It did, but just barely.

Mother's on the Alley is huge. The bar itself is more than 60 feet long.

And just past midnight last Friday night, lines for drinks were two to three people deep the whole length of the bar.  

Mother's on the Alley is most certainly Federal Hill's hottest new bar -- just like Ryleigh's Oyster was a year ago and Stalking Horse four months back.

Now the new place to be is Mother's on the Alley.

And I'm sure it will stay packed for some time to come.

(Photo courtesy of the bar)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:34 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Mother's is the most inconsiderate bar on Federal Hill. Not only did they have a band playing in their parking lot at 5:30 on a Friday morning they also built this stupid expansion with no consideration for the neighborhood around them. They keep all their windows open and pump out loud music until 2 am. There are houses around and aren't their noise restrictions. So there, I am a Mother's on the Alley Hater.

Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you. But be sure the hate that flows through you doesn't make you write run on sentences like this one because then I can't take you seriously and then I think to myself self why do I allow the hate to oh look Mother's is having a special and live entertainment til 5:30 am on a friday! 5:30 am on a Friday? gee that's awfully late or would that be early, well I guess that's all, have fun shooting womp rats with your T-16s and don't let PETA stop you, over.

I've had more dealings with the crotchety Federal Hill residents than I would care to recall.

Let me say this:

1. Federal Hill (aka South Baltimore) has always been a haven for bars and nightlife, especially if you're in earshot of Mothers. You knew what you were getting into when you bought there, regardless if you bought there in the 70's or the 00's.
2. The entire Federal Hill Association and the residents of Federal Hill whine and complain are constantly at odds with the bars, clubs, and restaurants. I think it's time for these people to wake up and realize that if it were not for these establishments their homes that were worth $60k in the 90's wouldn't not be worth $250k or more. It is the vibrancy of that area that keeps your housing costs up and allows your equity to build and grow to exorbitant amounts.

Of course, I'm not completely insane, 530 AM on a Friday is too much, but the Federal Hill whiners have cried too many times. Compare it to the roar of a crowd when you first walk into a stadium. You hear everything. It's loud as hell, but after a few minutes, the loud screams turn into a low din and then into white noise.

Maybe, if you'd stop crying about every little thing, the people who are responsible for the inflated value of your home would take you more seriously and be more willing to assist when you have a viable complaint.

Keep hatin'

530 is too early. Mother's should give neighbors (on the same block or so) Happy Hour discounts with proof of residency. Or just turn the music on louder to drown out the complaints.

hi, i wanted to comment on a few things that made the hater upset. we allowed the neighborhood main street organization to promote a festival in our parking lot at 6 am one morning. we will not allow them to use our lot to do this anymore.

we are very concerned about being a good neighbor. we are working out the kinks of our new space. we have walked along the back alle and have found it to be not too loud. i will monitor it again this weekend. it is hard to know what is upseting neighbors if they dont let us know. here is my email if there is anything we can do to make our neighbors happy, we will try.

i do agree with the fact that it is a entertainment district and noise and parking problems come along with living in a busy commercial area. if people want quiet and plenty of parking then they should live in the county. the city is vibrant , high energy and busy place.
thanks for the mention sam and thanks for coming to mothers.

dave owner of mothers

How could that happen with no permit for entertainment????? I think that they couldn't have done that with the law!! They would have been shut down right away. People should get their facts straight first. Haven't you heard about Federal dancing, no music and till 5:30 your crazy!!! I like Mother's as someone in the neighborhood they donate to every event, they are active with the neighborhood and always are helpful. Maybe you are thinking of someone else!!!!

I hate the whiners who complain about the whiners. Do you even live in the area? Do you even know what you're talking about? Of course I knew what I was getting into when I moved to the neighborhood. It's actually been fine until Mother's on the Alley opened up. Occassionally we would get some drunken fight outside our window but that was a rare occurrence and could be ignored. Now we have music blasting until 2am every day of the week. I have been living in the area for about 11 months and don't remember Mother's giving me the oppurtunity to discuss the issue with them. I don't think they care about those that live in the the neighborhood nor do I think they would be willing to assist with my complaint. I also think my home would be worth a lot more if the bars were not close by. Take a look at the prices of houses near Riverside Park or by Federal Hill Park--no bars/higher priced houses. I think "crotechty Fed Hill residents" would have less to complain about it if the bars/restaurants would come to meetings or meet the neighbors and discuss plans and work with us. Instead they think about the dollar and how much more they can make.

Mother's Hater, I'm curious as to where you lived prior to Fed Hill? Did you live in such a place where "bar" meant "library"? Did such "bars" keep banker's hours?

I don't doubt that the noise level has slightly increased since Mother's opened the Alley extension, but I do question that there was no issue in the 11 months prior. Your post indicates a clue proximity to Cross Street in general, which is the major drunken thorughfare of the area, yet you seem to target Mothers as the lone culprit. Perhaps you should direct your complaints to the real estate agent that guided you to that location in the first place.

Hater you're the kind of person that makes living in Federal Hill a drag, not Mother's on The Alley. Your argument holds absolutely no water, it's like moving next to an airport and complaining when they fly extra jets over your house.

If you live close enough to Mother's that you can hear music blasting until 2am, chances are you're close enough that you can actually see the place out of your window through the West St. garage (or something like that). If you moved here alllllllll those 11 months ago and never really thought that noise would be an issue so close to so many bars, then your recourse is very, very simple: just keep complaining to the community association until they start to get really annoyed by you and avoid talking to you every time you show up. Clearly you didn't give your researching of the neighborhood due diligence before you moved here.

And do you HONESTLY think that these business owners don't care about what happens with the surrounding community? Better yet did you read the comment posted by the owner of Mother's himself not more than one comment prior to yours? And aren't you thinking about "the dollar" when you're complaining about the value of your home as it relates to bars and restaurants being so close just as much as the owners are thinking about "the dollar"?

Wear your "crotechty Fed Hill resident" button with pride, you've earned it in spades.

Hater, it's quite bold of you to question whether or not I live in South Baltimore (which is what the people who are FROM the area, not the transplants, call it) after living there for only 11 months. To answer your question, do I live there presently, admittedly no. I have lived there, for most of my life (almost 30 years). I moved out last year when I decided, I wanted quieter neighbors.

If you think that you areas like Riverside Park or by Federal Hill Park were worth so much before, you're way off and you're showing that you are new to the neighborhood.

Those homes started to rise in value AFTER the Cross Street renaissance. The reason for the increased value is because of people who want to live within walking distance of the Cross Street vibrance without being pestered by the constant loud music, drunks, traffic, and parking.

The residents in all neighborhoods in South Baltimore have traditionally been working class. Do you really think that the dock and factory workers could've afforded exorbitant housing costs? They couldn't.

As for thinking your home would be worth more if it weren't so close to the bars, maybe you shouldn't have moved so close to the bars. Mothers was there before you as were just about all the bars (sans Stalking Horse). The Cross Street Market area has been a well-established are for bars for at least 30 years (the original Hammerjacks was where Nobles is now for crying out loud), which is well before the 11 months ago when you moved in. Which means you had (or at least should have had) a good idea of what you were getting into.

Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

To Motherswhat--my facts are straight. A band STARTED playing at 5:30 am on a Friday morning. MotherDave has already addressed that issue. And I am not saying that you shouldn't allow bands to use your space but 7:30 or 8 am might be a more reasonable hour.

To 21224, I've lived in the Fed Hill area for about 5 years. I as previously mentioned there were some drunken arguments outside our window but I never had an issue with the music before. Never even heard it.

To MotherDave, when are you walking the back alley? 7pm, 10pm, Midnight, 2am? It's later in the evening when the bar starts to fill up and you have all your windows open that music starts to get really loud. I don't need the place to be country quiet and I don't care about parking, I just need the bars to be reasonable and realize that you do have neighbors living in the area. Some consideration for us would be nice.

dear hater,
i walkedit last night at 10pm. i walked last weekend at 12 . i will check again later in the evening this weekend. we care about our neighbors and providing a fun environment for our customers. we try to balance everyones needs everyday. i do not feel that the music is to loud. we are trying to make the front of the restaurant more relaxed for dinners and push the more energetic customers towards the back alley where it would effect less people. i'm sorry it hasnt been a good situation for you but we did present our plan to the neighborhoods and had a public hearing. if there is anything i can do to make it bettr for you i will just send me an email.

Mr. Hater and anyone else that finds issue with a local bar/restaurant. Your best course of action is to deal with the owners and management directly.

If that doesn't work out, you will also need to contact both Baltimore 311 and the Baltimore City Liquor Board ( and get fellow neighbors involved. Send the board an email, and they can provide you with a late night number to leave messsages about an issue. Keep track of your tracking numbers from 311/911, as police may not immediately do anything without numerous complaints.

Multiple complaints and protests during renewal or transfer have the potential to eliminate problem locations by having their license suspended or revoked. For instance, there are several locations currently requesting outside table service, which may not be something that sits well with nearby neighbors (

Mother's Hater:

Which is it, 11 months, or five years? Make up your mind...

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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