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December 16, 2008

Why Bedrock closed

bedrock baltimoreAs suggested in yesterday's post, Bedrock did close from an identity crisis.

I spoke with manager Sam Chaney today, who said he butted heads with Bedrock's owners over the club's mission.

It started as a billiards hall. Then when that didn't catch, they opened it up to live music. But it's hard to be a live music club and keep a regular bar business at the same time.

When Chaney first took over running Bedrock, he tried to bring in students from the nearby medical and law schools, as well as local business employees. 

But you can't build up a post-work base if you're occasionally throwing concerts and charging a $10 cover ...

Bedrock was a little of both, which didn't work, Chaney said.

"If you're going to be a venue, commit to being a venue," Chaney said. "If you're going to be a bar, be a bar."

Chaney didn't think Bedrock would be open six months from now. But he didn't think the owners would pull the plug a week before Christmas.

"I've known in the back of my mind it was coming," he said. "I just didn't think it was coming yet."

Chaney's not sure what his next step will be, either.

"We'll see," he said. "The reality of being jobless with a mortgage is starting to set in."

(Photo by Elizabeth Malby/Sun photographer)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:17 PM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I've never been to Bedrock, but it sucks that they closed...they definitely helped pick up the slack when Steez stopped putting on rap shows at Sonar. Hopefully another venue steps in. As Baltimore music gains more and more national (and international) exposure, it would be a damn shame that our rap acts don't have a place to shine as well. Sure, The 5 Seasons and The Turntable Club (actually, I'm not even sure the Turntable Club is still operating) put on rap shows, but there is such a dearth of venues willing to host rap on a regular basis and that just plain sucks.

Seriously, people need to think of some other use for that spot. The Bank/The Funnel/The Vault/Bedrock...they've all failed.

Marketing, marketing, marketing. Plus the fact that Mayor Dixon and the City Council need to enter into the fray. C'mon, kids, wake up ... who's going to save the city?

It would make a swell public storage facility.

Bourbon street is next.

Piano Rob -- but what could the city have done? I know the folks at Bedrock wanted them to move the bus stop down half a block or so and had no luck. Besides that, what could the city do? And is it the city's job to bailout bars?

Enter the fray? Keep in mind they are putting a House of Blues right over there on Howard St. too.

Twain, I've heard so many rumors about this House of Blues. What have you heard? Email me

Evidently Bedrock didn't identify an underserved market and promote itself to it, which would have compensated for less than 100% traffic the location usually generates.
Who's going to go out of their way to go to an undistingushed bar that probably had little word of mouth to reinforce their unpromoted repution or presence.

Its a shame that bedrock is closing. But I definitely saw it coming. I live a couple blocks from bedrock and am a law student and I stopped going to bedrock for many reasons. First, it used to be a good place to eat with the sidecar grill. But whether their kitchen was open was very sporadic and often times it was a waste of time to try to go over there to eat.

Then, we used to go there to play pool/ski ball/shuffleboard and the games got shut down to make way for crappy lounge stuff. Then I tried going for a beer and they tried charging me and my friends $10 cover at 1:30 on a thursday night.

Hopefully good use will be made of that space. We could use a nicer restaurant in that part of the city.


I agree with Josh. I work at the university. Bedrock used to be -- when it first opened -- a good place to go after work to have a few beers and play a few games of pool. Over time though, the place fell apart.

Considering the amount of students and young professionals working a few blocks away, there is a huge built-in customer base for that spot, if someone can properly market to them. Really the only other nearby bars are Lucys and Camden Pub. Personally I prefer a scene somewhere in between those two places. Someone should get on that.

It probably closed because Steve of SteezPromo is an anewad and all his dumb parties are the same.

who posts using the name the truth, says a complete lie, and refuses to identify himself?. you sir, are an idiot. SteezPromo has done as much if not more for the Baltimore music scene as anyone else ever has.

I don't know anything about Steez personally, but he/they put on some kick ass shows. I just hope he/they can find a suitable replacement (Bedrock was not a suitable replacement of Sonar, obviously).

It's a shame Bmore can't seem to be as heavy with venues as DC (for example). Another one bites the dust. If anybody needs to book (or move) their event, due to this closure, contact me at / 410-366-1362

The Senator Theater is set to begin doing rentals for live music events as they move themselves into a non-profit venue status.

Umm... I normally post as the "the truth" but that post about steve was not me. I am friends with the staff of Bedrock and all I can say is that it was run the way the owners wanted it to be run. They wanted it to be a venue no matter how much the managment told them it wouldn't work. I will give you an example of why it was doomed. I was in Bedrock one night talking to Sam (old GM) and he was [complainin] about the kitchen and the owners, and I quote "it takes 20 mins to get soup out of the #^$&*^% kitchen and when I asked the owners for a soup warmer they said to take soup off the menu". I feel bad for the staff, you guys were great.

I always had a great time at bedrock, but the food sucked! Great drinks (Becky!!)..but that's pretty much it...sad to see it go...very nice after work spot

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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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