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January 6, 2009

A place to dance

Looks like my holiday nightlife wish was at least semi-granted: A dance company has started throwing weekly parties in the old Gardel's space (29 S. Front St.).

Metromix went to the first one, which was last Saturday. They're saying that it's the start of a new venue called The Ark. But I don't think that's quite right. It looks more like an event promoter renting out the space on a weekly basis -- there's no liquor license, and the only food is an occasional buffet.

I called the people who are in charge of it, but nobody has gotten back to me yet.

Still, it's another spot to dance on a regular basis. And heaven knows, Baltimore needs more of that.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:42 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music



There is large, renovated bar in Light Street w/ 7 day tavern license and live entertainment for $99k.

Why don't you speak to the owner, work out a financing deal and open your supper club.

Jason can give you the info on the bar. He's looking for a neighbor :)

hahahah ... yes, because i have the cash and the clout to pull this one off ... Here comes Sessa's Supper Club!


You could probally get in there for very little upfront money. With the commercial credit markets where they are, sellers are being forced to offer more favorable owner-financing terms for buyers.

I believe the establishment in question is Charlottes. I've never been, but I read many a story and reviews (from yours truly, thanks Sam) and would like to know specifically why they went under.
Parking?, I know the music/noise was a huge blow up in the neighborhood. If you did make it dinner and dancing, everyone would have to sync up their ipods and put on their headphones. Man that's a funny picture, everyone dancing to silence. Was it Under funded? Did no one go in there since it's farther down on Light? I heard they did a great job rehabbing it. Too bad. I'd like to take a look inside. Wouldn't he have to keep it open at least one day a week as to not void his liquor license or since he's trying to sell, I guess he doesn't have too. I think you liked it, Sam, didn't you?


Yeah, the bar is Charlotte's. Jason mentioned they had some problems with the neighborhood association in relation to live entertainment.

They started bringing in the "always awake" crowd, if you know what I mean, and that didn't help their chances of luring a more sustainable clientele.

Parking is the major problem for the venue, the neighborhood association could be delt with, depending on the proposed concept.

I don't know if its location would be a problem or not. It doesn't seem to be for Jason, and he's across the street.


For 99k, Charlotte's is a steal, depending on the lease. Your major expense would be a kitchen and serving food. The place could do very well if you had money to put into it. Parking is a problem but there are a ton of people that would rather walk to a nice bar than drive across town. The neighborhood association could easily be dealt with, they would okay a nice, new place in a second, just to bow to their every whim. I believe that you only have to open one day a year to keep the license valid. It is the best license in town in the respect that it has live entertainment. I can't wait for somebody to move in there.


What's your take on why Charlotte's close? I understand you have to be diplomatic. I'd have to partner up with someone, for various reasons, no I'm not a felon. I remember hearing nothing but good things about that place. Potential, nice decor, wines - something just doesn't add up on why it closed. I mean there is a reason. My spidey sense is tingling.


Sorry, "just don't bow to the neighborhood association's every demand". They can get carried away sometimes and will want you sign off on everything. Good luck,



Charlotte's didn't have an identity of it's own. They never really had a buzz.Yes they had a nice build out, but they didn't have food. They didn't have windows. They had a horrible name (sorry Keisha and Robbie). They lacked marketting and advertising. They started out as a nice quaint, almost speakeasy, but then they did a 180 and had bands. Ownership could've been a little bit more hands on, they had other businesses and jobs at the same time. Bartenders were decent, customer base was good. They had a couple of good things going for them, but it takes a little more time and effort to make a restaurant/bar work. The one thing the place had was potential. It's tough owning a bar if you have never been in the business, personally I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that hasn't been in it. Anyway, you want to talk to me more about feel free to get my info from Sam or just stop by to talk to me. To put it into perspective, No Idea was bought for 66k, 4years ago and it was a dump w/o a kitchen, even though the rent was a lot cheaper. For 99k, and live entertainment, Charlottes is a good deal, but you can't be hands off. Good luck with your venture.

Gardell's is still for sale. They are asking $35 per square foot with a minimum of 6,000 sf and a maximum of 22,000.

So, the lowest rent would be $17,500 per month and the max rent would be $64,166.

Price includes kitchen but is absent of a liquor license.

Can't imagine why it sits vacant.

Have you ever heard of a place called hammerjacks. They were required to relocate to a warehouse district because of the excessive noise they were creating on south charles street.

The area in question is a residential neighborhood,meaning that people live here and we should not have to be subjected to loud music,crowds pouring past our doorsteps and beer bottles and litter left on our property.

Your proposal for live entertainment was apparently enacted on 10 October 2009 when rock concert type music was blasted throughout this neighborhood. This type of thing may put money in your pocket but it will lower our real estate values.

This bar is now pursuing the same course as its predecessor before 2000,which was called at one time the copa cabana and then "monkey bars",an apt name judging from the nasty clientel that patronized it. It was a headache for the police, who wanted it closed and a detriment to our neighborhood because of the scum it attracted,the noise and drugs and the stabbings,riots and shootings.

If you want this type of live entertainment bar locate it down by the railroad tracks or something.

It's already there. It's called the Lava Lounge and it's also for sale. :)

- because of the scum it attracted,the noise and drugs and the stabbings,riots and shootings.

Well the lava lounge is located in an entertainment district and that is something that the bar at 1542 Light Street is not in and noisy entertainment at that bar is going to be a big problem for the people who live here.

Just sounds like a no brainer that you wouldnt think about putting this type of establishment in a residential area and with no parking facilities.

I appreciated the fact that when Charlottes was there we had more peace and quiet here than in the last 50 years. There were alot less loud drunks parading past my window and substantially less litter left on my property and on the sidewalk.

Although the clientel has changed in the area and I know that the bar at 1542 Light Street would not be patronized by quite the same type of people as those in the 60s and 70s;at least they wouldnt be as bad,however obnoxious they may be,as the frat types have demonstrated a very disrepectful attitude,live entertainment will still create a public nuisance. I thought that the noise ordinances of recent years had addressed this.

Perhaps there might be property in the more open Port Covington area,the former warehouse district,near the railroad tracks. Loud music reverberates between the buildings in the area that Sean Whites bar is located in. The noise is transmitted through the brick buildings. A more open area like Port Covington would not present so much of this type of problem.

I will tell you what another problem is and that is too much noise from loud drunks and vehicles at 2 am but then you dont live here so thats no concern of yours.

How much did you bribe the corrupt neighborhood association to allow you to get away with this.

This must be why all the houses here to continue to look like run down crap. No one will move in here. There goes the neighborhood as the saying goes.

People live here and we deserve to get some sleep at night so shut the hell up.

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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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