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August 24, 2009

Shaq drops by Bourbon Street, Red Star

shaq bourbon street baltimoreBasketball star Shaquille O'Neal hit up Red Star Tavern for dinner and Bourbon Street for "drinks" Friday night.

Shaq was in town to race Michael Phelps for an episode of his TV show "Shaq Vs."

On Friday, Former Roommate Patchen called me and said he spotted Shaq going into Red Star. He said he saw a towering monster of a man chilling outside Red Star. When he looked closer, he realized it was Shaq.

Then, Bourbon Street manager Sam Chaney sent me an e-mail about Shaq's appearance at Bourbon Street's Rooftop Terrace ...

We didn't know he was coming. We offered him his own Cabana but he declined and said he wanted to hang out with the people. He was very cool, he met anyone that wanted to meet him & he took a lot of pics with customers.

He also only drank bottled water and wouldn't take any for free. I said it before but he was very cool ... an all-around nice guy.

Only bottled water, eh? Wow. Shaq must have been prepping for the race. It's cool that he didn't accept free drinks -- even if it was just bottled water.

(Photo courtesy of Sam Chaney)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:22 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Celebrity sightings


A few years ago, I was having a late lunch at Hops in Owings Mills. The place was deserted except for me and the staff. All of a sudden this huge guy comes through the door. I did a double-take and asked the bartender if that was Shaq. He looked twice and said it was. Shaq came in and sat in a corner booth with a couple guests. Anyone could have gone up to him, there was no special treatment. I hung around just to see if I could run into him. Everyone on the staff was using their cell-phones to call about the news.

Anyway, word got around that he was going to sign autographs on the way out since people were so cool and let him and his party enjoy their meal. So everyone in the entire place lined up by the door. Shaq signed an autograph for everyone and he seemed friendly when he chatted with each person. There was no attitude and you could tell he didnt mind. I thanked him when he got to me and he said no problem because he just bought a house in the area and was looking around (I think his now ex-wife is from the area). He just seemed very genuine and enjoyed being around people.

he sounds like a class act, being a bartender I have had more than my share of celebs to wait on, with class stories like Big and Rich, Anthony Micheal Hall, wynton marsalis etc.. and horror stories like a certain orioles pitcher who doesn't know how to tip, or acknowledge that we are people first, that will remain nameless since he's the sort that would sue me! you know, out of all of them (maybe 25 from local celebs to big names) he's the only one I didn't like AND the only one I served on numerous occasions (couldn't get anyone else to take him). hope he doesn't find out where I work now!

good for him, for as being as big of a celebrity as he is, he still takes the time to acknowledge the people that helped him get there.

Shaq had his picture taken with some of my coworkers outside of Red Star. He was cordial about the attention. He stood off the curb while they stood on it, and he still towered a good 2 feet above them.

He was also there with Michael Phelps who seemed a bit annoyed that all the attention was going Shaq's way and no one flocked to him. Although that could have been a bit of a tongue in cheek act.

I also saw Shaq at Bourbon Street, very approachable, nice guy, took pics with anyone that asked. I like that, athletes and celebs who want to be a part of "us". Cool dude

I thought for sure MP would take Shaq over to the Hustler Club.



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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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