« Ever heard of cachaca? | Main | My Quiz-A-Ma-Jig story »

August 20, 2009

The Sidebar Tavern: Home to the city's strangest happy hour scene

Happy birthday, Sidebar Tavern!

sidebar tavernIf you haven't heard, the Sidebar Tavern (218 E. Lexington St.) turns 11 this month. To celebrate, the basement dive is throwing an indoor/outdoor festival Friday and Saturday. More info here.

In true Sidebar fashion, this is the first time they've ever celebrated a birthday.

I did a profile of the Sidebar, which ran in today's paper. This spot has the weirdest happy hour scene in the city.

Since it's close to city hall, they get all these government employees in suits and ties. But since it's also a punk bar, they get a bunch of hardcore kids too. Oddly enough, everybody seems to get along ...

In the piece, I talked to owner Richard Ashburn and promoter Matt Joseph (both pictured), as well as one or two regulars.

Ashburn really doesn't know too much about the punk scene (he leaves that part up to Joseph). In fact, the Sidebar became a punk bar almost by accident.

I don't get out to the Sidebar as much as I'd like to -- especially since it's right up the street from The Sun. But it hosts one of the best dance parties in the city: Reaction! And it's a pretty neat little spot to see a punk/hardcore/throwback rock show.

(Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney, Jr.)

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:42 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


Matty, if you're reading this, the camera truly adds 15 pounds. I think you may have made it up to 114lbs in that picture!

Sorry Pants, I had to.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "x" in the field below:
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.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected