Losing ESPN Zone would be a blow for the Inner Harbor
Did you hear the news? ESPN Zone, one of the Inner Harbor's most prominent restaurant/bars, could be closing.
Disney, which owns ESPN Zone, is reportedly shuttering all of the ESPN Zones that are not directly tied to a Disney property. Baltimore's ESPN Zone, which opened in 1998, was the chain's first location.
As a tourist attraction, ESPN Zone has served its purpose well. Losing it would be a blow to the Inner Harbor -- akin to losing the nearby Hard Rock Cafe. But news about ESPN Zone possibly closing shouldn't come as a surprise ...
Chances are, if you live in Baltimore, you didn't go there much. ESPN Zone seems to have always had more of an appeal to tourists than locals. That's why it was such a perfect fit in the Inner Harbor. Kids liked the arcade games, parents liked the sports games, broadcast on dozens of TVs, big and small.
Celebrities occasionally dropped by ESPN Zone for parties and dinner, and local athletes regularly held events there. But in recent years, the shine has worn off.
ESPN Zone's wall of TVs seems less impressive now than it did 10 years ago, especially if you have an HD flat screen TV at home. And arcade games in general aren't as appealing as they used to be, thanks to Nintendo Wii, XBox 360 and the like.
I've been to ESPN Zone a few times over the years, and lately, it just feels tired. That's why the closure announcement doesn't seem far fetched. I just wonder what will replace it. Do the folks in Remington still not want that Wal-Mart?
(Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna)