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July 9, 2010

Taps is closed

Some sad news, folks: Taps is closed. It may have been closed for as long as a week now. These things are never easy to pin down. Later today, we'll take a closer look at the place's brief history in SoBo. But now, the grief is too new to write much.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:00 AM | | Comments (23)


Definitely has not been open since at least Friday July 2nd.

Play Taps for Taps.


I'll see myself out.


It got a bad rap, and some people had problems with Dave, but I never did. Wasn't always my crowd, but had good specials, and their crab night was decent. Hopefully something good will fill the void.

Have you seen the people that go to Taps? or smoke outside of Taps?? No big loss!!!


maybe they shouldn't have had such amazing drink specials. no way to cover the overhead

Anyone with money who wants to know how to keep that place open for the long haul (and wants a business partner wink wink), send me an email. The time for mourning is already over, now it's time for progress!!

Is it really that big of a loss? For a place called taps, the beer selection was not very impressive. False advertising at its finest.

Passed by Taps yesterday and there were renovators with building supplies outside, so hopefully a quick rehab and reopening is underway.

@Brian in Sobo -- Interesting. I'll have to sniff around some and see what I can ... uh ... smell?

According to the MD Case Search, on 06 JUL, each owner was ordered to pay $372,635.19 + court costs + post judgment interest at the legal rate of ten percent (10%) per annum to a third party.

Yup, already sold and already being gutted

The third party to whom Holter and Landow owe the $750K is Bonny Brown, the previous owner of the establishment (as the Fort Charles Pub). Not sure how the transaction between Bonny and Holter/Landow was structured that she'd still be involved. Lease to own? Anyone know real estate deals better than I?

@Evan: Sold and gutting already? With no permits posted? No liquor board hearing? When Fort Charles sold to Taps, the process was several months at least. It looks closed up as tight as it has for the past week, so I'd be surprised if there's anything major going on yet.

Typically those deals are structured via a seller takeback/owner financing. Ie instead of you paying me $1MM for my building, you pay me what you can at settlement (doesn't seem like they had much, but maybe $100k?), then I hold a note for $900k while you make payments. My note is secured by a deed of trust on the property, which allow me rights to foreclose if you default, same as a bank. It may also allow for the noteholder (me) to pursue the borrower (you) for collection costs, attorney fees/costs, etc., and sue you for damages or move straight to a judgment. Lot of ways to slice it, but typically the lender (me) has a good deal of rights against the borrower (you).

Clear as the Inner Harbor?

Frankie is pretty much dead on. When the owner holds the note, it is a lot easier for somebody to buy a bar, no banks to worry about and if they go out of business then you get your bar back and you have the money in your pocket. It seems here that the business was sold but you can never really tell. I believe they were asking 850k for the business and I guess they owed the previous owner 750k? Who knows? Hopefully the new owner will do well, seems like a difficult spot and they are going to have to put a lot of money into that place in order to make it work. Best of luck to the new and the old owners.

My bust, jumped the gun on the gutting comment, thought i saw equipment being loaded into the place.

@ Frankie and Anon -- thanks, that makes sense, but I'm unsure why there were the $375K judgments against the two Taps guys (according to the MD court website). From what you say, it seems that the property would just be repossessed and that would wipe out whatever they owe (with their equity wiped out, too).

Separately, from my conversations with Bonny (old owner) and her husband before the sold to Taps several years ago, they were done with managing the bar, and moved to Pennsylvania to retire. If they still feel that way -- haven't talked to them in two years, probably -- a quick re-open seems unlikely, as they'd be looking to sell to someone else, which could take some time. Others may have better info on this, though.

@ Interested - Typically, if the borrower defaults (especially if there isn't a source of repayment from continuing operations of the business/enterprise), the lender (private or institutional) will exercise ALL of their rights to collect. IOW, let's assume the lender dockets foreclosure and attempts to sell the building at auction. I don't know if you saw what happened with the pier homes, but it is unlikely that they will recover their note balance from the sale. Voila the judgments against the principals that remain and are filed CONCURRENTLY or PRIOR TO foreclosure proceedings. More than anything, its a way for the lender to ensure the loan is collected. Not allowed in resi deals, but pretty common in most smaller-ticket commercial transactions.

i LOVE how everyone knows what is going on. hhahah you people are so wrong..

Please enlighten us Jason. We cannot resist hearing the latest juicy TAPS gossip!

I talk to Dave on a regular basis and he hasn't said anything to me, then again I don't ask.

Good luck to him and to whoever takes it over, hopefully they can do something with their upstairs. It is so nice up there. Hopefully everybody makes out in the end.

Yeah to whoever ends up taking that place on: make the upstairs a game room. Pool, ping pong, shuffle board, darts - there's more than enough room to fit just about anything up there PLUS a bar while not getting into hot water with old lady neighbors that hate live music. Honestly if pulled off right it could be like a mini D&B but without the sheer lameness

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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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