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September 20, 2010

Canton's Gin Mill up for auction

ginmill-2.jpgAfter 13 years, the owners of Gin Mill are putting the Canton bar and a restaurant up for auction, owner Lester Reeder confirmed.

Reeder said business has been solid, but that it was time to call it quits.

“If you’ve ever run your own bar, 20 years is enough,” he said. “We’ll love to see someone else do something great with it."

The bar -- which the Reeders actually bought in 1996 according to property records -- will be auctioned off October 20 at noon at its Boston street location by Jonathan Melnick Auctioneers.

Its base value is a little over $600,000, according to property records. The successful bidder would also pay deposits totaling $80,000 for the business, the real estate, and the liquor license, according to the auction online listing.

The Gin Mill, located in a building originally built in 1850, is two stories and has two bars, two dining rooms, and a lounge area in the rear. In the time the Reeders have owned it, they've sold it once before, only to buy it back two and a half years ago.

Lester Reeder says it’s been listed for sale for all that time, but no one had stepped with the right offer. Why sell now? "A lot of people tell you, you sell when things are good," he said.

He explained the auction as a business decision, meant to fast-track that process of finding "the right buyer." "In this economy, you have to be a little more aggressive," he said.

But, he added, that if a buyer doesn't agree to the right terms, they won't sell. "If it doesn’t work out, we’ll be here the next day," he said. "We can be here for 22 years.”

(Photo: Colby Ware/Special to The Sun)

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Posted by Erik Maza at 7:35 AM | | Comments (42)
Categories: News


The Reeder's have done an amazing job over the years, especially once they took the business back over, they renovated the entire place and turn it in to an establishment that welcomed the slightly older crowd. Not to mention the amazing classic cocktails and wonderful menu.

I can Imagine this property going in the $900K's. With the Real Estate, the value of the Liquor License, all of the Goodwill, Equipment, and inventory. The place is top-notch I cant wait to see what happens... I love this place.

The Gin Mill has been a cornerstone throughout the revitalization of Canton. If only the walls could talk. What a great opportunity to buy a piece of history.

The Gin Mill has been an Icon in Canton for so many years, it will be sad to see Lester and the rest of the Reeder family gone. They have done an amazing job with this location and business. I love the new look and the new bar, this is a place you can go and enjoy a tasty dinner, a cocktail or a nice glass of wine. Whoever buys this is getting a great deal; this is truly a turnkey business with no renovations or updates needed. I wish them the best of luck in this auction.

A nice bar - a bit disconnected from the rest of Fells or canton but I've never had a bad experience there.

I remember the place from way back and the good fun had there back in the day. The makeover is right on with the folks who hung there. We've all grown up now and so has The 'Mill. Contemporary upscale grub and classic drinks that are the best I've had anywhere. The bartenders are passionate about those drinks indeed. I'd like to see whoever takes it over run the same tight ship.

But where will all the Buffalo Bills fans go now?!?! ;-)

if anyone remembers the Gin Mill back in the day, you must remember "Bacardi" Larry and "Terrible" Tommy. Mark Goebel and Nejla bartending. Those were some fun times

Excellent place to eat and drink! The staff is very accomodating and friendly. The bartenders Jason, Rob, and Brian are the best at what they do. They make everyone feel at "home" and will go the extra mile to do so! The food is great and the chicken sandwich is one of my favorites. Planning a night or day out at The Gin Mill will not disappoint you.

The Gin Mill cured my male-pattern baldness. It is so great.

Just had a blast there the other night, I will be sorry to see it go. Good spot.

Wow! 20 years of tavern ownership.
That is like working forty years in a hazardous mill of some sort. Actually it could possibly be worse "that's alot of years inhaling second hand smoke"
I have worked in the restaurant industry for almost as long myself and have enjoyed many nights through the years with friends and co-workers at this great place as well as their first saloon Boston St. Cafe. These guys and their staff over the years were considered some of Canton's finest in the biz! I wish the owners much success in the future and hope to see the Gin Mill roll on!

What a great place, the food was always outstanding!!! Always had a fun time at the Gin Mill!!

Wow! The Gin Mill! I love the Gin Mill! Gin Mill! The coziness and friendly service and top notch food will make you want to slap a baby and dance around a hat for 47 hours! The ultimate business opportunity here folks! Get out your checkbooks! Gin Mill!

Great food, great service, great times and great people. It's worth more! I hate to see it go.

Getting chilly in here.

Taps sold for 472.5k at auction

Gin Mill- more or less?

I am going with less.

Uh... if they bought it back 2 years ago... that resets the time they had it. So its not 20 years of owning the bar. Its only 2 years of owning the bar.

Gin Mill used to get PACKED back 10 years ago or so. I remember laughing with friends at the mouse scurrying about in the back bar by the kitchen. Needless to say, never ate there again :))

For all these people that love the place, it sure seems empty every time I walk past it.

And what's up with that photo of yours Maza??? You're no Sessa! Write more about Bmore bars!! It's Owe'Malley's fault!
(there were WAY too many positive comments in this post. Just trying to balance the scales. I'm a Libra. Go figure)
PS: I never saw the GM crowded at all...

Bring back the shuffleboard table!

I'll certainly be sorry to be saying goodbye to the Gin Mill. The Reeder's were great hosts and I have been there many times over the years with friends for private parties, corporate events, lunch, happy hours and some great dinners. The food and the service have always been outstanding. It will be greatly missed!

I'll certainly be sorry to be saying goodbye to the Gin Mill. The Reeder's were great hosts and I have been there many times over the years with friends for private parties, corporate events, lunch, happy hours and some great dinners. The food and the service have always been outstanding. It will be greatly missed!

sure, the luke and lester have been around with the gin mill for a long time. but its not their 1st canton bar. before gin mill, they owned boston street cafe (where the now defunct 'pur' is now). they may not have been at gin mill for 20 years, but certainly in the biz for at least 20. best of luck!

Had alot of great times at the Gin Mill. SOme i remember, some I were told about....

I hosted my father’s retirement party at the Gin Mill last year. The entire staff was so responsive to my every request; it took an immense burden off of my shoulders and let me concentrate on the guest list. Melanie was constantly circling the party speaking to party goers ensuring they had the best time possible. The bartenders were out of this world and dealt well with a sudden influx of guests. Our food choices worked out well not only with our guest’s pallets, but also with our price range. Every detail was seen to by the Gin Mill staff. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to host a party for a loved one, no matter how big or small.

The Reeder's were great hosts when I had a party at The Gin Mill. The second floor private area was the perfect setting with a exclusive bar area and great seating for guests. The food was outstanding. It was a very memorable event and I am glad the GM made the celebration that much more enjoyable to my guests.

This shilling is approaching Curt levels.

The Gin Mill is a classy joint with great food and drink but even better ownership. The Reeder's have put their hearts and souls into this place and made it a Canton staple for so many years. I hope the new owners can do something just as special.

Good Luck

Ain't no shillin like a Gin Mill shillin coz a Gin Mill shillin don't stopppppp

great food great staff and a beautiful spot to boot- why give it up!!!!!!!

and doing beautiful things with cocktails for the libation lounge- !!!
please keep it going

SAVE THE GIN MILL!!!! Libation Lounge is good for the soul!

The Gin Mill is better known as Luke and Lester’s Bar. Their restaurant/bar is one of the best places to have a friendly drink, enjoy really good food, and meet new friends. Once a friend is introduced at The Gin Mill, they seem to become long lasting friends. Many friends remember Canton as an open space, they express the growth change between 1990 and 2010. “What a change in twenty years!“
Lester and Luke’s Gin Mill location has many years of history, it was a well know meeting spot back in the 1940‘s. Many friends express how their grandparents came to the same location on Boston Street. Today, it is known as one of the best places to meet a new friend for networking and sharing business information.

Please don't let the Libation Lounge go away.. Fall is my favorite season for Cocktails.

Best part about the Gin Mill is the Libation Lounge, nothing else like it. Innovative cocktails & a great time...every time!

The Gin Mill has been one of my favorite places to go for a night out, any type of party and certainly the best place to have a happy hour. The Reeders are always the perfect hosts. It is always a great time when they are in the building. Their staff is also top notch. I hope the new owners keep the same atmosphere everyone has come to love about the Gin Mill

Is it me or is this the shilliest blog ever?

I dont don't know about EVER on teh whole internets, but it surely had got to be the shiliest for a "major newspaper".

Who ever just posted the blog in front of me needs some English classes or maybe return to first grade for some spelling lessons.

The Gin Mill cured my leptospirosis!

I've seen a lot of shilling to increase bidness, but to increase the bids at an auction? Ridonculous.

The Libation Lounge events they have upstairs once a month is the best place to get a quality cocktail.

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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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