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March 3, 2011

Will the Maryland Senate ban underage people from Baltimore clubs?

No, in a word. In the past week, some bar owners have written with alarm about a Senate bill (#844) that would ostensibly ban people under 21 from bars and clubs. Thursday morning the Examiner had an editorial about it.

Well, it turns out the language in the bill contained a typo. The bill would ban underage people from attending adult entertainment venues, not live entertainment venues. Reporter Chris Kaltenbach has more: 


Despite appearances to the contrary, state senators from Baltimore city are not looking to keep people under 21 from seeing their favorite bands live. They just want to keep them from seeing naked women.

A senate bill introduced last month, primarily designed to ensure clubs with liquor licenses have a police-approved security plan in place, had some club owners crying foul earlier this week. Under wording that was still in place this morning, clubs with liquor licenses – and this would have included The 8x10, Rams Head Live, Ottobar and others – would have been prohibited from allowing anyone under 21 inside.

No more all-ages shows, no more hands being stamped at the door to separate those old enough to drink from those who aren’t, no more bands with members younger than 21 even playing inside a club that serves liquor.

“That’s huge,” a shocked 8x10 co-owner Brian Shupe said when told of the bill. “This bill will definitely put me out of business.”

Not to worry, assures Sen. Joan Carter Conway, the bill’s main sponsor. The intent of that portion of the bill is to prevent people under 21 from going into strip bars, not music clubs. The wording, she promised, would be changed before the bill comes to a vote.

“The intent of the bill is adult entertainment,” Conway told The Sun’s Annie Linskey. “They (strip club owners) don’t want the kids to be in there. Patrons would have to be over 21.”

But what about all those 19-year-olds who are now allowed to check out the scene on The Block, but wouldn’t if the bill passes?

“They can wait until they are 21,” Conway said.

Photo: Band Fools and Horses performing at The 8X10 in 2008 (Courtney Block/Block Design & Photography) 

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Posted by Erik Maza at 2:39 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Oh good, old enough to die for your country, but not old enough to see some boobies.

Yes, but that is the reason Al Gore invented the internet. Isn't it??

Yes, but that is the reason Al Gore invented the internet. Isn't it??

I find it slightly hard to believe that a bill introduced a month ago, with four seemingly intelligent sponsors, and a fleet of other seemingly intelligent people who saw and read this bill, again, numerous times over a month, failed to notice words like "adult entertainment" were 'missing,' especially if that is the one and only target of that part of the bill. Trial balloon?

@Anon -- doubtful. Thousands of bills get proposed every session. This one hasn't even made it to committee yet. Drafting errors like this one happen with some frequency.

What if their favorite band is Bare Naked Ladies? Can they still go?

So, let's see. If you are 18 you are an ADULT, right? You can be contractually bound, you can vote, can go to prision for the rest of your life, you can be in the military and DIE for your country... But apparently you are not "mature" enough to have a beer or look at a naked woman? This country is absurd. Pick ONE age as the age of majority and stick with it. This is ridiculous!

hey erik i think the bill is # 488 , and its really not fair to other clubs - the laws should apply to all places that serve the same - if an 18 yo can party at a club then they should party at an adult club if the club allows it ..

@MeIN: No, it was invented for lame jokes and double-posts.

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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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