The Whistling Oyster closes temporarily; owner is evicted over late rent
Fells Point's The Whistling Oyster has closed temporarily.
Judie Butler, a part owner of the bar, is being evicted by her landlord, Amanda Sanchez, because she's behind on rent.
Sanchez said the bar will re-open in the future, but doesn't know when.
Butler, who started leasing the bar with her then boyfriend Pat Butler a year ago, said the bar officially closed last Tuesday.
She posted the sign at right on the bar's window announcing the news.
"I'm sorry but we are closed due to evil forces beyond my control. Thank you so much for your support and patronage," it reads.
The 'evil forces' are not a reference to the bar's reputation for being haunted, Butler said. But to her landlord and her relationship with her ex-boyfriend.
She and Pat separated a month ago and she's been running the bar by herself since.
She acknowledged she's been behind on rent for three months.
"It's such a shame. I love this place so much," she said. "I really felt it was getting back to the way it hasn't been in years."
She said her ex-boyfriend might re-open it in a month.
Sanchez, however, said that's not the case and she hasn't had any conversations with Pat Butler. She's not looking to lease the bar again because she says she's had bad luck with tenants. She confirmed Butler owes February, March and April's rent.
Sanchez is now looking for managers to run the bar. She doesn't know when it'll re-open, but when it does, it'll have a larger menu and better service, she promised.
Butler, meanwhile, doesn't know if she'll run another bar - this was her first. She actually doesn't even know where she'll live next. She used to live at the Whistling Oyster, where she swore she sensed the ghosts' presence.
"It's definitely haunted, but it's just mischievous stuff," she said.
The building where the Whistling Oyster is located dates from 1920. It has had three separate owners in the last five years, according to property records. In 2004, it was listed for sale for $850,000 but it was eventually sold for $650,000. Sanchez has owned it since 2008.
Since the former couple took it over, it's become well known for Pat Butler's Harbor Rolls - a crab meat blend that's stuffed inside an eggroll shell.