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April 12, 2011

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. 

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Posted by Erik Maza at 11:08 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Bad timing... I only went there once, on Privateer Day last year, and it was my favorite stop on the bar crawl, because everyone in the bar seemed just a little nuts, even the non-pirates. Was hoping to head there this weekend for some more crazy.

Don't pay rent -> get evicted -> blame someone else

Probably not the type of person who can run a successful business.


And the cilantro cannon!

Good point anon... though to be honest, when I read the part about "evil forces beyond my control," the thought crossed my mind that maybe she was blaming whatever bank carries her checking account.

I've talked with Judie many times in the past year. She is a very sweet lady. But going into business with your boyfriend is not a recipe for success.

Hoping the Oyster can reopen soon. One of my favorites.

The original headquarters for the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. That Ghost is Captain Lane Briggs.

The original headquarters for the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. That Ghost is Captain Lane Briggs.

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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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