After a global pandemic that saw so many business go under, the dwendling Baltimore LGBTQ+ nightlife scene was hit too. Some are left asking what businesses are still open. Here is a list of bars and restaurants that are still open.
Still Open LGBTQ+ Centered Spaces
870 Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201
Leons is one of the oldest gay bars in Baltimore. Located in Mt Vernon, it's everything you want from a classic dive. Open every day and never a cover, expect a great happy hour with 2-4-1 drinks until 9 pm. Leons is host to a couple of local leather clubs, locals and you might catch a few drag performers hanging out as their non-performance space. Leons is a fixture in Baltimore queer culture and worth a visit.
205 W Read St, Baltimore, MD 21201
This bar is definitely for the locals. No cover and open every day. A friendly Cheers like atmosphere and well-priced drinks. Stop in to meet new friends or something more.
The Rowan Tree
1633 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230
The Rowan Tree isn't necessarily a queer space but a neighborhood bar that has a lot of LGBTQ+ entertainment. Frequent drag shows and contests are held here as well as a weekly karaoke hosted by Baltimore drag legend Shawnna Alexander. If you don't live within walking distance it will be best to grab an uber as parking can be challenging in Federal Hill. The bar does offer a limited number of parking passes at a nearby school.
6037 Belair Rd, Baltimore, MD 21206
Mixers lives up to their name as the most diverse of the area's dive bars. They host drag shows, dance parties, and a ladies night. Located north on Bel Air Rd, Mixers has been a staple for the community that doesn't live in Mt Vernon. Rarely there is a cover but when there is it's $5 and under. The owners are particularly active in the community and you might see them frequenting other bars and nightclubs supporting events and performers around Baltimore. This space is worthy of support too and a great time!
The Baltimore Eagle
2022 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218
The Eagle is Baltimore's leather bar. Expect a hypersexual space with lots of dance parties and drag shows. The Eagle is also the only LGBTQ+ dedicated nightclub with 2 floors and 4 different spaces. Even though the bar has had a lot of issues in the past it still strives to be an inclusive space with a little something for everyone. You can't miss it when driving past with big letters that spell out Baltimore Eagle and every type of pride flag hanging in the windows. It is defiantly an experience you will want to have and if you are feeling adventurous ask about the "Code Bar".
924 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
The newest of the bunch, The Manor, is a multifaceted space that is a restaurant, bar, and nightclub all in one. You can come in for dinner, stay for a viewing party, and dance until close. It may have the highest price point of any of the other bars but it is worth it. It is nice to see an upscale space like this in Baltimore it really rounds everything out. They are the host of the only drag brunch in an LGBTQ dedicated space in the city.
Clifton Pleasure Club
2803 Grindon Ave, Baltimore, MD 21214
An easily-missed space but it is the epitome of what Charm City is. CPC is a members-only social club hidden in the Lauraville neighborhood and the only space in Baltimore owned by a woman. Even though most of the events hosted there are open to the public, membership is encouraged as the members have created their own mini-community. Their tag line is "Where weird meets wonderful" expect a laid-back vibe with genuine DIY-like events. If you are an artsy queer, you will love this place.
A Space We Hope We Get Back!
12 W North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202
From their website:
"Rituals is a bar space, and DIY venue. We are located in the Station North neighborhood, of the brilliant city of Baltimore. We aim to serve the community as a point of intersection for all persons. Rituals is a black and queer owned space, focusing on inclusion."
Couldn't have said it any better. Rituals is a space we defanitly need. It's great to hold events like dance parties, live music and drag. Right in the heart of Station North its convenient and close to a parking lot. They closed due to COVID but hasn't announced either a re-opening date or that they are closed for good. Fingers crossed!
Spaces that frequently host LGBTQ+ events
1910 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD
Another DIY type of space that frequently hosts live bands and DJs. The biggest LGBTQ+ event hosted here is Version, a dance party with DJ Trillnatured and hosted by Kotic Couture. Sometimes they include performances by some local LGBTQ performers like Hunter Hooligan and DDM.
2549 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD
The Ottobar is a Baltimore icon for live music. Recently the bar was bought by one of it's bartenders and has been hosting many LGBTQ+ events like drag shows and more notably the annual Mr. Maryland Leather contest. Historically the Ottobar has also hosted many burlesque events and was also a venue host to the national queer feminist convention FemCon.
Notable Event Promoters
With a lack of dedicated spaces, many have looked elsewhere to host events.
Evon Michelle/SAD Brunch
You can't throw an axe any where in the city and not hit a drag brunch/dinner/happy hour/viewing party/bingo (Really, she is putting on a show at an axe throwing space). During the pandemic where most bar closed and restaurants had very strict capacity limits Evon and SAD Brunch worked to find outdoor spaces. As things started to open back up they were there, first in line, and started to book events everywhere. Evon is not one to let anyone or anything stop her even a global pandemic. When there were no spaces they really are showed us that space can be made anywhere including someones driveway.
DJ Swank has been working hard creating spaces that have centered Black Women and still remain inclusive around Baltimore. Follow her for announcements!
At the time of this article a new venue/bar is opening on Howard St not far from Leons called Central. The owners are a part of the management team from Grand Central. I have not been made aware of an opening date as of now.
This is in no way a complete list. There are even more entertainers and promoters doing great work around the city. I just hope this list helps people know there is so much more out there and here is a jumping off place to dive into finding events and spaces that work best for you. I encourage you all to reach out to these spaces and inquire about what they do and don't be afraid to express your needs. You never know who maybe waiting for your feedback.