Baltimore Press

Bohager’s Move Uncontested

Bohager’s, a live music venue in Fell’s Point, has jumped another hurdle in its anticipated move to 701 South Eden Street, the location of the defunct mega-bar Parrot Island.

In a move that surprised the liquor board, the Fells Point Task Force did not contest the transfer of the liquor license from Parrot Island to Bohager’s owners during a hearing yester­day. “I am so happy,” responded an obviously relieved Chairman Leonard Skolnik.

After years of heated debate and numerous, lengthy hear­ings, the Task. Force and Damian Bohager held a round table discussion on Wednesday night, which was chaired by State Senator Perry Sfikas and attended by Liquor Board Executive Secretary Nathan Irby, Jr. The meeting convinced a majority of merchants and residents that the planned move would not create an added nui­sance to the area. In the past, both Parrot Island and Bohager’s have been the focus of community ire, resulting in numerous liquor license and zoning complaints. However, as Task Force representative Wade Price pointed out at the Liquor Board hearing, the move “would reduce the num­ber of mega-bars [in Fells Point] from two to one.” The Parrot Island site is on the waterfront at Eden and Lancaster Streets, in between Fell’s Point and Inner Harbor East; Bohager’s is located just a few hundred feet to the north, at the corner of Fleet and Eden Streets.

Without anyone contesting the transfer, the Liquor Board approved the transfer of ownership of the seven-day liquor license from Parrot Island to the Bohager’s corporation. The corporation will retain its previ­ous license, but intends to sell it. Bohager’s last day at its current loca­tion at 515 South Eden Street will be May 30. Plans call for a reopening at 710 South Eden on June 2nd.

At yesterday’s hearing, Bohager and his lawyer Melvin Kodenski out­lined plans for the new establishment. For the upcoming summer, the cur­rent open-to-the-elements architecture of Parrot Island would remain intact, although a cantilevered system of tents would be installed to protect guests against inclement weather.

In the fall, construction will begin on a 2,700-square-foot auditorium concert hall. In his testimony, Bohager stated the estimated capacity will be one thousand people, approxi­mately the same as the current Bohager’s location. He also stated an exact figure will not be attainable until after construction begins and the fire department measures the build­ing’s interior.

Currently, Bohager’s is the largest rock-and-roll club in Baltimore, book­ing such nationally known indepen­dent bands as John Spencer Blues Explosion, Girls Against Boys, Liz Phair, and Sebadoh. The club is affili­ated with Washington D.C.’s 9:30 Club, which books many of it’s music acts. “We’ll be larger than the 9:30 now,” said Bohager. Bohager’s is also considering using Metro Entertainment Group (which books music acts at the Pier 6 pavilion) as a booking agent.

The drawings of the proposed building, a modem slab of pre-engi­neered masonry cinder block, have not yet been submitted to the Board of Municipal Zoning Appeals. However, Bohager stated he submit­ted final plans to the Planning.

Commission on Monday. He also stated that the club would not hold any large rock shows unti^j after the construction was completed.

The current owners of Bohager’s are Damian Bohager, Mario VillaSanta, and Margaret Lears. The current site of Bohagers is owned by Bohager and his family. Sources have told The Baltimore Press that the United States Postal Service has looked at the Bohager’s site as a pos­sible replacement for the Fell’s Point post office, which will soon leave its Gough Street location.

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