The front exterior of the current location.
Background information
Founded 1997 - 2001 (203 East Davis St.)
2001 - Present (2549 North Howard St.)
Location Baltimore, Maryland
Website Official Page

The Ottobar is a music venue in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. In 2018 the Ottobar was named one of the 10 best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone Magazine. The Washington Post describes it as a "bastion of sub-mainstream music...where the insular community of artists and scenesters flock to hear the best touring bands." It also hosts theme events, dance parties, and an occasional burlesque show.

The Ottobar was opened in Downtown Baltimore by Craig Boarman and Michael Bowen in September 1997. It was originally located at 203 East Davis Street in the former Chambers Nightclub. The venue is named after Bowen's cat Otto.


The Ottobar opened in downtown Baltimore September 1997 at 203 East Davis Street in the former Chambers nightclub space.With VERY limited capacity, the venue provided an intimate showroom for live music and occasional performance art. Some of the National artists of note who performed: The White Stripes, Le Tigre, Fear, Bright Eyes, Lamb Of God, Death Cab For Cutie, My Morning Jacket, Royal Trux, Jimmy Eat World, Of Montreal, Blonde Redhead, Queens Of The Stone Age, Man…Or Astroman, Spoon and Mastodon along with local artists of the time: Denim Skeleton, Goliath, Third Harmonic Distortion, Oxes, The Oranges Band, Lungfish, Candy Machine, Daybreak, The Goons, Mary Prankster, Rhinovirus, Roads To Space Travel and many, MANY more. Performances included: The 80’s Prom, Smiths/ Morrissey Karaoke, Salute To Satan, Tiny Couch Night, The Death Of Vaudeville Night and The Annual Outdoor Music Festival “Bourbon Street Anti Fest.” The Davis Street Ottobar closed in November 17th 2001.

That same month Ottobar reopened at 2549 North Howard street with the one and only Daniel Johnston. This new venue was considerably larger and offered a much cleaner and hospitable atmosphere (for the first few years.) Some notable acts so far: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wye Oak, Drive-By Truckers, Dinosaur Jr, TV On The Radio, The Breeders, Maroon 5, Future Islands, Quiet Riot, Paramore, Celebration, KRS-ONE, Jonathan Richman, David Cross, All Time Low, At The Drive In, Atmosphere, Dan Deacon, The Melvins, Wiz Khalifa, Beach House, Twenty One Pilots, Bouncing Souls, Animal Collective and many more. Other special nights include: “Underground” Dance Party, Ottobar’s Shrunken Head, Super Art Fight, Pet Weddings, Butcher Knife Throwing Contest and Spelling Bee, Ottobar Boys and Girls Choir, Book Burning For Peace and so many more.

In 2014 tragedy struck when Thomas Malenski and another employee were stabbed by Nicholas Heath after they escorted a friend of Heath's outside. Malenski later died of his wounds. Musicians, patrons, and employees were surprised and said they had never felt unsafe coming to or being inside the Ottobar. The only other reported issues had been neighbors occasionally complaining that patrons were noisy as they left the bar.

The Ottobar also hosts fundraisers and other events for various causes. In 2017, supporters of Planned Parenthood of Maryland met at Ottobar in Baltimore the day before the Women's March on Washington.

Management announced in November 2018 that the venue would change ownership in 2019. In 2019 Tecla Tesnau former bartender at the Ottobar completed the transfer of ownership to her.

Selected Performers at the VenueEdit

2013 East Davis St.Edit

2549 North Howard St.Edit

External LinksEdit


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