Tag Archives: Charles Village

Chop on the Spot: Charles Village Pub

The Charles Village Pub has always had an outstanding business model: put a bar where a bar needs to be. Be a bar. Have beer and liquor, some background music, a few TV’s, and let the people come.

All the basics are there, right on Saint Paul Street, and no frills at all. It’s a solid business plan that’s seen them through a lot, and starting today and running through Saturday, they’ll be celebrating their 30 year anniversary.

CVP hasn't changed much in 30 years. Why would it?

We’ve never really gone out of our way to rave about the CVP. At the same time, we could hardly imagine Charles Village without it. For a neighborhood comprised almost entirely of savvy, socially conscious urbanites and with a critical mass of college students, there is a dearth of bars and taverns in Charles Village. The taps at CVP though run as reliably as old faithful.

Perhaps the Pub’s chief virtue is that it serves as a true neighborhood bar, able to function as all things to all people. Is it a sports bar? a college bar? a casual dining restaurant? a happy hour spot? a place to hide from the sun for an eye opener? Yes. It’s all of these things.

Personally, we love the Charles Village Pub for its happy hour (2-4-1 rail and wine and discounts on beer, as well as half price bar food) and its prime location for people-watching, especially if you’re snagging a table on the sidewalk or in the window. We love them for keeping regular hours on Sundays, football or no. And then there’s the cheese fries.

The menu is hardly gourmet fare, but that matters not, because we don’t even need to look at the menu. There may be no finer combination in the epicurean universe than crispy fried foodservice fries and processed cheese sauce. Not only will the CVP serve you up a giant basket of perfectly made cheese fries any time of day, they’ll give you a six ounce cup of ranch dressing gratis to dump all over them and not pass any judgments when you do.

The pub will be celebrating their pearl anniversary all week long; presumably with specials, although when we inquired about what those specials might be recently, no one we spoke with on staff seemed to know. So we guess you’ll have to find out how they’re celebrating this week for yourself. We certainly intend to.

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Matrimonials, Quarantines, South Carey @ Ottobar Tonight

There’s no Sunday Night Football tonight. There’s no Sunday baseball game of the week either. Hell, there’s not even any new episodes of Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, the Walking Dead, or any of the other premium TV fare the networks have started to crowd up Sunday Nights with.

When all else fails though, there’s still the punk rock underground.

South Carey plays the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

Tonight’s show at the Ottobar could easily be a basement show at someone’s house. With these three bands all playing for free in the upstairs, the basement show vibe should be very well in tact. The drop ceiling, crummy tiles, pool tables and day-glo artwork are all present and accounted for, but thankfully the bar is a little better stocked than pop’s dusty old liquor cabinet.

We’d love to tell you all about the bands, but that’s the thing about basement rock… those guys hide out in the basement and don’t generate a lot of news. The Quarantines play cartoonish horror-pop on Insubordination Records. The Matrimonials pop up to play grunge-punk only occasionally. Unfortunately, we missed their set the last time they played, so we’re eager to catch them tonight.

Perhaps the most elusive of these three acts though is South Carey. We’re racking our memory and the last time we saw them was…? It could be because they’re a true basement band through and through… the kind that has more fun at band practice than at shows. That’s not to disparage them though; they’ve got/Ace Freely/they’ve got Peter Criss/waiting there for them yes they do. there is one piece of news on them though; word on the street has it they’re no longer a 2-piece, but are now playing as a quartet with a sexy beast of a new singer and another dad-core bass player. Here’s hoping the change means they’ll play that much more often and rock that much harder.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. in Charles Village. 9 pm doors, 9:30 show. Free, 21+

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Chucklestorm Presents Neil Hamburger @ Ottobar Tonight

There’s no doubt about it, Baltimore- America is officially in decline. The Republicans are stealing and pillaging as fast as they can. Nobody has a job to go to, and it doesn’t matter because gas is $4 a gallon and the kids are more interested in cocaine and shitty dance music than work anyway. The last time things looked as bad as this was the late 1970’s, when the end of Vietnam drove a 40 year societal wedge into the US, New York City crumbled into a dilapidated, depraved urban wasteland, and we were all afraid of the big, bad Ayatollah.

What’s our best defense against a whole society crumbling around us? How will we come through it all? The same way they did in the 1970’s, of course… we’ll don our finest loungewear, grab a stiff highball, and laugh our asses off as a sloppy, mean-spirited jerk takes the stage and fires off insults at people who are much richer and better looking than the rest of us.

Neil Hamburger stands up at the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

The glory days of Don Rickles and Joan Rivers may be long gone, but for better or worse, we’ve still got Neil Hamburger, and he’s coming to the Ottobar tonight. If Neil Hamburger says that God is gay, well then it’s probably true. The man has a tuxedo, after all. And a cocktail in hand. And a stage and a spotlight. Logic dictates that any man who has all that at once must be an authority on things. Therefore God is gay.

And as much as Neil Hamburger knows about theology, well, that’s how much Kenny Strasser knows about yo-yos. You may better know “K-Strass” as the guy who single-handedly punked a handful of Midwest local news stations by appearing on their morning shows under the guise of a yo-yo expert and then not knowing how to do a single yo-yo trick. For our money, this was one of the most absurd and hysterical stunts in recent memory.

Rounding out the evening are “Major Entertainer” Mike H, along with the boys of Chucklestorm themselves, Dan and Alex. If you’re not familiar with Chucklestorm yet, we’d highly recommend you take this opportunity to get familiar, as they just seem to keep getting better all the time. Performing monthly at the Ottobar for the last year or so, Dan and Alex have continued to polish their act consistently, as well as displaying a sharp acumen for behind-the-scenes production like when they brought in Brian Posehn back in November. Getting up on stage and telling jokes to drunks is hard, and pulling it all together is just as difficult. To do them both consistently deserves a measure of respect and support.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. in Charles Village. Tonight’s show is ages 18 and up.

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Super Art Fight 9 @ Ottobar Tonight

We haven’t made it out to a Super Art Fight yet. We’re overdue. Way overdue. It’s been our understanding that it gets bigger, better, and badass-er with each installment, so with the approach of their 9th battle, it’s safe to say that it’s going to be the best one yet.

Here at the Baltimore Chop, we like to try to give you the dope on events happening in town, mixed with a little opinion, but sometimes the facts are hard to come by. Some bars and restaurants still don’t have their own websites. Some bands rely on abandoned Myspace profiles as their whole web presence. This is not the case with Super Art Fight.

The tag team tournament is only part of the pandemonium in store at SAF9 at the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm doors.

They blog the hell out of their events. If you want to know what to expect tonight, you can read all about it on the SAF blog, which has no less than 8 separate blog posts about tonight’s event. Hell, that’s almost too much. With all that info out there, we can’t even pretend to try to break it down into one little preview post.

Once you click over there, you’ll see the same kind of detailed posts highlighting SAF taking its show on the road, too. Super Art Fight-of-mass-destruction-program-related-activities have taken place all over the world (from Virginia to Connecticut), and we’re greatly heartened to see Baltimore’s quirky and creative side so well-represented abroad. Tonight the Ottobar, tomorrow, to infinity and beyoooonddd…” Or something like that.

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Ottobar is located at 2549 N. Howard St. All Ages.

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Future Islands, Lonnie Walker @ Ottobar Tonight

Well, we’ve got company this weekend. One thing to be said for the holidays is that they’re good for bringing people back to home and hearth and all that. People who used to live in Maryland come back to Maryland, and we’re glad to have them as ever.

So it is entirely possible that we’re going to be spending most of the weekend indoors, drinking the good stuff, eating like gluttons and doing a bit of the old male bonding you’ve heard so much about. You know: the sign on the front door of the house saying “no girls allowed” and all of that.

If we do make it out though, odds are it will be to the Ottobar for the Future Islands/ Lonnie Walker show.

Future Islands play the Ottobar tonight with Lonnie Walker. 10 pm Doors.

Future Islands has just been getting better and better for a solid year. They really hit their stride with the release of In Evening Air earlier this year, and are still coasting on that. We’re fond of saying that they’re going to ride it all the way to a Saturday Night Live appearance, and we might even start a facebook page about it. (And by might, we mean we won’t. Ever.)

Sharing the stage tonight is North Carolina’s Lonnie Walker, who are also sharing a new 7″ with Future Islands on Baltimore’s Friends Records label. We’d really like to see Lonnie Walker live, if nothing else because we can’t quite tell if they’re yanking our chain or not. 2009’s These Times Old Times was a well produced record which was a showcase for the band’s better than average writing and playing abilities, but at the same time we’re afraid to try to describe the sound at all, especially since it’s one of those cases where what you see live may or may not be reflective of what’s on the record. For us, seeing a band’s live set has always been a good indication of whether they should be listened to more closely or written off, and we suspect this could be the case with Lonnie Walker. If nothing else, they’re certainly one of those unique bands, for which every listener will have to make up his own mind.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. in Charles Village. Winks and Bobby are also on the bill. This is a late show: Doors at 10 pm, Show at 10:30. All Ages.

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Brian Posehn, Jim Meyer @ Ottobar Tonight

So there’s this guy. Brian Posehn. He’s pretty famous. At least, we think he’s pretty famous, since he’s been all over TV for like 10 years now. He was on that show Just Shoot Me on the regular, which was a terrible show, but he was also on Seinfeld and News Radio a few times, which were great shows. And Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond, which also kind of sucked.

But besides that he wrote for Mr. Show, and he’s on a show now, called The Sarah Silverman Program, and since it’s on Comedy Central, it won’t air for a long stretch of time, and then it’ll air 9 times in 3 days. He’s also been on specials and comedy tours and put out records and everything else.

Brian Posehn brings the fart and wiener jokes to the Ottobar tonight. 9 pm Doors.

But despite all that, when we tell people “Hey, we’re really excited to have tickets to see Brian Posehn!” They usually come back with “Who?” And we have to say “You know… that giant nerdy bald metalhead guy with the thick glasses who makes jokes about comic books and bullies and geeksex.” So that’s what today’s blog is about. We’re going to the Ottobar tonight to see that giant nerdy bald metalhead guy with the thick glasses who makes jokes about comic books and bullies and geeksex.

And Jim Meyer, who you know well by now from Bar Bacon and if you don’t then shame on you. Bar Bacon is back with a vengeance and Meyer has been putting in work for a minute now, and he’s pretty much become the face of comedy in Baltimore. He’ll be joined by Tommy Sinbazo, & Peter O’Connell.

And not for nothing, but this is another show where we wildly missed our guess. We thought this thing would sell out way in advance, and we even went so far as to Buy Tickets Online while we were still in the desert. All for nothing though, since tickets are still available as of today.

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Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St in Charles Village. $20.00 advance, 18+ Doors at 9, Show at 10.

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Two Halloweens for the Price of One!

So, Halloween is pretty much here. Like today. Like right now. You may think that Halloween falls on Sunday, and that that’s totally lame, but for all intents and purposes, it’s really a blessing in disguise for fans of the holiday. A blessing from the Devil maybe. A super secret double bizarro blessing. Or something like that. For the kiddies, trick-or-treating may indeed be Sunday evening, but for the rest of us, we get a two day holiday for drinking and carrying on. Plus a Sunday to sleep it all off again. Talk about a win/win situation…

We spent some time in and around Station North last Halloween, and if you’re in the mood for going out, we’d definitely recommend doing likewise this year. The college kids can have the East Side and the South Side. Take ’em. We’re done with ’em. We’re perfectly happy right here in North Baltimore. Station North has been doing Halloween right for a few good years now, and if previous experience is anything to go by (and it is), there will be just enough costumed revelers to make every place in the neighborhood fun and interesting, but never so many in one place that the party is overwhelming or overcrowded.

 

Of course you can be two places at once. You've got superpowers.

So, by now you’ve got your costume, and you know what to look out for, but where are you going to go, eh?

There’s plenty going on around town tonight, but there are two events we feel are especially worthy of your attention. First up at the Ottobar the Charm City Roller Girls are going to be holding their 6th annual Bruisers’ Ball. This year’s theme is a Supervillain Soiree, and the costume contests will showcase that with various prizes in several different categories. There’s going to be plenty of other fun stuff too, like Halloween themed drinks and a photobooth, and of course, plenty of rollergirls all about the place. They’re even going to tape Dirty Marty to a wall, which just in itself should be worth the price of admission. And of course there’s a solid slate of bands including the Degenerettes, Hollowboy, and the Stalking Horses, as well as the Moustache dance party upstairs.

And if you can’t get your fill of heroes and villains in just one place, you can always head down to the Windup Space for a separate party with a similar theme. It’s Atomic Books’ second annual celebration of heroism and villainy, and this time around it’s going to feature. DJ Miracle Ear, debut videos from Atomic TV, and the new Rock Band 3 for your enjoyment, complete with Keytar.

Plus, the costume contest pays $400 in cold, hard cash. We’re calling it right now: if you’re lucky enough to snag a jackpot like that, the only right thing to do is to buy the house a round of drinks.

Happy Halloween.

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The Bruisers’ Ball at Ottobar (2549 N. Howard, Charles Village) begins at 9pm with the show bands playing at 10:00. $10, 18+.

Atomic’s Heroes and Villains Costume Ball at the Windup Space (12 W. North Ave in Station North) runs concurrently.

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